Iowa State Fair lands heartland rock hero for Grandstand show
Heartland rock staple John Mellencamp returns to Iowa on Aug.. 19 for a performance at the Iowa State Fair Grandstand. Matthew Leimkuehler/The Register
Johnny Cougar can’t get enough of Iowa.
The Indiana-born songwriter most call John Mellencamp plans to return to the Hawkeye state for a performance at the Iowa State Fair Grandstand, his third show in central Iowa since February 2015. The show is set to take place Aug. 19 at 8 p.m. Tickets go on sale March 3 at 10 a.m.
Mellencamp, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, won the hearts of rock ‘n’ roll fans across the country and beyond in the 1970s and 1980s with hits like “Jack & Diane,” “Hurts So Good” and “Small Town.” The co-founder of the long-running Farm Aid series most recently performed in Iowa at Stephens Auditorium in Ames last October.
Stopping in Ames during the final leg of his “Plain Spoken” tour, Mellencamp performed for about 90 minutes, closing with the iconic heartland rock number “Cherry Bomb.” Mellencamp is set to release his 23rd studio album, “Sad Clown and Hillbillies,” in April. A single from the record, “Easy Target,” dropped last month.
THE FULL REVIEW: John Mellencamp parades 40 years of hits at Ames show
Mellencamp, 65, collaborated with Carlene Carter, daughter of June Carter Cash and stepdaughter to Johnny Cash, on the impending release. The Grammy Award-winning songwriter spoke to USA TODAY in 2016 about the new record and ever-changing music industry.
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"The business has changed so dramatically that I don't even pay attention to it anymore," he told USA TODAY. "I've had a lot of hit records, but I found that when you get to the top there's nothing else there. I've got to keep reinventing myself in a way that I can be happy doing what I do. All the people I admire have done that."
Mellencamp marks the sixth Grandstand show in 2017 to be unveiled by the Iowa State Fair, which is scheduled to run Aug. 10-20. Tickets start at $50 and can be purchased at etix.com.
2017 Iowa State Fair Grandstand acts (so far):
- Aug. 10: For King & Country
- Aug. 11: Nickelback
- Aug. 12: I Love The '90s tour
- Aug. 17: Alabama
- Aug. 18: Little Big Town
- Aug. 19: John Mellencamp