Scoop: Country Music Star Merle Haggard coming to Nevada County Fairgrounds on Sept. 15

County Music Star Merle Haggard is going to perform at the Nevada County Fairgrounds on Sept. 15 — one day after American music icon Willie Nelson performs there, Sierra FoodWineArt magazine has learned.

Though there has been no official announcement yet, the performance is listed on Haggard’s website. Haggard helped create the “Bakersfield sound” with Buck Owens.

Haggard’s performance is another sign of the Sierra Foothills ability to attract well-known talent, an accelerating trend that helps promote the region as a “destination” for tourism. Elsewhere in the Gold Country, venues such as the Ironstone Amphitheatre in Murphys are hosting performers such as Reba McEntire.

Haggard’s performance will be “an outdoor event with several local openers” and begins at 8:30 p.m. at the Fairgrounds. As previously reported, the Nevada County Fair in Grass Valley under CEO Sandy Woods and her staff is “bucking a trend,” increasing its financial reserves, revitalizing its existing events and more recently, renting out the grounds top-notch talent, as we are reporting in our Summer issue.

Besides Willie Nelson, Lacey J. Dalton also is performing at the County Fairgrounds in an outdoor concert on Friday, August 24.

The Center for The Arts in Grass Valley is expected to be the sponsor of the Merle Haggard event, as it is with Willie Nelson. The Center, under Executive Director Julie Baker and her staff, has done a good job of luring talent to the area, including Kris Kristofferson and Judy Collins. The Willie Nelson concert, first reported here, is almost sold out.

Haggard is an American country music song writer, singer, guitarist, fiddler and instrumentalist.

Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band The Strangers helped create the Bakersfield sound, which is characterized by the unique twang of Fender Telecaster and the unique mix with the traditional country steel guitar sound, new vocal harmony styles in which the words are minimal, and a rough edge not heard on the more polished Nashville Sound recordings of the same era.

Haggard — who has won a Kennedy Center award — talks about his life and work here.

Sierra FoodWineArt is a free quarterly regional magazine, distributed from Reno to Sacramento and points in between. The Sacramento Bee is a marketing partner, republishing its stories in print and promoting its website, The magazine has a mobile app and archives all its magazine content on the web. It is locally owned and operating by award-winning, seasoned journalists.

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