The Ventura County Fair is upon us. For many people, the event’s grandstand entertainment may be the only time they attend concerts all year. The good news is that the struggling music business no longer views county fairs as a place where washed-up acts go to die. With big budgets and built-in crowds, booking agents are now clamoring to get in on the corn dog circuit, and the Ventura County Fair is no exception. This year’s live music lineup boasts some big name artists of different flavors with something to match everyone’s taste. Here’s a look at, not who will be on stage each night, but who will be in the crowd. Because, as we all know, the real entertainment at the fair is good old-fashioned people-watching.


Brett Michaels,
Friday, Aug. 3

People who can’t afford tickets to the much more credible Poison show in Santa Barbara next month. Aspiring and aging groupies who hope they’ll be noticed by Michaels for his VH-1 reality dating show. Local band, New Liberty, who, in a fairer world, would be opening the concert. People who seriously think Rock of Ages has a shot at an Oscar for best picture. Poison guitarist CC Deville who will need medical assistance after overdosing on fried Twinkies.


Joan Jett and the Blackhearts,
Saturday, Aug. 4

Punk rock fans who love Jett for her days in the seminal all-girl band The Runaways. Classic rock fans who only know Jett for her anthem,“I Love Rock and Roll.” A few guys who find Jett kind of attractive. A lot of girls who find Jett really attractive.


Banda Machos, Grupo Pesado, Lupillo Rivera
Sunday, Aug. 5

Grown men in tight white suits and cowboy hats. People still in their Sunday best coming straight from church. One disappointed color-blind fan of Montel Williams who mistook Lupillo Rivera’s photo on the fair poster for the bald-headed infomercial hero.


Monday, Aug. 6

Christian rock enthusiasts. Chin-rock enthusiasts. Christian chin-rock enthusiasts. Two of the three girls in the Scott Stapp/Kid Rock sex tape.


Frankie Avalon,
Tuesday, Aug. 7

Senior citizens who will be fast asleep before the nighttime concert. Olivia Newton John fanatics who just want to know what she was really like on the set of Grease. People who don’t have to work on a Tuesday afternoon. Superfans on the hunt for Avalon’s Anti-Itch Cream.


Big Bad Voodoo Daddy,
Tuesday, Aug. 7

People who take swing dance lessons and will make sure everyone there knows it. Band members’ relatives, next-door neighbors, mailmen, mechanics and babysitters. Multiple people insisting they can get backstage passes because they “partied with Scotty Morris back in the day.” Old folks who fell asleep during Frankie Avalon’s show earlier that day and are just waking up.


Cobra Starship,
Wednesday, Aug. 8

Teenagers in skinny jeans and neon T-shirts. Those who think bands from 2008 were just so much better than the bands of 2012. Three guys who remember seeing lead singer Gabe Saporta’s highly underrated previous band, Midtown, play at Skate Street years ago. One creepy guy with a fetish for female keytar players.


Martina McBride,
Thursday, Aug. 9

Weekend cowboys. Girls of all ages in cut-off shorts, boots and “Cowgirl Up!” tees. People who only read VCReporter for Paul Moomjean’s column. People with KHAY bumper stickers. People who buy CDs at Walmart. People who think the highlight of the fair is taking a picture with the life-size Ronald Reagan cardboard cutout at the Republican booth in the agricultural building.


Boyz II Men. En Vogue,
Friday, Aug.10

People who dance to the R&B cover bands at the Bombay Bar and Grill. A Q104.7 promotional booth run by interns who were tricked into thinking they would be working in the entertainment business. A few proud B2M loyalists who always believed deep in their hearts that Motown Philly would be back again.

Ventura County Fair, through Aug. 12. All musical performances are free with fair entry. Adults 13 and older, $12; children ages 6-12, $9; Seniors 62 and older, $9; Children younger than 6 and super seniors (100 years and older) admitted free.