Editor's Note, July 16, 2014: The Indiana State Fair has announced that Robin Thicke and Estelle will not perform on August 1 due to "a scheduling change." See IndianaStateFair.com for more information on coming concerts.
The Indiana State Fair’s recent $63 million renovation brings a modern vibe while keeping true to the rich history of the Fairgrounds Coliseum. And from July 31 to August 17, The Coliseum Concert Series will bring its first batch of performers through the spiffed-up multipurpose facility.
Some of the incoming acts are as hot as the summer nights they'll perform in, while others resemble those random colder days that sneak into the season. Here are heat-induced rankings of who's set to play this year.
Robin Thicke: August 1, 8 p.m.
Even though the 37-year-old Thicke has been releasing music for more than 10 years, his breakout song was last summer's anthem, “Blurred Lines.” The single has been certified six-times platinum and has given new life to the seasoned R&B singer. Grammy Award winner Estelle will open for Thicke in what’s sure to be the most-sought-after ticket during The Coliseum Concert Series.
Pitbull: August 8, 8 p.m.
It’s a guarantee that any club party you’ve been to in the past five years played at least two Pitbull songs. Recently, the Cuban-American rapper based in Miami notched his second No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Timber” featuring Kesha (video below). If you’re looking for the ultimate dance fest this summer, Pitbull’s live show has you covered.
Lynyrd Skynyrd: July 31, 7:30 p.m.
In the midst of all the youth-focused performers this year, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band known for classic songs like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird” will hold it down for the middle-aged crowd. The name Skynyrd will always draw a loyal crowd, even when there’s only one original member left in the band.
Phillip Phillips: August 5, 8 p.m.
After winning American Idol in 2012, Phillips rode the wave of his super-successful hit, “Home,” which has been certified five-times platinum stateside. But more impressively, he continues to deliver, having released another platinum single, “Gone, Gone, Gone.” His debut album, The World from the Side of the Moon, has also been certified platinum, fashioning a promising future for the 23-year-old heartthrob.
Jim Gaffigan: August 17, 8 p.m.
The final show of The Coliseum Concert Series comes in the form of stand-up comedy. The LaPorte, Indiana, native will bring his self-deprecating humor revolving around being fat and lazy to all chortle-seeking comers. Gaffigan has performed on all the late-night programs, led on Comedy Central specials, and released his first book, Dad Is Fat, in 2013. That tome was a New York Times bestseller for three months.
Hunter Hayes: August 9, 8 p.m.
Hayes is the country-boy version of Taylor Swift, in that he started writing songs around age 10, moved to Nashville, got signed to a label, and released a debut record that eventually went platinum. Hayes will play an array of instruments during his live set, which will hopefully pace his songs that tend to blend together. Either way, he’s the future of what country music will sound like.
American Idol Live! 2014 Tour: August 6, 7:30 p.m.
American Idol used to be everyone’s go-to singing competition, but it was also the only one airing in the States for quite some time. Shows like X Factor, America’s Got Talent, and The Voice have given viewers something fresh to latch onto more recently. Unfortunately, the impending tour full of potential stars from a reality show in the rearview lacks oomph.