The capacity grandstand crowd cheers as country singer Kane Brown begins his concert Thursday night at the Medina County Fair.
ALYSSA ALFANO / GAZETTE Enlarge
MEDINA — When Medina County Fair Director Bob Bauman spoke to his booking agency over the winter, he was told about an up-and-coming country act that was going to be a huge hit by the end of the summer.
Bauman, who books and produces the musical acts at the fair, said he has an enduring appreciation for Variety Attractions of Zanesville.
That’s because the recommended act he booked, Kane Brown, has blown up the country charts.
The 24-year-old Georgia native performed at the fair Thursday night before more than 8,400 people — about 5,000 people in the grandstand and 3,500 on the field. He said most shows draw between 3,500 to 4,500 fans.
Bauman said if he tried to book Brown today, “it would have been darn near impossible.”
Many teenagers and young adults were in the capacity grandstand crowd.
“Honestly, I think he has a beautiful voice,” said Amanda Glatzer, 18, of Medina. “Also, he’s very attractive. He’s a mixture of country and pop.”
How badly did Glatzer want to see her favorite artist perform? Tickets purchased through the fair were $34, and quickly sold out. Glatzer said she spent $120 for tickets she acquired online.
Medina’s Emily Graham, 23, said she slept in her car the night before the tickets went on sale.
“It was such a big deal for me.”
Additionally, her sister-in-law, who works at an area hotel that housed some of Brown’s traveling party, landed rare meet-and-greet tickets to see Brown before the show.
“I’m so excited,” Graham said.
A member of Brown’s traveling party, who asked not to be named, said the country artist draws the same crowd as someone like Justin Bieber, only they’re wearing cowboy boots.
When the fair put the Brown tickets on sale, “it was the fastest-selling show in years, probably since the New Kids on the Block in the late ’80s,” Bauman said.
Several of Brown’s songs have reached No. 1 on the country charts in the last year, including “What Ifs,” “Heaven” and “Lose It.”
Expecting a large crowd for the concert, the fair board made arrangements for parking at the Medina County Career Center and the Ohio Army National Guard Armory in Medina, and shuttled them back and forth with BVIP Limousine Service.
“We took great steps to have it come together,” Bauman said.
Bauman, who signed Brown in January, said Medina was lucky the country singer was booked to play in Pennsylvania the night before.
“The routing was right,” he said. “He came from Pennsylvania. They want to stay within 500 miles.”
Brown went on stage around 9:15 p.m. after opening act Smithfield.
“This is seriously going to be a hard act to follow,” said Bauman, who’s booked about 55 acts in his 31 years with the fair, including Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton and Montgomery Gentry.
“I’m sure going to try.”
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