MITCHELL — At last, the 2023 Corn Palace Festival entertainment lineup was announced Thursday.
Corn Palace Director Doug Greenway announced country music star Michael Ray will headline the first concert of the festival on Friday, Aug. 25. Ray has several hit songs, including “Kiss You in the Morning” that have landed on top country music charts.
The Rock of Ages Band will take the Corn Palace stage on Saturday night, Aug. 26. Greenway said the Rock of Ages Band is not the popular broadway show but a concert band that performs 80s hit songs.
“We’ll have all the free entertainment in the Corn Palace Plaza the rest of the evening as well,” Greenway said of the outdoor concerts.
In past years, there have been up to four ticketed shows. However, this year’s festival will feature two main entertainment acts. Local artists will be performing on the plaza stage Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday during the festival.
Thursday’s announcement of the 2023 Corn Palace Festival brought an end to a long wait for Mitchell area music fans. Typically, the Corn Palace Festival entertainment lineup is announced in late winter or early spring, well before the late August event. Greenway said securing acts this year was a challenge.
As time passed this summer without any announcements of the upcoming festival lineup, it prompted Mayor Bob Everson to issue a stern nudge to the Corn Palace Events and Entertainment Board in early June. The board is responsible for agreeing on the entertainment lineup, but they couldn’t agree on several artists such as country musicians Koe Wetzel and Scotty McCreery.
“You, in my opinion, should be looking at what we’re going to be doing for 2024 at this stage of the game, not trying to find somebody to be here for 2023,” Everson said to the Corn Palace Board in early June. “So my words to you are get your butts in gear and get this done.”
In addition to the music entertainment, the Aug. 23-27 festival will feature carnival rides, a local kid’s pedal pull event and food vendors.
Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.