NYS Fair music guide: 9 concerts that will have big crowds (and 7 that should)

What will be the biggest concerts at the 2022 New York State Fair?

Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s music lineup, including where the two main stages are (Chevy Court and Chevy Park) and which acts will attract the largest crowds.

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All concerts in the Chevrolet Music Series are free with admission to the New York State Fair. In other words, you can see any concert at the NYS Fair for the price of admission, which is $3 this year. (Parking is an additional cost, but there are other ways to get to the fairgrounds, including Centro’s Park-N-Ride bus service, Uber/Lyft and Amtrak train service.)

There will be two concerts daily at Chevy Park and Chevy Court, plus smaller shows on regional stages throughout the fair. Chevy Park concerts take place at 2 pm and 8 pm most days; Chevy Court concerts are at 1 pm and 6 pm, making it possible to see all four shows on the same day.

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Chevy Park, previously known as the “New York Experience Stage,” is where this year’s bigger NYS Fair concerts will take place. Chevy Park is located on the west end of the fairgrounds, near Gate 10 — all the way in the back of the Midway and past the Expo Center. If you can park near Gate 6, it’s a short walk, but it’s a long walk from the main gates (1, 2 and 3), past all the rides and around a small pond.

Chevy Court is located near Gate 1, next to the Center of Progress Building and by the Dairy Products Building. (See a map of the fairgrounds at nysfair.ny.gov.)

Both have seating available, but for the bigger shows you should expect to stand (or dance) during the performances.

Chevy Park, which is a much bigger space than Chevy Court, has benches, picnic tables and deck chairs, plus a modern stage setup and phenomenal sound. If you want to get a good view of the performers, it’s best to get there early, but you’ll be able to hear it just fine anywhere within eyesight of the stage.

Food and beer stands are also near both stages, along with restrooms throughout the fairgrounds.

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Whether you love a crowd or want to avoid them, here are the nine shows where you should expect the biggest audiences this year:

FTA – Friday, Aug. 26 at 8 pm at Chevy Park

Pride Day will close with a throwback party. TLC was one of the most popular female music groups of the 1990s, mixing pop, hip-hop and R&B on hits like “Creep,” “Waterfalls,” “Unpretty” and “No Scrubs.” Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas still perform under the TLC name since the death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes in 2002; Watkins and Thomas produced the 2013 biopic “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story” and released a new album, “TLC,” in 2017.

Bryce Vine – Sunday, Aug. 28 at 6 pm at Chevy Court

The college crowd and TikTok kids will love this one: Bryce Vine is a rapper and singer known for his mix of hip-hop, R&B, electronic and alternative rock music, influenced by everyone from 2Pac and Outkast to Third Eye Blind and J. Cole . His hits include “Drew Barrymore,” “Sour Patch Kids,” “La La Land” (feat. YG) and “I’m Not Alright” with Loud Luxury.

foreigner – Sunday, Aug. 28 at 8 pm at Chevy Park

Foreigner drew more than 21,000 fans to Chevy Park last year, and could get an even bigger crowd this year for three reasons: One, more people are comfortable in large crowds than in August 2021, when Covid vaccines still weren’t available for all age groups. Two, parents could get cool points by taking their kids to see Bryce Vine at Chevy Court at 6 pm and then going to see Foreigner afterwards. And three, songs like “Hot Blooded,” “Cold as Ice” and “Feels Like the First Time” still slap.

Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy – Tuesday, Aug. 30 at 6 pm at Chevy Court

Country fans will have themselves a Big and Rich time, singing along to songs like “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy),” “Lost in This Moment,” “Fake ID,” “Rollin’” and “Look at You.” Cowboy Troy, best known for the hick-hop hit “I Play Chicken with the Train” (feat. Big & Rich), will join the fun.

Boy George & Culture Club – Tuesday, Aug. 30 at 8 pm at Chevy Park

With the popularity of “Stranger Things,” ’80s music has never been hotter. (Except maybe in the 1980s.) Boy George & Culture Club are known for hits like “Karma Chameleon,” “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” “It’s a Miracle” and “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” plus the frontman’s androgynous style. At the group’s 2016 Fair performance, which drew 17,900 fans to Chevy Court, Boy George encouraged the crowd to “Dance like nobody’s watching, love like you’ve never been hurt — and dress like it’s Halloween.”

nelly – Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 8 pm at Chevy Park

The “Hot in Herre” rapper drew one of the 10 largest crowds in New York State Fair concert history with 33,713 fans at Chevy Park last year, so of course he’s coming back. Fans can hear their favorite 2000s party hits (“Ride wit Me,” “Dilemma,” “Shake Your Tailfeather,” ”EI,” etc.) plus his new sound, which puts the country into “Country Grammar” on songs like “ Lil Bit” (with Florida Georgia Line) and “High Horse” (with Breland and Blanco Brown). Remember “Over and Over” with Tim McGraw? Yeah, that stuff.

Nelly performs at Chevy Park during the New York State Fair

The crowd responds as Nelly performs at Chevy Park during the New York State Fair, Syracuse, NY, Wednesday Sept. 1, 2021. Scott Schild | sschild@syracuse.com

24kGoldn -Friday, Sept. 2 at 8 pm at Chevy Park

Rap acts drew five of the 15 biggest crowds in NYS Fair concert history — more than country (2), classic rock (4) and pop (3) — so it’s no surprise that this year’s NYS Fair is leaning into more hip-hop. But what may surprise you is that 24kGoldn is the hottest artist on the 2022 lineup — on streaming services, at least. He’s currently averaging 16.8 million monthly listeners on Spotify (Nelly is a close second with 16.3 million) and his 2020 smash “Mood” (feat. Iann Dior) has been streamed more than 1.5 billion times.

Dropkick Murphys -Saturday, Sept. 3 a.m. to 8 p.m.

It’s become a tradition: Dropkick Murphys are returning for the fourth year in a row with favorites like “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” “Rose Tattoo” and “Tessie.” The Celtic punk band drew 30,200 fans in 2019, one of the 15 largest crowds in NYS Fair concert history, and endeared themselves to Central New York with tributes to Syracuse native Bill Dineen (who was a hero in the Boston Americans’ 1903 World Series win ) in 2018 and a toast to iconic Syracuse barkeeper Peter Coleman in 2021.

City Girls -Sunday, Sept. 4 at 8 pm at Chevy Park

This one will be lit, as the kids say. The Miami-based duo, consisting of rappers Yung Miami and JT, will turn the Fair into a club with hits like “Act Up,” “Twerk” (feat. Cardi B), “Twerkulator” and some very NSFW tracks like “P —and Talk” (with Doja Cat). They’re also known for collaborations with artists like Drake (“In My Feelings”), Usher (“Good Love”), Juicy J, Saweetie, and Megan Thee Stallion.

City Girls

(L-R) Yung Miami and JT of City Girls perform onstage during Rolling Loud Miami 2022 at Hard Rock Stadium on July 23, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Jason Koerner/Getty Images)

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Of course, not every show will be packed. Part of that is because of the sheer volume of concerts — more than 40 shows in 13 days — and the diversity of the lineup. There’s something for everyone, from hip-hop (like The Art of Rap feat. Ice-T) and country (David Nail and ERNEST) to rock (Chevelle) and golden oldies (Chubby Checker, Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone).

Here are the best concerts that might not necessarily have the biggest crowds:

Steven Page – Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 1 pm at Chevy Court

The former Barenaked Ladies singer is a fun live performer with a slew of hits like “One Week,” “The Old Apartment” and “Brian Wilson.” This is the first concert of the 2022 New York State Fair and also a hometown show: Page is a Canadian citizen but has lived in the Syracuse area for more than 10 years and now considers himself a “full-on Central New Yorker,” taking his family to the NYS Fair every year. During the pandemic, he continued performing with virtual concerts from his home in Manlius.

Jimmie Allen – Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 6 pm at Chevy Court

Another worthy opening day show is Jimmie Allen, a country singer who performed at the NYS Fair in 2019 and has since won awards like New Male Artist of the Year at the 2021 ACM Awards and New Artist of the Year at the CMA Awards. The “Best Shot” singer was also nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammys earlier this year.

patti labelle – Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 6 pm: Patti LaBelle at Chevy Court

The Godmother of Soul will headline Women’s Day. She’s best known for “Lady Marmalade” (with the vocal group LaBelle) and solo R&B hits like “You Are My Friend,” “New Attitude,” and “Somebody Loves You Baby (You Know Who It Is).”

Thai Greens -Friday, Sept. 2 at 1 pm at Chevy Court

The laidback singer-songwriter from California went viral on TikTok in 2020 with his single “Stuck in the Middle,” and then followed it up with last year’s breakout hit “AOK,” which hit No. 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been streamed more than 200 million times on Spotify.

Gin Blossoms -Friday, Sept. 2 at 6 pm at Chevy Court

If you’re a Gen Xer who loves ’90s alternative rock, then you’ve got to see Gin Blossoms so you can sing along with “Hey Jealousy,” “Follow You Down,” “Found Out About You,” and the “ Empire Records” favorite “Til I Hear It From You.”

Midnight Star -Saturday, Sept. 3 at 8:30 pm at Chevy Court

No parking on the dancefloor: The legendary funk group will close out the all-day Syracuse JAMS FunkFest at Chevy Court, so get ready to boogie to the tune of “Freak-A-Zoid,” “Operator,” “Tuff,” “ Body Snatchers” and “No Parking (On the Dance Floor).”

Dire Straits Legacy -Monday, Sept. 5 at 6 pm at Chevy Park

Labor Day will close with a fun flashback to ’70s and ’80s hits like “Sultans of Swing,” “Romeo and Juliet” and the early MTV favorite “Money for Nothing.” DSL features members of the Dire Straits, plus Trevor Horn (of The Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star” fame), carrying on the British rock band’s legacy.

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Complete 2022 New York State Fair Concert Schedule:

  • Aug. 24 at 1 pm: Steven Page at Chevy Court
  • Aug. 24 at 2 pm: Plush at Chevy Park
  • Aug. 24 at 6 pm: Jimmie Allen at Chevy Court
  • Aug. 24 at 8 pm: Chevelle at Chevy Park
  • Aug. 25 at 2 pm: David Nail at Chevy Park
  • Aug. 25 at 6 pm: Great White at Chevy Court
  • Aug. 25 at 8 pm: The Art of Rap featuring Ice-T at Chevy Park
  • Aug. 26 at 1 pm: Jeff Rosenstock at Chevy Court
  • Aug. 26 at 6 pm: Niko Moon at Chevy Court
  • Aug. 26 at 8 pm TLC at Chevy Park
  • Aug. 27 at 6 pm: Tesla at Chevy Court
  • Aug. 28 at 6 pm: Bryce Vine at Chevy Court
  • Aug. 28 at 8 pm: Foreigner at Chevy Park
  • Aug. 29 at 1 pm: Chubby Checker at Chevy Court
  • Aug. 29 at 6 pm: Max Weinberg’s Jukebox
  • Aug. 29 at 8 pm: Boyz II Men at Chevy Park
  • Aug. 30 at 1 pm: Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone at Chevy Court
  • Aug. 30 at 6 pm: Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy at Chevy Court
  • Aug. 30 at 8 pm: Boy George & Culture Club at Chevy Park
  • Aug. 31 at 6 pm: Patti LaBelle at Chevy Court
  • Aug. 31 at 8 pm: Nelly at Chevy Park
  • Sept. 1 at 1 pm: Alex Miller at Chevy Court
  • Sept. 1 at 6 pm: .38 Special at Chevy Court
  • Sept. 1 at 8 pm: Riley Green at Chevy Park
  • Sept. 2 at 1 pm: Tai Verdes at Chevy Court
  • Sept. 2 at 2 pm: Lizzy McAlpine at Chevy Park
  • Sept. 2 at 6 pm: Gin Blossoms at Chevy Court
  • Sept. 2 at 8 pm: 24KGoldn at Chevy Park
  • Sept. 3 at 2 pm: COIN at Chevy Park
  • Sept. 3 all day: Syracuse JAMS FunkFest at Chevy Court
  • Sept. 3 at 8:30 pm Midnight Star at Chevy Court
  • Sept. 3 at 8 pm: Dropkick Murphys at Chevy Park
  • Sept. 4 at 6 pm: ERNEST at Chevy Court
  • Sept. 4 at 8 pm: City Girls at Chevy Park
  • Sept. 5 at 12 pm: Prince Tribute Band (Gary Sanchez Presents The Prince Experience A Loving Tribute 2 Prince)
  • Sept. 5 at 1 pm: Resurrection – A Journey Tribute at Chevy Park
  • Sept. 5 at 4 pm: Night Ranger at Chevy Court
  • Sept. 5 at 6 pm: Dire Straits Legacy at Chevy Park

Note: Additional concert information, including some national and regional acts, were not available at press time. A complete concert guide will be available every day of the NYS Fair on syracuse.com.

The 2022 NYS Fair is scheduled to run from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.

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