It was 1989, the time of big hair, neon colors and Walkmans busting out the beats. Bobby Brown was hot, hot, hot and Johnny Cash was....eh.
Both were scheduled to perform at the California Mid-State Fair that summer, but Brown canceled less than a month before his appearance. Fans and fair officials were equally upset, as $90,000 in tickets had already been sold. The fair manager at the time called the reason for the cancellation "nebulous." (Brown's team denied rumors of drug use.)
Cash, however, performed as scheduled on a free stage with his wife, June Carter Cash. His popularity had waned years before, and wouldn't skyrocket until the early 2000s. It's generally agreed that he became even more popular after his death in 2003.
Not hard to imagine who'd get the Grandstand show these days.
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From July 15, 1989: "Fair's third most popular act cancels show"
One of the most popular grandstand performers booked for this year’s Mid-State Fair has canceled his appearance.
Fair Manager Maynard Potter announced Friday that he received a cancellation notice from rap-singer Bobby Brown.
As of the middle of this week, Brown was the third most popular performer in terms of advanced tickets sales among the 10 grandstand shows booked for this year’s fair.
Potter said some $90,000 in tickets had been sold so far for Brown’s show. He was to have appeared Aug. 13.
The William Morris agency informed the fair that Brown was cancelling his entire summer tour to spend more time in the recording studio, Potter said.
“The reason was very nebulous,” Potter said, “and the fair interprets this as a lack of concern for the fans and the public in general.”
“I think it’s a bad move on Bobby Brown’s part,” Potter said. “I think he’s going to lose money and lose fans by canceling out.”
Potter said Brown’s cancellation “is a case of someone whose career may be moving too fastand his organization is not keeping up.”
He said the fair would honor requests for refunds.
“We’re going to bounce back,” Potter said. “It will work out fine.”
He said he hoped to announce Monday the name of the new show that will replace Brown.
This year’s Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles runs from Aug. 8 through Aug. 20.
From March 9, 1989: "Johnny Cash, Buck Owens to perform"
That “man in black” – singer Johnny Cash – has been booked as part of the Mid-State Fair’s free entertainment package.
Cash will appear in two shows with wife June Carter Cash on Friday, Aug. 11, according to Maynard Potter, fair manager.
Cash will be paid $25,000 for the shows, said Potter.
Also set for an appearance at the August fair is Buck Owens, who will perform as part of the free Frontier Headliner Stage entertainment.
Other entertainment announcements by Potter included the addition of singer K.T. Oslin, who won two Grammys this year.
Oslin, who won the awards for best female country music singer and best country song, “Hold Me,” will be the opening act for grandstand entertainer Randy Travis.
Tickets for the grandstand shows may go on sale as early as April 1, Potter told Wednesday meeting of the Fair Board.