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Iowa History Daily: August 16 - Garth Steps In

Iowa History Daily: On August 16, 1990, Garth Brooks stepped in at the last minute as a replacement for Ricky Van Shelton at the Iowa State Fair. Brooks brought all his “Friends in Low Places” to the grandstand for a sold-out show as he continued his rapid rise toward country stardom.

After Van Shelton’s successful appearance co-headlining alongside Reba McEntire on the Iowa State Fair Grandstand in 1989, bookers proved eager to bring back the country star. When the initial lineup came out, fans lined up for tickets to hear the likes of Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and Alan Jackson, as well as Ricky Van Shelton.

When Van Shelton canceled, promoters slid-in country’s most rapidly rising star: Garth Brooks. Touring in support of his sophomore album “No Fences,” Brooks burst onto the Grandstand and wowed the audience with hits including “The Thunder Rolls,” “Unanswered Prayers,” and “Friends in Low Places.” The last-minute replacement proved more than capable of keeping the fairgrounds rocking late into the night.

The following year and again three years later, in 1991and 1994, the Iowa State Fair again welcomed Garth Brooks. However, the next time around the singer didn’t need a last minute cancellation to make the bill. The bonafide star sat atop the country charts and arrived fresh off his first world tour to greet a crowd of frenzied Iowans ready to continue one of the greatest music careers in American history. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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