Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

October 11, 2008

State Issues New RFP for 2009 State Fair Entertainment

RFP: More Free Entertainment at Chevy Court, Fewer Acts at Grandstand

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker and New York State Fair Director Dan OíHara today announced a new Request for Proposals (RFP) for entertainment at the 2009 New York State Fair. The RFP requests the booking and promoting of entertainment, as done last year. But in an effort to create even greater value for fairgoers, the State Fair is seeking to increase and diversify its free entertainment offered at Chevy Court, while reducing the nights of national entertainment at the Grandstand.

"The New York State Fair has been one of the few fair venues in the nation to offer eleven consecutive nights of national entertainment," the Commissioner said. "With only ten percent of fairgoers attending these concerts and the state of the national economy, it makes sense to provide more high quality, free acts at Chevy Court, even if it means offering fewer nights of paid entertainment at the Grandstand. This scenario will create greater value for fairgoers and will enable us to better fulfill our mission of providing a fun and affordable family atmosphere."

The RFP, available today at, seeks proposals that book and promote seven nights of entertainment at the Grandstand, a reduction in national entertainment from previous years. To diversify and provide more family-oriented shows, the RFP also asks for increased entertainment at Chevy Court, which is offered free to all fairgoers. The RFP is for a one-year contract with two renewal options at the discretion of the New York State Fair. Proposals are due December 1, 2008.

To accommodate its requests in the RFP, the Department increased its budget for Chevy Court entertainment from $450,000 to $750,000, and reduced its budget for Grandstand entertainment from $3.5 million to $2.5 million.

New York State Fair Director Dan OíHara said, "Since 2007, we have been looking for ways to streamline costs and reduce financial risks associated with the State Fairís concert series. Escalating concert costs, and the possibilities of inclement weather, low concert attendance and insurance liabilities all threaten the financial well-being of the State Fair enterprise as a whole. This new RFP reprioritizes funds, which lessens the Fairís financial exposure, but continues to provide top national acts, as well as more and better free entertainment for the nearly one million people that visit the New York State Fair."

This is the second RFP issued for the State Fairís 2009 entertainment. The previous RFP sought proposals that would book, promote and operate the entire Grandstand entertainment venue, ultimately privatizing the entertainment at the State Fair and eliminating all risk associated with its concert series. One proposal was received from Live Nation Worldwide, which did not meet the requirements outlined in the RFP, and therefore, the RFP resulted in no award.

Last year, the State Fair contracted with a national promoter for the first time in recent history. Concert costs have escalated across the nation, motivating the Fair to seek professional services to book and promote its entertainment. Performers are guaranteed a minimum fee, which is paid by the Fair even if the concert is canceled due to inclement weather and tickets are refunded. Last year, the State Fair paid twice the amount it did five years ago for eleven nights of entertainment.

The RFP is now available on the Departmentís website at under the "Funding Opportunities" section.

2008 Press Releases