Over the past two years, the North Carolina State Fair has made tremendous strides in improving its music bookings. The giant Dorton Arena concerts that lost thousands of dollars were replaced by smaller acts taking the stage both in the arena and at smaller outdoor stages scattered around the fairgrounds. The results, like last year’s showing from Spider Bags, have been solid so far.
Tomorrow night, the state fair welcomes another North Carolina institution: Superchunk, the band that helped launch indie rock and cement the Triangle on the map of the music world. Frontman Mac McCaughan told us about his earliest memories of Dorton Arena and the fair.
“The last time I was in Dorton Arena it was to see George Jones play the State Fair years ago. I know someone whose parents took her to see Jimi Hendrix open for The Monkees there. We used to go to Raleigh IceCaps games in Dorton. Suffice to say we will be treading on hallowed ground when we play the fair.
“The first time I went to the fair, I got a Rush mirror with the All the World’s a Stage naked-guy-in-a-star logo on it. They may not have something quite that cool available these days, but it is cool that they’re getting local bands to play.”
Skylar Gudasz, who opens the show, relays her memory of her first trip to the state fair, too: “Rurally raised and newly nineteen at UNC, I ride backseat in a car of drama majors to the State Fair. It’s still hot enough to rock spaghetti straps and to propel our primary mission: to find and drink a Tub of Coke. All actors, we put the fair on like a costume and stage our way through its sets: neon-stuffed animal prizes hanging in the air amid smells of blue-ribboned livestock; white sticky styrofoam littering the clay dust; the five-dollar Human Spectacle tent my friends shell out for, but, struck suddenly homesick, I cannot bring myself to enter.”
Tickets to see Superchunk tomorrow night are free with fair entry, which is ten dollars at the gate. We recommend waiting at least half an hour after eating a Philly cheese steak egg roll or a fried candy bar before pogoing.