Ford County Fair names country headliner

Ford County Fair names country headliner

MELVIN — The Ford County Fair will again feature a high-profile country music act this summer — and perhaps two.

The fair recently announced that it has secured the band Parmalee as a headliner for the concert it will host at 7 p.m. on June 24, at the fairgrounds in Melvin.

Following last year's appearance by country music star Dustin Lynch, the fair board wanted to keep the trend going of bringing big-name acts to Ford County.

The board did so by landing Parmalee, a semifinalist for 2014 New Artist of the Year at next month's Academy of Country Music Awards.

But it wasn't easy.

"We struggled quite a bit to get a band lined up," said the fair board's president, Kirk Miller. "We actually had an offer out to another artist and really thought we had that artist booked, from a standpoint that we'd make some concessions and some things to get a contract, but he finally decided not to take our offer.

"We're excited with who we've got. They're an up-and-coming name in Nashville, and I think the people in Ford County and surrounding areas will be happy with the show we put on for them."

Miller said the fair board is still trying to secure a second big-name band to co-headline the concert.

"We've got an offer out right now to another band ... but we've yet to hear back from that group," said Miller, who declined to name the group other than to say it is a "big songwriter in Nashville."

Tickets will be on sale in advance of the concert, but not until the fair determines the complete lineup, Miller said.

Parmalee recently joined one of country music's leading male vocalists, Jake Owen, on his Days Of Gold Tour, and they are scheduled to perform together on Aug. 16 at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. Tickets for that concert go on sale April 12.

Parmalee is made up bof brothers Matt and Scott Thomas, cousin Barry Knox and lifelong best friend Josh McSwain. The band's name is derived from the small town of Parmele, N.C., which is home to a small tin-roofed barn dubbed Studio B where the band practiced.

"If you think of Jason Aldean as the rockin' side of country, then think of Parmalee as the country side of rock," Matt Thomas says on the band's website,


Other notable news at this year's fair, scheduled for June 22-28:

— The demolition derby will award a $3,000 prize to the winner, up from a $1,000 prize last year.

— A radio-controlled car event is scheduled for the night of June 25.

— The rodeo, which made its debut last year, will make a return on the night of June 27.

Will Brumleve is editor of the Paxton Record, a News-Gazette community newspaper. For more, go to

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