Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show: a nice mix of music genres for a super fun time

Dallas Smith

By Carey Langsner, Rock At Night Hamilton, Ontario Correspondent

Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show-Simcoe, Ontario–Concerts–October 7th and 8th, 2016



norfolk-fair-7With the arrival of October in southern Ontario comes cooler temperatures, leaves turning colours and the arrival of the fall fairs. One of the oldest fairs in the country is the Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show in Simcoe Ontario, celebrating their 176th year.

The Fair is filled with a carnival by the “World’s Finest Shows” where we can all be kids for a little while, where candy floss sticks to our fingers and the showmen beckon us with “doggee-doggee” to try our luck on games of chance to win one of the many stuffed animals hanging behind the counter. Where the carousels spin round and round, lights flash and the music plays on.

The grandstand features fair favourites such as music by Canadian artists, demolition derbies, a monster truck show, barrel racing, tractor pulls, and more. Playing at the grandstand is country music star Dallas Smith and “genre-bending” Coleman Hell, while Dry County will be playing at the Ice Rink.

On stage Friday night was Dallas Smith, former front man for the hard rock/post -grunge band Default out of Vancouver B.C. Default had a number of singles, like Wasting My Time, top the charts in both Canada and the USA with the album The Fallout going Platinum in both countries. While the band Default has not officially disbanded, they are taking a break so the members of the band may pursue individual projects.

Dallas Smith is now performing as a solo rock and country artist, having won many awards including a Juno and a Canadian Country Music award for Album of the Year in 2015. Watching and listening to Dallas Smith in concert, like with many of the country recording artists today, you cannot find a line in the music or the performance, defining a difference between a rock and a country performance.

norfolk-fair-3From the moment when Dallas first stepped on stage until his encores were done, the audience of over 10,000 fans were on their feet and singing to every song, sometimes sounding louder than the band. All night long Dallas intermixed songs from both his solo career and from his days with Default. Like Dallas, his band is always in motion providing a very energetic show and providing many different photo opportunities for fans and those of us in the photo pit.

While Dallas was on stage, many of his female fans were crowded along the fence trying to get as close to him as possible. As hard as security had tried unsuccessfully to get these young ladies back to their seats and not crowd along the fence, they were determined they were not going to be moved. After his fifth song, Dallas asked these fans if they were being bothered by security. In unison they all yelled YES and from that point on, no one bothered any of them at the fence. Eventually Dallas came off the stage to meet some of these fans, taking selfies with many of these young ladies.

The temperature for Saturday dropped to around 15° Celsius (27° Fahrenheit) which seemed to deter many from attending the Fall Fair as all events and the midway seemed to be not nearly as busy as earlier days had been.

norfolk-fair-6Saturday night saw Coleman Hell takes the stage at the grandstand. Coleman Hell is a Canadian Pop Rock/Electronic singer from Thunder Bay, Ontario. While the crowd for Coleman Hell was not as large as it was the night before, most likely caused by the sudden drop in temperature on Saturday, the crowd that was there definitely were enjoying the show. Coleman entertained the crowd with his singing, playing the keyboards and the ukulele and on stage antics.

Inside the hockey arena on Saturday night, the band Dry County was playing to a packed arena. Dry County is a powerhouse energetic heavy country rock band from Brantford, Ontario that has had success on both sides of the border. The band plays their own style of music and cover songs by combining New Country with Southern Rock. The band consists of front man Jeff Gallagher, guitarist Randy Solski, bassist Keith Silver, drummer Rick Wilson and keyboardist Donald La Frambois. Followers are known as The Redneck Nation.

Once again, the Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show was a huge success. I would like to thank those involved that invited Rock At Night to come and cover the event, and we look forward to covering the 177th fair.

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