Free Entertainment

Free Entertainment

What are the the things you can’t miss, the things you always need to eat or see or do? With over 1 million attendees and 11 days, there is so much to see and do at the Iowa State Fair, August 8-18, 2024.

Free entertainment with gate admission is always a highlight of the Fair.

Print out the form and mail to:

Tonya Cook, Special Events & Interim Events Director
Iowa State Fair
P.O. Box 57130
Des Moines, Iowa 50317

2024 Free Stage Entertainment Application 

Or, complete the form online below:

The Iowa State Fair is thrilled to provide an opportunity for Iowa talent to perform in front of audiences of all sizes. 

These performances are provided for exposure and experience rather than for a financial exchange.

The Iowa State Fair has three stages for performances. These include the MidAmerican Stage, the Knapp Stage and the Riley Stage. All stages are equipped with a sound system, chairs, (no music stands) and stage/sound crews. Performances are scheduled to start on the hour or half-hour and end 15 minutes before the next hour or half-hour. (For example; if you are scheduled for 9:00 a.m., you must be finished no later than 9:45 a.m.) This allows a 15 minute set up/tear down time between performers and also ensures that our show will begin as scheduled in the Daily Program. In some circumstances, longer performance times are given, at the Fair’s discretion. There are no evening stage times available.

Please remember when planning your event that time and dressing rooms are very limited. The Fair will provide signage for your performance.

Because of the large number of applications, final scheduling may take until the 15th of May. We try to honor the dates you requested but sometimes, because of other scheduled events, this becomes impossible. 

Please fill out all three choices and remember that weekend times are the hardest to get into. You will have a better chance of receiving your first choice if it is a weekday. If you do not write three choices down, you will be placed into the “anytime” file and will not be able to change your performance once it is scheduled. 

Please also remember that Saturday times are the most requested, if you request a Saturday performance there are no guarantees that you will receive one. 

The dates of the 2024 Iowa State Fair are August 8th-18th.

If you are selected to perform, you will receive a confirmation letter telling of your performance date, time and location. At this point, you will need to send in your letter confirming that you will perform. You will also be given the opportunity to purchase one parking pass for $10.00. This parking pass will allow you to park at the stage right before, during, and right after your performance only. Due to space constraints, only one vehicle is allowed per act. Please remember this when planning your performance.    

Please complete and return this entertainment application and a promotional packet to the Iowa State Fair, at the below address by April 1, 2024.  Please complete the entire application!  

IMPORTANT! Due to the increase in the number and variety of performers, we are requiring that each NEW performer or group submit a promotional packet to help us in the selection process. This packet may include one or more of the following: documentation citing past awards or recognition of the performer or group, letters of recommendation, a listing of public appearances (including radio and TV), pictures and, if possible, a DVD or audio sample or your performance. Performers may substitute a website if site contains all the above elements or a combination of hard copy and website information. 

If you performed at the Iowa State Fair in 2023 you are not required to submit this information, as it is already on file.  If your act was a late cancel or a no show in 2023 or if you did not follow the parking rules you will not be scheduled to perform in 2024.

Iowa State Fair policy prohibits performers from soliciting contributions from the audience; however, you are allowed to sell merchandise pertaining to your performance (cds, DVDs or shirts) with no merchandise fee being paid back to the Fair. You are allowed to sell during your performance only.

We appreciate those of you who have continued to support us with your performances through the years and also welcome any new performers.

Must Choose 3 Dates

Please Do Not Specify Stages or Times

Technical Information

The Iowa State Fair will provide the following:

Piano (Riley Stage only), sound equipment, folding chairs, 8-foot tables, and stage/sound crew.


Performers’ Equipment

Please be specific about what you plan to bring to your performance site.

Please Upload a diagram of your stage set up showing equipment placement. Accepted file types: Excel, Word, PDF Maximum file size: 2048 KB

·        This is only an application for an opportunity to perform. Submission of this application does not guarantee the performer a booking at the State Fair, nor does it constitute any agreement with the State to provide space, services or compensation. 


·        The parties agree that the participant, and any agents and employees of participant are acting in an independent capacity and not as officers, employees, or agents of the State Fair.


·        The Iowa State Fair is not responsible for loss or damage to property of participant.


·        Participant hereby waives all claims and recourse against the State of Iowa, the Iowa State Fair, including the right to contribution for loss or damage to persons or property in any way connected to this Agreement, and shall indemnify and hold harmless the State of Iowa, the Iowa State Fair, from all claims due to any acts or omissions.


·        Participant shall indemnify and hold harmless the State of Iowa, the Iowa State Fair, its officers, agents and employees from any and all claims, suits or actions of every name, kind and description brought forth from, or on account of, injuries to or death of any person including, but not limited to, workers and the public, or damage to property resulting from the performance at the Iowa State Fair.

Your browser does not support the Signature field


Incomplete packets and packets submitted after the deadline will not be considered. Application deadline April 1, 2024.

Free Entertainment at the Iowa State Fair

Free Entertainment Facts

The Blue Band has been one of the longest free stage acts, celebrating over 30 years and completing their run at the Fair in 2017.

Popular bands, the Nadas first came to the Fair in 2000 and Hairball started performing in 2003.

These entertainers first appeared on a free stage at the Fair before performing in the Grandstand:

  • John Michael Montgomery (free stage in 1993, Grandstand in 1995 and 1997)
  • Bryan White (free stage in 1995, Grandstand in 1997 and 1998)
  • Trick Pony (free stage 2001, Grandstand in 2002 and 2003)
  • Gary Allen (free stage 1999, Grandstand in 2004, 2007 and 2009)
  • Cross Canadian Ragweed (free stage 2004, Grandstand 2005)
  • Dierks Bentley (free stage 2004, Grandstand 2007 and 2016)
  • Shooter Jennings (free stage 2006, Grandstand 2008)
  • Chuck Wicks (free stage 2008, Grandstand 2009)
  • Candy Coburn (free stage 2008, Grandstand 2009, 2010)
  • The Band Perry (free stage 2011, Grandstand 2012)
  • Tenth Avenue North (free stage 2011, Grandstand 2012)
  • Lady Antebellum (free stage 2008, Grandstand 2014 and 2016)
  • Color Me Badd (free stage 2016, Grandstand 2017)
  • Dan and Shay (free stage 2015, Grandstand 2019 and 2021)
  • Carly Pearce (free stage 2017, Grandstand 2019)
  • Zach Williams (free stage 2017, Grandstand 2019)

For more information, please email specialevents@iowastatefair.org.