From Vegas to Idol … Best Fest brings Wayne Newton, Jordin Sparks, others next month

Posted on by az100

Cindy Barks
The Daily Courier

8/16/2011 10:07:00 PM

PRESCOTT – From a former American Idol to “Mr. Las Vegas,” the entertainment lineup heading to Prescott next month for the Arizona Best Fest aims to appeal to a wide range of musical tastes.

Organizers of the Arizona Centennial celebration announced Tuesday that the lineup of performers – all with links to Arizona – will include pop star Jordin Sparks, singer and musician Wayne Newton, rock guitarist Nils Lofgren, rock ‘n roll veterans The Tubes, and rock/blues artist Jerry Riopelle.

The entertainers will headline the Arizona Best Fest Sept. 16-18 in downtown Prescott – the first of three major celebrations taking place throughout the state in the coming months to commemorate Arizona’s February 2012 centennial.

“In choosing the entertainers for Prescott, we wanted to get a good variety,” Arizona Centennial Commission Deputy Director Mandi Wimmer said Tuesday afternoon. “We wanted different styles to hit different demographics.”

Wimmer said the commission extended an invitation to a number of entertainers who live or have lived in Arizona. “We were looking for Arizona-tied entertainers,” she said.

Sparks, a pop artist who won the “American Idol” title in 2007 at age 17, is an Arizona native, while Lofgren, a guitarist with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, lives in Scottsdale. Newton, a long-time Las Vegas and USO performer, attended high school in Phoenix, while rock band The Tubes started as a group of high school friends from Phoenix, and Scottsdale. Rhythmic rock/blues artist Riopelle has a home in Scottsdale.

Wimmer said the lists of performers for the coming Best Fest events in Tucson (Nov. 11-13) and Phoenix (Feb. 10-12) are not yet definite.

“We anticipate having different lineups for each (of the Best Fests),” she added.

In Prescott, the headline entertainment will take place on the Best Fest’s concert-sized main stage, which Wimmer said would be constructed at the intersection of Cortez and Union streets. All of the performances will be free and open to the public.

While the exact times of the performances are still being determined, Wimmer said Lofgren and The Tubes would perform on Friday, Sept. 16. Sparks and Riopelle will take the stage on Saturday, Sept. 17, and Newton is scheduled to perform on Sunday, Sept. 18.

Along with the headliners, the entertainment will include a historical musical retrospective titled “Salute to Arizona” on Saturday, Sept. 17. In addition, Arizona’s official State Historian Marshall Trimble and official State Balladeer Dolan Ellis will perform on the main stage.

Organizers previously announced that the staging for the Best Fest would require the closure of nine square blocks of the downtown area, running from Willis to Carleton, and from Granite to Marina.

For convenience, parking will be available at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds, 848 Rodeo Drive, and at Frontier Village, 1841 E. Highway 69. Shuttle buses will provide transportation from the parking areas to the downtown throughout the Best Fest.

Event hours will be 5 to 10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Along with the headline performers, the Best Fest also will include interactive historic pavilions, cultural villages, a Western town, seven stages of entertainment, Arizona artists, food, wine, and craft beer.

Celebrate Arizona

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