Joe Nichols to headline 2023 Central Montana Fair

By 
Will Briggs
Reporter
Friday, November 25, 2022
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Joe Nichols, who’s had five number one hits on the country music charts in his career, will play the Friday night concert at the 2023 Central Montana Fair. Photo courtesy of Joe Nichols

What’s a guy gotta do to get Joe Nichols to headline the Central Montana Fair? Just ask the fair’s entertainment committee, which has locked in Nichols for the 2023 night show. 

Nichols has recorded 11 studio albums since his eponymous debut album in 1996, with his second album, ‘Man with a Memory’ reaching platinum and ‘III’ reaching gold. He’s had five number one singles on Billboard’s U.S. Country Airplay Chart: “Brokenheartsville,” “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off,” “Gimme That Girl,” “Sunny and 75,” and “Yeah.” Another popular song is “What’s a guy gotta do.”

The country musician last visited Central Montana in 2021, when he played on the Roundup Community Stage.

“I think it’ll be a great show. He’s got a lot of good, fun songs,” said fair board member Danyce Stulc, who also sits on the board’s entertainment committee. “My in-laws went to see him in Roundup and really enjoyed it and I heard from a lot of people that he put on a great show.”

Colorado country musician Clare Dunn, who has opened for acts such as Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban, will take the stage before Nichols.

“Her music is kind of rock-country, she played a cover of Bob Seger when I saw her live,” Stulc said. “She’s a lot of fun to watch and I think she’ll put on a great performance as well.”

The decision to bring in Nichols for the fair came out of a months-long search process, with the board needing to start looking for an act for 2023 virtually right after the conclusion of the 2022 fair.

“Our agent sends us a list of potentials and we go through all of them and how much they might cost,” Stulc explained.

“A lot of the most senior performers prefer to stick to stadiums,” Fergus County Facilities and Events Manager Scot Meader added. “So we try to find either younger or more established artists who are willing to come and play in the dirt in the arena.”

“I was surprised he took our offer and took it so fast,” Stulc continued. “It took him less than a week to accept it, which is great, especially because it’s gotten harder to get an artist that fits our budget over the last five years.”

In an effort to improve the sound quality of the concert, the fair board has also decided to alter setup and arrangement of the stage. In conjunction with changes to the stage, all tickets for the show will be general admission, with seating available in both the arena itself and in the grandstand.

“We want people to know that we’ve heard the concerns about sound quality and took them seriously, especially because for people with hearing aids in the grandstand, there’s a lot of echo in those seats,” Meader said. “The board works really hard to put on quality concerts and we appreciate that people come out and support the fair.”

Doors will open for the concert at 6:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 7:30. Since all tickets will be general admission, attendees may sit wherever they like in the arena or the grandstand.

“This allows people who buy their tickets at the last minute to sit with their friends or family and move to a different spot if they want,” Meader said. “We know a lot of people have had the same reserved seats for years, so the grandstand will be open from 12 to 1 p.m. so people can come in and put down a blanket or a sign to mark their seats if they want before sound check.”

For tickets or further information about the concert, visit cmtfair.com. Tickets are also available for purchase at the Trade Center at the Fergus County Fairgrounds. 

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