Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Rose by Any Other Name...

…would smell as sweet, or would it just smell? Each year, approximately 150 artists submit promotional packets for consideration to perform at the Indiana State Fair, and a good number of them are dedicated to performing someone else’s music. That’s cool…I like cover bands, and familiar tunes draw visitors to the stage. The Good smell sweet. The Bad, not so much…but hopefully, I’m smart enough to not pick those flowers.

Another sect of entertainers takes it to the next level. Not only do they cover others’ music, they limit their performance to the music of one particular group…the music of what one may surmise is their favorite band…or what they hope is someone’s favorite band. A band so popular, beloved and amazing, the audience won’t care they aren’t hearing the original, provided the impersonators are an authentic recreation in sight and sound.

Member of this faction, my friends, are the Tribute Bands.

Typically, the artists being saluted have…um…moved beyond their days of glory, though their flame still burns brightly. KISS, ABBA, Elvis, The Beatles (of course)…they’re all out there, some based here in Indiana. Recently an Alan Jackson imitator crossed my desk, which was kind of odd, since Mr. Jackson is still recording great music and not one I’d consider requiring a tribute just yet.

I’ve booked several tribute bands over the years. You like Poison? Their praises have been sung (or screamed) at the Fair. How about Jerry Lee Lewis? Audiences showed their admiration at “his” shows the past two years. Johnny Cash more your speed? I’ve hired his vocal likeness as well. And lest we forget the Elvis Impersonator Contest, which has become a staple of Indiana State Fair programming, consistently drawing huge crowds and growing each year.

I’ve often kicked around the idea of holding a Tribute Band Day on the Main Street Stage but never done it. This year, the idea has been floated around to host such an event in the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand. How fun would that be???

What do you think? Let’s say, for kicks, a Tribute Band Day is scheduled at the 2010 Indiana State Fair. Who would you like to see? Me…I’m banking on John Denver. (Yes, even John has a tributeur.)

Submitted by Bobbi Bates


  1. I'd get a kick out of a Sonny&Cher tribute. I see it as a take-off on their TV show, half comedy, half singing. And short.