Belinda Carlisle, Dessa, One Night of Queen among acts booked to play free Minnesota State Fair shows

Belinda Carlisle, local favorite Dessa and an acclaimed Queen cover band are among the artists set to play the Minnesota State Fair’s largest free stage.

The newly announced lineup for evening shows at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell includes Carlisle (Aug. 22-23), Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone (Aug. 24-25), Lonestar (Aug. 26-27), One Night of Queen performed by Gary Mullen and the Works (Aug. 28-29), Tony! Toni! Tone! (Aug. 30-31) and Dessa (Sept. 1-2).

Pop star Belinda Carlisle. (Courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair)

Carlisle began her career as a punk rock drummer but rose to worldwide fame as the lead singer of the Go-Go’s, whose 1981 debut “Beauty and the Beat” made history as the first album written and performed by an all-woman band to hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts. She went on to score solo hits with “Mad About You,” “I Get Weak,” “Leave a Light On” and “Heaven Is a Place on Earth.”

Herman’s Hermits rose to fame during the British Invasion of the ’60s and found success with “I’m Into Something Good,” “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” and “I’m Henry the Eighth, I Am.” Drummer Barry Whitwam has kept the band going on the nostalgia circuit, while lead singer Peter Noone tours with his own version of the group.

Lonestar emerged during the country music boom in the ’90s and landed nine No. 1 singles, including “Come Cryin’ to Me,” “Amazed,” “I’m Already There,” “My Front Porch Looking In” and “Mr. Mom.” The current lineup includes all the original members, save for vocalist/bassist John Rich, who left the group in 1998 and later formed Big and Rich.

One Night of Queen is led by Gary Mullen, who won the British talent TV show “Stars in Their Eyes” in 2000 with his vocal and visual recreation of Freddie Mercury. His tribute act has been touring the world extensively for the past decade and uses a custom-built lighting rig inspired by Queen’s massive shows from the ’80s. They’ve found celebrity admirers in pop star Rick Astley, actor Kevin Pollak and Judas Priest’s Rob Halford.

Gary Mullen and the Works perform the Queen tribute show One Night of Queen. (Courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair)

Tony! Toni! Tone! first made a splash in the late ’80s by merging classic soul sounds with hip-hop. They were mainstays of R&B radio for a decade and crossed over to the Top 40 with such hits as “Feels Good,” “If I Had No Loot” and “Anniversary.” The group broke up in 1997, but original members D’wayne Wiggins and Timothy Christian Riley continue to tour with Amar Khalil in place of Raphael Saadiq, who has gone on to a successful career as a producer and solo performer.

Rapper/singer/writer Dessa got her start with the Twin Cities hip-hop collective Doomtree, but has long since established herself as a solo star as well. She has earned national attention with her four albums, including last year’s “Chime,” and published five books. She’s also sold out Orchestra Hall several times performing with the Minnesota Orchestra.

The Minnesota State Fair features hundreds of free concerts and other performances throughout its 12-day run. For the full schedule, see mnstatefair.org.


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