Words & Deeds

Funny! Guess which act had the biggest attendance at the Western Idaho Fair?

Grandstand concerts are one of the most popular parts of the Western Idaho Fair.
Grandstand concerts are one of the most popular parts of the Western Idaho Fair. Provided by Western Idaho Fair

Was that a record-setting crowd for Styx at the Western Idaho Fair last week, or was it all a grand illusion?

And is Boise a rock city or a country town? Concert attendance numbers provide clues. Usually, a country act is the biggest draw.

This year, though, the joke’s on us. The winner wasn’t a musical act.

The Fair ended Sunday. It’s time for our annual postmortem about the free grandstand shows.

To estimate attendance, fair employees use a clicker counter. When a handful of fans leave a completely full performance, a few more are allowed to enter.

On Tuesday at the Fair, Poison frontman Bret Michaels gave fans “Something to Believe In.” Let’s just hope they didn’t believe he’d draw the largest crowd. Ouch. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” Michaels drew 3,900 fans. By Fair standards, that’s not exactly poison — but definitely a smallish show. On a side note, I’m told that Michaels was one of the most generous meet-and-great artists the Fair has ever had, and that he spent lots of time with fans.

By Wednesday, fans were sailing into the grandstands. Classic-rockers Styx drew a whopping 10,700 concertgoers for anthems such as “Renegade” and “Mr. Roboto.” That’s even more than Foreigner pulled at last year’s Fair. Prance, Lawrence Gowan, prance!

Comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias yucked it up in front of an enormous audience Thursday: 12,800 fans. I was a tiny bit skeptical that the funny man would crush all competitors, but Fair Director Bob Batista predicted it. “I’ve been following some of the other fairs that have had him,” Batista told me beforehand, “and he just kills it. This year, we got him! So hang on.” I’m glad I didn’t bet Batista a Pronto Pup.

Free grandstand shows wound up Friday with 9,200 at Randy Houser. A whole herd of fairgoers stampeded the place eager to hear favorites such as “How Country Feels” and “Runnin’ Out of Moonlight.”

Congratulations, Fluffy. You are pretty hilarious. But don’t phone Guinness World Records just yet. A couple of years ago, Josh Turner racked up 13,103 fans at the Fair — on a Tuesday night!

Because I’m a nerd and keep track of this stuff, here are prior years’ attendance numbers. Acts are listed in their order of performance.

• • •


Scott McCreery — 6,100

Huey Lewis and the News — 12,200

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts — 6,700

Trace Adkins — 12,800

• • •


Josh Turner – 13,103

Foreigner – 9,234

Sawyer Brown/LoCash – 6,157

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo – 11,582

• • •


Jerrod Niemann — 2,900

Theory of a Deadman — 4,200

Gary Allan — 8,900

Queensryche — 4,500

• • •


Seether — 6,500

Montgomery Gentry — 8,200

Doobie Brothers — 9,800

Thompson Square — 7,900

• • •


Los Cuates de Sinaloa — 2,500

Kutless — 4,000

Foreigner — 9,000

The Guess Who — 3,500

Brantley Gilbert — 9,000

Clay Walker — 6,500

• • •

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