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John Lamb, Published July 16 2013

With Band Perry drawing 21,000, attendance up at fair concerts

WEST FARGO – The Band Perry was worth the wait for the Red River Valley Fair.

The country trio canceled their 2012 appearance, vowing to make up the date. The sibling act did just that on Saturday, drawing about 21,000, the biggest grandstand crowd in recent history, said Bryan Schulz, general manager.

Schulz said the fair’s overall grandstand entertainment attendance numbers were “awesome.”

The Band Perry wasn’t the only act to pack the racetrack. Young country singer Hunter Hayes pulled in 18,200 for his show on Friday.

Randy Houser got the six-day event off to a good start on July 9 with a crowd of 7,400. Hard rock tribute act Hairball pulled in 8,300 the next night, followed by 5,950 to see rock band Hinder. Heavy metal group Sevendust drew 2,500 for the final night of the fair on Sunday.

“Phenomenal,” Schulz said. “It was an awesome week. We had great weather. People were excited about being out here.”

He estimated 63,350 took in the concerts, up from 51,000 in 2012 when the biggest draw was Katie Armiger and Eli Young Band playing the night the Band Perry was originally scheduled.

Schulz said the biggest show in recent memory was 16,500 to see Julianne Hough and the Zac Brown Band in 2009.

(On Monday, Zac Brown was announced as a headliner for the 2014 WE Fest.)

The concerts are free with admission to the fair, but grandstand attendance is counted separately from overall RRVF attendance.

Schulz said because not much income is generated from tickets, the fair has to look for up-and-coming acts before they hit it really big.