John King took serious interest in guitar when he realized he could learn to play his favorite songs by ear — and then use that knowledge to write his own music.
“I started by playing familiar melodies and turning them into funny songs with lyrics about my friends.” Although King performed in rock bands, his voice was pure country. “I grew up country, I talked country, and I wrote country songs.”
Armed with a music degree from the University of Georgia, King’s tenacity caught the attention of booking agent Kevin Neel in 2013.
His debut radio single, “Tonight Tonight,” earned him his first Top 40 hit and was used to highlight CBS network’s Thursday night football throughout the 2014 season.
In addition to performing during a cross-country music tour, King has continued to hone his songwriting talents. “We Went,” recorded by Randy Houser, earned King a 2016 ASCAP Songwriter Award.
Indie pop trio Echosmith burst onto the Billboard Hot 100 list in 2014 when the breakout single “Cool Kids” achieved double platinum ratings.
In recent years, siblings Graham Sierota (drums), Noah Sierota (bass, guitar, vocals), and Sydney Sierota (vocals) let inspiration take hold, producing hit singles and collaborating with musicians including Petatonix, Prince Fox, and Hunter Hays.
Following the release of four promotional singles from the group’s 2017 EP titled “Inside a Dream,” the band released “Over My Head” in March 2018.
Last month, Echosmith and DJ/musician Audien teamed up to deliver “Favorite Sound,” an uplifting anthem with an empowering message.
“It’s about how it’s your choice in what you’re going to listen to and what you’re gonna believe and then learning how to sift through that,” Sydney Sierota told EDM. “So it’s super personal for me and I think it’s very relatable to a lot of people.”
Formed in 1967 and fronted by iconic vocalist Kevin Cronin since 1972, REO Speedwagon is a band where the main constant over the decades is a never-ending desire to give their all to their fans, year in and year out.
After an 11-year break from recording, REO Speedwagon released Find Your Own Way Home in 2007, marking the band’s 15th studio effort. Two years later, REO teamed up with fellow Midwestern rockers Styx to record the new single, “Can’t Stop Rockin’,” co-written by the two band’s frontmen, Cronin and Tommy Shaw.
In recent years, REO Speedwagon has joined forces with bands including Def Leppard, Styx, and Chicago, co-headlining tours in hundreds of cities across the U.S. and Canada.
In 2018, REO Speedwagon was voted the “Top Musicians in Illinois History” as part of the neighboring state’s bicentennial celebration.
After pursuing a career in the business world as an accountant thinking singing would only be a hobby, Elkhart County native Jordan Kirkdorffer found himself on the national stage as a contestant on NBC’s “The Voice.” He was invited onto the show after producers stumbled across his videos on YouTube.
From that moment on, music has been his sole focus. Growing up singing in the church, Kirkdorffer credits his musical influences from a vast array of artists ranging from Vince Gill, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood to Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake and Whitney Houston.
Kirkdorffer thrilled fairgoers with his first hometown show during the 2018 Elkhart County 4-H Fair. This year he returns as a featured artist on the grandstand stage.
His hit single “This Ain’t My Grave” was released in November 2018.
Owen’s sixth album “Greetings from… Jake” was released in March and features his fastest-rising career single, “I Was Jack (You Were Diane)” and “Down To The Honkytonk.”
Owen’s songs have resonated with listeners and audiences everywhere with two-time platinum anthem “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” platinum-certified hits “Beachin,’” “Anywhere With You,” “Alone With You,” “The One That Got Away,” and gold-certified “American Country Love Song.” Owen’s fifth studio album “American Love” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart and No. 4 on the Billboard 200 all-genre chart.
Owen is gearing up to join Shania Twain as a celebrity panelist on USA Network’s upcoming “Real Country” singing competition.
Between platinum-certified No. 1 summer smash “Up Down,” featuring Florida Georgia Line and his Top 25 single “Whiskey Glasses” burning up the charts, Morgan Wallen has burst onto the scene as a dynamite solo artist and in-demand songwriter.
Wallen’s debut album “If I Know Me” premiered in April 2018, and was soon after named one of Taste of Country’s Top 10 Country Albums of 2018.
He has co-penned hits for a Thousand Horses, Dustin Lynch, Kane Brown, and Jason Aldean.
In January, Wallen launched his headline “If I Know Me” tour with a sold-out show at Joe’s Live in Chicago. In June, he will join multi-platinum duo Florida Georgia Line on their 2019 tour, stopping in Elkhart County for a one-night performance with singer/songwriter Riley Green on the grandstand stage.
Born in Jacksonville, Alabama, Riley Green was raised on the sounds of old traditional country, bluegrass, and southern gospel music. He learned the spirit of songwriting and performing at a young age while spending time with his grandfather, Bufford Green, who ran Golden Saw Music Hall.
With a mixture of outlaw-rebellion and respect for tradition, Green’s original music has already tallied over 51 million streams to date. Currently on his headlining “Outlaws Like Us” tour, Green has traveled the southeast for the last five years while growing his loyal fanbase on social media. His recently released EP features four songs he co-wrote: “There Was This Girl,” “Same Old Song,” “Break Up More Often,” and “In A Truck Right Now.” Green will join solo artist Morgan Wallen for a Tuesday night performance on the grandstand stage.
The all-vocal country music sensation Home Free is bringing Nashville country standards and country-dipped pop hits to this year’s Elkhart County 4-H Fair.
The five-member a cappella band got its big break by winning the fourth season of NBC’s The Sing-Off in 2013.
Since then, the group has released four albums, including 2014’s “Crazy Life,” and their most recent album, Timeless, which came out in 2017.
Bandmates Adam Rupp, Tim Foust, Rob Lundquist, Adam Chance and Austin Brown perform all-vocal renditions of beloved country songs, such as their most recent single, Travis Tritt’s “Great Day to be Alive.”
Audiences can expect new music and new stylings, plus country songs including Maren Morris’ “My Church,” pop hits like Shakira’s “Try Everything,” and classics such as Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire.”
2019 CONCERT LINEUP
- Friday, July 19: John King // Echosmith
- Saturday, July 20: REO Speedwagon
- Sunday, July 21: Jordan Kirkdorffer
- Monday, July 22: Jake Owen
- Tuesday, July 23: Morgan Wallen w/ feat. guest Riley Green
- Wednesday, July 24: Home Free