GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Junior Fair hosts a variety of musical acts and shows, but few really know what goes into making sure what it takes to prepare the main stage for performances.
“When it comes to the fair and entertainment, it’s practically a year-round thing. Immediately after the current fair, we start reviewing how things went, if there is anything we can tweak to make the shows better for the community,” said Brent Eastman, Gallia County Junior Fair Board member. “Then we start looking at bands and different trends and ratings. We shop deals to try to get the best entertainment for the money we put into it.”
Eastman said the fair board uses a booking agent to help contract for its entertainment. The agent organization, Modesitt and Associates, sits down with board members and helps suggest upcoming artists the group believes would please the fair crowd’s tastes. Eastman used the female country duo, Maddie and Tae, as an example.
“Our acts have generated a lot of enthusiasm,” Eastman said. “We try to bring in top names. The Charlie Daniels Band is a good example. This is his second time in Gallia County. The last time he was here it was one of the largest crowds we’ve ever had.”
Eastman said the board starts planning entertainment around October and November and generally decides on music choices around the first of the new year.
Saturday, Eastman said, the fair holds a “Country Showdown.” The vocal competition is held between 12 finalists that were selected among competitors who engaged in a qualifier previously in Point Pleasant, W.Va, during the town’s Independence Day celebration.
Eastman said entertainers like Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton and Reba McEntire have all appeared on the fair’s main stage at one point in time.
Front house sound engineer, Darin Baughman, of Sound Rental Services, is one of the leading individuals who helped set up the sound equipment the main staged utilizes.
“The acoustics aren’t bad here. There are no unusual challenges we’ve encountered with the Gallia County site,” Baughman said. “I probably have around roughly 80,000 watts (worth of sound) for the whole system.”
Baughman noted he liked to keep the decibel rating for concerts at the main stage around the 100 decibel range. Wind turbines generate around 50 decibels of sound and a jet plane can produce up to 150 decibels. He said his system could do 110 to 115 easily, but he felt that was too loud for any person to enjoy a live show. He did say that some engineers will run a show around 110 decibels, particularly at rock and roll concerts.
Baughman said he typically does around 20 shows a month. SRS has two teams “out doing work,” so his company is currently doing around 30 to 40 shows a month during festival and fair seasons.
“A lot of bands nowadays travel with they call ‘self-containers.’ That means they have consoles, mic stands and tables. All I do is patch them into our PA and they literally use all their own stuff except for the PA itself.”
Baughman noted a lot of current artists will use small ear “monitors” to help listen to the sound of their own music as they play to keep better rhythm. He said a few of the more experienced artists, however, still like to use speaker monitors set in front of them on stage because they have played that way for years and are accustomed to using them.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.