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2015 Madison County Fair

Tuesday, July 7- Sunday, July 12
The Madison County Fair Board of Directors is excited
and proud to announce the entertainment for the Madison County Fair. 
Saturday, July 11th will feature Lee Brice
Sunday, July 12th, will feature Big and Rich
We are excited about these acts and look forward to another great year. 
Tickets go on sale May 2nd, 2015,  and fair dates are July 7-12, 2015.

Saturday, July 11 Entertainment


 Lee Brice is a craftsman, the kind whose boundless desire to hone his skills and relentless pursuit of perfection are matched only by his humility about the entire process. His new album, I Don't Dance, is a showcase for his painstaking approach to writing and recording, with his distinctive fingerprints clearly emblazoned on every element of the album. While Brice is now known as reliable charttopping Nashville hit-maker whose 2014 performance on the Academy of Country Music telecast —
where he picked up the trophy for “Song of the Year”— "stole the show" (USA Today), there was a time when he was only recognized for his work behind the scenes.

"I had success as a writer before I had success as an artist," says Brice, "so there's a misconception that I was a songwriter first and then started to sing my own songs later. But all along, I've really
always been writing for myself. When I started writing songs at ten years old, it was because I wanted to sing them, and when I came to Nashville, I came to be a songwriter and a singer. It's all one thing to me."

After relocating from his native South Carolina to Music City, the former Clemson lineman dove headfirst into his craft, writing on his own and with a slew of talented musicians he fell in with. He
found early success, with songs picked up by established artists like Jason Aldean and Keith Gattis. Though they may have been sung by other artists, those songs were stories from deep within Lee's own heart.

"'More Than A Memory' was a very personal song for me," he says of his breakout 2007 track. "I was thinking about keeping it for myself when Garth Brooks called, and that changed the whole dynamic."

It changed a whole lot of things. Brooks' recording of the track was the first single in the history of the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart to debut at #1. Lee's stock skyrocketed in Nashville, and that
same year, he signed with Curb Records and began laying the groundwork for his inexorable rise as a solo artist.

He released his debut album, Love Like Crazy, in 2009. The title track reached #3 on the Billboard Country chart and set a record as the longest-charting song in that chart's history. In 2012, he topped his own success with Hard 2 Love, an album that went Gold and featured three #1 Country singles, including "I Drive Your Truck," which won Song of the Year at both the CMA and ACM Awards. The record earned raves from NPR to Country Weekly and found the New York Times hailing him as "a sensitive macho man," a compliment that perfectly encapsulates both sides of Brice's persona. Hard 2 Love also garnered Lee his late-night debut, a stirring performance of "I Drive Your Truck" on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.”

"On my first record, I had all these ideas and sounds I didn't know how to get out of me," Brice remembers, crediting frequent collaborator Doug Johnson with helping him learn some of the early ropes of recording. "On Hard 2 Love, I figured out that I could really step out and try things in the studio, and if they don't work they don't work, but sometimes those ideas become the basis of how you record some tracks.”

Brice took it a step further on I Don't Dance, relishing the role of producer with a flair for experimentation as yet another way to mold and shape his songs to match the sounds he'd been
chasing in his head.

"I wanted to have control over every drumbeat, every lick of the bass part," he explains of his meticulous approach in the studio. "It was a lot of really sitting down and thinking about every little piece that goes into it."

Rather than approach the record as a whole entity, Brice listened to what each song called for and played to its strengths, allowing the warmth and presence of his personality to form the cohesive
thread that binds them all together. On the lighthearted summer anthem “Girls In Bikinis,” he built the track entirely from the ground up, playing every single instrument himself. The searing “Sirens,” on the other hand, was cut live and loud in the studio, with raw electric guitars and a banjo part that captured Brice's first time playing the instrument. Other tracks grew out of drum loops and studio experiments, inspired in part by his love of recent albums from Bruno Mars and Eminem. Live-showmoment “Drinking Class,” one of three songs on the album not written by Brice, taught him a valuable lesson about hearing what the music calls for.

"We had ideas to put a lot of electronic sounds in it," he explains, "but after we cut it, I had a feeling that this is really a song about the working class, and it needed those sounds, like chain gang stomps and claps and hums, and now I have a sledgehammer hitting a railroad tie on there. I changed everything about it to get it back to its roots. Sometimes you gotta go to a lot of the wrong places to get to the right places, and that's not wasted time. It takes that trip to get to where you're going."

"Panama City" is another track that took a circuitous journey to its final destination on the new album. Written by his good friend Chris Thompkins, the track first caught Brice's ear a decade ago when he heard a stripped-down arrangement of it on one of Thompkins' work tapes.

"I couldn’t imagine it being any different than what I heard on the work tape," says Brice. "I said we had to do it live because I didn't want to give myself the option of redoing vocals or piano or bringing in background singers later. They brought the piano out into the main room of Ocean Way Studios [in Nashville], which is an old church, and we took our headphones off, had no click tracks, no drums. It's like they did 50 years ago. We played it four times and the last time was perfect. I took it off the board exactly the way we recorded it and mastered it, and it's my favorite track on the record by far.”

Perhaps the most personal song on the album, though, is the title track, which Brice wrote for the first dance at his May 2013 wedding. As with so much of his work, the lyrics are inspired by his undying love for his wife, Sara, but they resonate with a huge audience. Top wedding website The Knot recently selected it for the "Dream Wedding" they threw for a pair of Boston Marathon bombing survivors.

"It's my favorite song I've ever written in my life," says Lee, "and I don’t know that that'll ever change."


Sunday, July 12


Big & Rich

    As Big & Rich, John Rich and Big Kenny Alphin have exerted a definite “gravitational pull” to the direction modern country music has taken.  Their much anticipated new project, “Gravity” provides a stellar example of the genius of their creative brotherhood--the result of two unique musical personalities colliding to form an even greater positive sum total. 

 From the vantage point of today’s career success, John notes:

     “When Kenny and I were first considering doing music together some 15 years ago, I can recall like it was yesterday him saying, ‘Man, we are like two individual planets— wouldn’t it be awesome to collide and smash the universe together,” he recalls.  “We definitely felt that creative gravitational pull from the beginning and I think it continues to translate into the music.”

     They are America's Technicolor cowboys, brothers-in-arms in service to the creed that great music has no boundaries. Individually, John and Big Kenny are first-rate musicians, songwriters, producers, entertainers—and now the creative force behind their own label imprint, Big & Rich Records. Together, they are one of the most truly original musical forces ever unleashed on a welcoming world.

     The new label is fueling even more passion to produce and present their music. “We now have the freedom to write songs, call our own shots and put every ounce of our guts, soul and DNA into music that we have complete creative control over—from creation to release schedule,” notes Kenny.  “We can bring the best gunslingers to the shoot out and know everyone is 100% committed to our success. From making the music to getting it out there to our audience, it’s a great place to be. As John says—we’re like wild horses that don’t do good in a stall—we’d rather be running the wild range.”

     As witnessed too by their new single, “Look At You,” their influence on their musical universe shows no signs of being eclipsed.  “The unusual twist of this lyric really makes the song stand-out, notes John. “It’s a Shannon Lawson co-write that dead-on nails the gut wrenching feeling of being that guy that loses the hot chick—something I think a lot of us guys can relate to.”

     Big & Rich have, of course, made a career of being relatable and musically relevant since exploding into the public consciousness in 2003 as the rarest of breeds—true country music game changers. With 2004’s triple-platinum Horse of a Different Color, they were able to tap into the best strands of a wide spectrum of popular music, filter them through their pens and voices and produce a sound that is instantly recognizable, if not classifiable.

 "You still can't really define what that sound is," says John. "Even we can't."

     It begins, of course, with that one-of-a-kind vocal blend, as unique and compelling as any in the history of the popular airwaves.

     "I listen to a lot of music and I haven't heard any two voices go together like this," says Kenny. "John and I can match each other anywhere. He can sing anything and I can make an entirely different melody around it, and vice versa."    

     If radio didn't fully know what to make of them at first, fans of every musical stripe did. They packed arenas with a flying circus of sight, sound and spectacle, a touring renaissance fair of the mind, complete with raised glasses and danceable beats.   
     With a much anticipated new studio album that finds them at the top of their creative game, their live performances find them at their hell-raising best, with crowds as intense and appreciative as any they've ever faced.       

     "It seems like when you put John and Kenny together and we become Big & Rich, it's like Clark Kent walking into the phone booth and coming out a superman," says John. "We can't explain it. It's like a chemical reaction between Kenny and me on stage, something you can feel there. It's funny to think about but it's really true, we walk out on stage and start laying into this thing, the energy goes back and forth between us and the crowd and it's palpable."      

     They are, in addition to everything musical, noted philanthropists and good-will ambassadors. Both remain committed and enthusiastic livers of life and givers of time, talent and fortune to great causes. Kenny has become a world traveler, fighting poverty and supporting education through agencies including the United Nations Foundation and the Red Cross from North America to Africa. John takes part in any number of charitable outreaches, and his win on The Celebrity Apprentice brought well over a million dollars to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Those things go to the core of two men whose music and worldviews intersect seamlessly.   
     "We continue to try to inspire," says Kenny. "We just try to be ourselves in a world that sometimes insinuates you shouldn't go outside the boundaries. And now the fact that we've got the family thing going on has made a tremendous difference for both of us, but we're still the same guys. I think life in general moves you forward in a positive way if you let it. Our relationship has grown more positively here than you could ever imagine. I think we just continue to grow, to respect each other more and more and respect the kind of ability we have when we're singing together."     
     "We both have a lot of things that we do creatively," adds John, "but there's been something magical about this since the beginning. As good as we are at what we do separately; neither of us is as good as Big & Rich are together. The Big & Rich thing is like a new color in the crayon box."     
     "No question in my mind," says Kenny, "that we have put forward as high quality music as we can do. And we believe we just keep getting better."


Tickets on sale May 2nd only until noon or until they are sold out.
Ticket outlets on day of sale are: Sew It Seams in NG; Goody’s in BC, Subs and Suds in Tilden, Sportsman’s in MG,
Renegade in Norfolk. Tickets at the outlets are general admission or concert only tickets and will be sold at those locations from
8 a.m. until noon or until sold out whichever comes first. All reserved tickets need to be purchased at the fair office in Madison.
Credit cards welcome, can call 402-454-2144 or stop by between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Madison County Fair Office (402) 454-2144.
Credit Cards Accepted

(General Admission - No Reserved Seating)
For one low price of $40, you may purchase a GENERAL SEATING FUNPASS, entitling you to attend the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Mid-States Rodeo, Saturday evening performance of Lee Brice, Sunday Noon Barbecue, and Sunday evening performance of Big and Rich. With this FUNPASS, children age 5 and under are FREE.

(Reserved Seating)
For one low price of $50, you may purchase a RESERVED SEATING FUNPASS, entitling you to attend the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Rodeo, Saturday evening performance of Lee Brice, Sunday Noon Barbecue, and Sunday evening performance of Big and Rich. RESERVED SEATING FUNPASS will allow you to have reserved seating for ALL rodeo and concert performances. All persons seated in the RESERVED GRANDSTAND MUST purchase a ticket.

Daily Rodeo Admission Tickets will go on sale at 6:00 pm based upon availability.
Prices of general admission tickets are as follows:
Rodeo $7 for general admission and $10 for reserved
(based on availability).

Concert-Only tickets are available at the Fair Office, (402) 454-2144. Concert-Only Tickets may either be purchased as a Concert Only Funpass with 1 Lee Brice General Admission Ticket and 1 Big and Rich General Admission Ticket for $30. Or you may purchase one of either night’s performers for $30. After July 7 all General Admission Concert Only Ticket will be $30 each per night.




Reservations for 4-H families beginning May 11th from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
and 8:00 a.m. May 18th for the general public

Camp sites - sites available with full hookup and some with water and electricity,
dump site on grounds

Long term parking available at reduced rate

(Campsites are available throughout the year — call the Fair Office for details)

Madison County Fairgrounds Map

Fairgrounds Map
  1. Horse Stalls & Barn
  2. Beef Tie Rails
  3. Sheep Pens
  4. Indoor Livestock Show Arena
  5. Swine Pens
  6. Playground
  7. Small Pets Building
  8. Restrooms
  9. 4-H Offices
  10. Commercial Building
  11. 4-H Building
  12. Kids Zone Building
  13. Concession Hall
  14. Open Class Building
  15. Activity Center
  16. Ticket Office
  17. First Aid Station
  18. Grandstand - Reserved Seating
  19. Grandstand Rodeo Arena
  20. Rodeo Chutes & Pens
  21. General Admission Seating
  22. Concert Stage - General Admission Seating During Rodeo
  23. Beer Garden
  24. East Horse Arena
  25. Commercial Parking
  26. Carnival/Midway Area

Madison County Fair History

Early picture of Madison County Fair - Date Unknown.

Early picture of Madison County Fair - Date Unknown.

The Madison County Fair was started in 1873 at the First Presbyterian Church on the corner of third and Main. On March 2, 1874 those interested in the Madison County Agricultural Society met to make plans for the second Madison County Fair and to better organize. Section 8 of the regulations governing the society was amended to require parties competing to pay $1.00 and thus become members in the society and secure funds to conduct the fair. They secured twenty-three members. A committee was then formed to prepare a track for the exhibition of trotting and running stock. It was then decided to hold the fair at Madison, Nebraska. The Fair was conducted mostly by volunteers.

The Madison County Ag Society membership elected to carry out the fair was called "The Fair Board" for many years. It is now called the Board of Directors and all registered voters are considered a member of the Madison County Ag Society. Any of the registered voters may run for a seat on the Board of Directors and vote. There are five voted on each year to serve a term of three years, they may re-run if they so wish. The Board of Directors of the Madison County Ag Society now number fifteen members. They donate their time, energy and talents to produce one of the best fairs and rodeos in the State of Nebraska.
The fair was held in the downtown area until 1882. After tornadoes and a big fire hampered the events in the downtown area, they moved to the Pete Barnes farm, (now the Gary White farm) and held the events in a meadow. The 4-H groups and schools were beginning to become active participants and volunteers in participating and helping with the fair.

In 1885 a group of Madison citizens known as the Madison Driving Park Association, incorporated for the purpose of purchasing 25 acres in the northwest part of Madison (part of the present day fairgrounds) for use as the County Fairgrounds and leased it to the Madison County Ag Society (MCAS). It also built a trotting horse race track, which until the late 1930's was a part of the fair attraction. Madison Downs then began with horse racing. The racing program was separated from the fair until attendance fell off. Horse racing came to an end in 1971. The MCAS then became the main supporter of events. They incorporated and started meeting once each month and still do to this day.

The Fairgrounds were used for other events throughout the year, the school rented it for an athletic field; buildings were rented to organizations and family groups for meetings, reunions etc. In the 1930's, the Army leased some of the grounds to build a CCC Camp, which, in 1943 were returned to the MCAS by the Army. They were then utilized for use as 4-H horse barns for the fair and rented out for stables in the winters. (These were later torn down and a multipurpose livestock barn with inside arena was built. (One of the original barns is still used).

In the last years of the races the Madison Downs group authorized the Madison Jaycees to use the fairgrounds for a Rodeo. In 1998 upon expiration of the original contract with the Jaycees, MCAS took over the rodeo. To this day the rodeo is a main attraction for the Madison County Fair. National entertainment artists have been featured at the fair as well. The 4-H Clubs all have exhibits and livestock shows they participate in during the fair. The schools also display student artwork during the fair. A large fireworks finale was began in 1996 and has become a tradition. The carnival during the fair was first introduced in early 1900 and is still a main attraction. During the day there are all kinds of action: contests and shows, turtle races, ice cream eating contest, etc. to draw everyone's interest. The Fair and Rodeo is usually held in the month of July.

The Madison County Fairgrounds have grown from 25 acres and a few old houses to 75 acres and many modern updated buildings - 3 arenas (two outside and one large inside one), beef, horse, sheep, swine, and small animal housing with electricity, lights, plugs for grooming animals, and wash racks. It has plenty of parking with shuttle service to and from the parking areas to the main entrance. A camping area is available for those that was to stay all week during the fair and for camper tours etc. Restrooms are modern; two have showers with hot water. In 1995 a large fair office and boardroom were constructed. Additional facilities include: an Open Air building, concession stand, nearly new grandstands, and the Octagon Building (older historic building that was called the center building. It was built sometime in the mid 1800's). The grounds, buildings, and arenas are rented out and used year-round.

The 133rd Annual Madison County Fair will again be the host to well over 50,000 fairgoers this year. Attendance at the Fair has grown from a crowd of 50 to 60 people in 1873 to over 50,000 during the week in 2000.


Fairgrounds Events

Click on an event on the calendar to show a complete description.
You can click on the agenda tab to get a quick view of all upcoming events.

Buildings Available

The Madison County Fair Board invites you to take a look at the buildings available for your event planning needs.

Commercial Building

Commercial Exhibit Hall

Seats 400-800 people
(depending on table and chair setup)
Heat and Air Conditioning
Large kitchen with serving window
Rent: $250.00

See images from a wedding rental!

4H Building

4-H Building

Kitchen with serving window
Seats 200-400 people
(depending on table and chair setup)
Rent: $200.00

No Image Available


McLeb Meeting Room

Heat and Air
Kitchen with serving window
Seats 50-75 people
Rent: $75.00


Indoor Arena

Indoor Arena

70' x 150'
Indoor seating for 400+

Activity Center

Activity Center

Outdoor area - concrete floor - covered roof
Picnic tables available
Stage available
Power for bands and etc.
Rent: $75.00

No Image Available


Dump site on grounds
20 sites with sewer, power & water
20 sites with electricity only
66 sites with water and electricity
Long term parking available at reduced rate


Grand Champions

Category Champion Name Hometown

Madison County Fair Survey

We at the Fair Board want to make the Madison County Fair an event you visit year after year!
We can do that with your comments and suggestions.

Please fill in the short survey below.

*Name: *Zip Code: *Email:

How did you hear about the Madison County Fair? (please check all that apply)

Visiting the Area
Word of Mouth
Community Papers

How many years have you been coming to the Madison County Fair?

How many times per year do you visit the grounds for events?

How many days during the fair do you attend?

How many people come with you?

What do you like about the Fair?

Grandstand Entertainment:


Madison County Fair Comments

To help the Fair Board better plan the Madison County Fair,
we welcome any comments or suggestions that you would like to offer...

Please fill in the box below:



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