The entertainment for the 2011 Benton Franklin Fair and Rodeo has been announced! Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Bret Michaels, Kenny Rogers, Blue Oyster Cult and Lee Brice! Tickets go on sale at 8 am on Saturday, April 30th at the Fair Office in Kennewick. Reserved seats are only $15. Tickets must be purchased in person at that time. Online sales will begin at 12pm on Saturday, April 30th.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Tuesday, August 23rd

Joan Jett’s icon status as a pop culture symbol of what women can achieve continues to grow throughout the world. “Fit To Be Tied” is Joan’s first greatest hits CD, (out on Mercury) to the delight of all her fans. With a new Joan Jett and the Blackhearts album due on Warners in the fall, a Runaways retrospective due, and and a role in the film “Boogie Boy” by Pulp Fiction alums Craig Hamann and Roger Avary, Joan Jett is poised on a unique historic moment to honor her past and celebrate her future.

Joan, perhaps the first female artist to own her own record label, has expanded that part of her universe by joining forces with her original record company, Mercury/Universal, to distribute Blackheart Records through a major label for the first time and to revitalize the already impressive catalog sales of The Runaways, by retooling and reconfiguring the works of Mercury’s original “bad girl” rock & roll band.

Along with the Blackhearts, longtime drummer-Thommy Price, guitarist-Doug Cangialosi and bass player-Sean Koos, Joan has almost completed ”Friend to Friend”, an album of deep thoughts and hit tunes further enriched by the one/two punch of producers Ted Templeman and Kenny Laguna. Joining the fun are old friends like legendary songwriter Jim Vallance and new friends like riot grrrl queen, Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill.

The Blackhearts recently contributed a track to the Iggy Pop tribute album to benefit Lifebeat, a music industry aids charity. Joan’s interest in charity and women’s causes allowed her to express her support of women’s college basketball by rocking up “The Mary Tyler Moore” theme song, “Love Is All Around”, which became an anthem and instant hit record.

Bret Michaels
Wednesday, August 24th

Bret Michaels is, if nothing else, a true survivor. He has survived a lifelong battle as an insulin dependent diabetic, a well publicized near fatal car crash in 1994 and the countless musical trends and fads of the last two decades.

"As soon as I ever start to just go through the motions I'll quit," confessed the 45 year old singer, songwriter, producer, director and actor in a recent interview. But there's little chance he'll even slow down let alone quit anytime soon. In fact, after more than 20 years in the business this award winning, multi platinum superstar's career continues to move at warp speed.

As front man for the legendary rock band Poison, Michaels has sold 25 million records and scored an amazing 15 chartbusting Top 40 singles including "Talk Dirty to Me," "Something to Believe In," "Nothing But a Good Time" and the timeless #1 smash "Every Rose Has its Thorn."

And in the new millennium Poison's music has been featured in such big screen flicks as "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," "Grandma's Boy" and "Deuce Bigelow-European Gigolo." They continue to be one of the industry's top grossing concert attractions and their 2006 "20 Years of Rock" CD was a bona fide Top 20 gold smash. Poison's most recent CD is 2007's "Poison'D" an album of cover songs that have influenced the band members over the years.

Kenny Rogers
Thursday, August 25th

It took several tries before Kenny Rogers became a star. As a member of the First Edition (and the New Christy Minstrels before that), he shared in some million-sellers, among them "Reuben James" and "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town," an excellent Mel Tillis song about a disabled veteran. But superstardom lay ahead for this Texan, and it arrived in the late '70s. His experience with the two previous pop groups had prepared him well: he knew the easy listening audience was out there, and he supplied them with well done middle-of-the-road songs with a country flavor. Having gone solo, in 1976 Rogers charted with "Love Lifted Me." But it was with an outstanding song by writers Roger Bowling and Hal Bynum, "Lucille," that his star shot upward.

The rest (as they say) is history: award-winning duets with Dottie West and Dolly Parton, 12 TV specials, another song of the year with "The Gambler," "Daytime Friends," "Coward of the County," "We've Got Tonight," "Crazy," "Lady" (his first pop number one), etc., etc., etc. And that's just the musical side of Rogers. In 1980, the made-for-TV movie The Gambler blasted the competition, followed quickly by Coward of the County, then enough sequels to The Gambler to get him to Roman numeral IV. Throughout the '80s, Rogers remained a celebrity, even when his sales were declining. Even during the '90s, when he rarely charted, his name, face, and music were recognizable in a series of concerts, television specials, films, and even fast-food restaurants.

Throughout the late '80s and '90s, Rogers kept busy with charity work, concerts, his fast-food chain Kenny Rogers' Roasters, television specials, movies, and photography, publishing no less than two books, Kenny Rogers' America and Kenny Rogers: Your Friends and Mine, of his photos. Rogers continued to record, releasing albums nearly every year, but they failed to break beyond his large, devoted fan base and only made a slight impact on the charts. With 1998's Christmas from the Heart, he established his own record label, Dreamcatcher; She Rides Wild Horses followed a year later, and There You Go Again was issued in mid-2000. A&E Live by Request appeared in 2001, followed by Back to the Well in 2003, Me & Bobby McGee in 2004, and Water & Bridges in 2006.

Blue Öyster Cult
Friday, August 26th

Spanning three decades, Blue Öyster Cult has a long and interesting history. The band got its start in the late '60s on Long Island, New York, as the Soft White Underbelly, before ending up in the "right place at the right time" to create the beginnings of Blue Öyster Cult.

Long Island native Donald Roeser and Albert Bouchard (of Watertown, New York) met at Clarkson College, in Potsdam, NY. The two were introduced by a mutual friend, Bruce Abbott (who later co-authored "Golden Age of Leather" with Donald). With Abbott and two other friends, they formed "The Disciples" and played college parties and local beer halls. The next year, the band reformed and played the same circuits as "Travesty" (named after the Blues Project album). Through all this, their studies fell by the wayside, and both Albert and Donald decided to quit college to concentrate on playing music full-time.

Eventually "Travesty" broke up and Donald and Albert paths separated for a while. Donald met Sandy Pearlman, a pioneering voice of rock criticism, who with his friend, Richard Meltzer, were contributors to the seminal magazine "Crawdaddy!," the first magazine dedicated to the analysis of rock music and its culture.

Allen Lanier then came into the fold by way of guitarist John Wiesenthal. An old house near Stony Brook College became ground zero for the formative band, and casual jams with whomever happened to be hanging around began to turn into rehearsals with a core band, which included Wiesenthal, Donald, Albert, Allen and Andrew Winters, a school friend of Donald. It was 1967.

In 1970, the band's name was changed to the Blue Oyster Cult, a name suggested by Richard Meltzer to Sandy Pearlman. The name comes from the famous Long Island "Blue Point Oysters." The umlaut was added later which started the trend for using the "heavy metal umlaut" in band names.

At a time when the heavy metal was starting to seem tired, Blue Öyster Cult released records that combined powerful music and intelligent and funny lyrics. A steady flow of albums with great songs, like "Burnin' for You", "Godzilla", "The Red And The Black", "This Ain't The Summer of Love", "Astronomy", "Black Blade", "Flaming Telepaths", and "(Don't Fear) The Reaper".

In 1998, the BÖC released Heaven Forbid, to fine reviews, particularly of the track, "Harvest Moon". Curse of the Hidden Mirror followed in 2001.

Their motto "On Tour Forever" still holds, as the band plays over 100 dates per year. Most fans feel the band sounds better than ever and that the musical maturity and skill combined with over three decades of playing together has made BÖC a prime example of rock and roll at its best.

Lee Brice
Saturday, August 27th

Country singer and songwriter Lee Brice walks a path between traditional honky tonk sounds and contemporary rock & roll; as Brice puts it, his music sounds like what would happen if Hank Williams, Jr. and John Mayer had a love child.

Brice was born in Sumter, a small town in South Carolina, where he was raised on the gospel songs his family would sing in church. At the age of seven, Brice began learning the piano, and at ten he started writing his own songs, soaking up the influences of his father's country LPs by Alabama and the Oak Ridge Boys. It wasn't until Brice enrolled in high school (where he won the school talent contest three years in a row) that he was exposed to rock & roll, and he began developing a taste for a broader variety of music; he also found a role model in chart-topping Nashville star Garth Brooks. Brice had a talent for football, and he attended Clemson University on a gridiron scholarship, but when an arm injury spoiled his ability to pass the ball, Brice decided that music rather than civil engineering was where his true passion lay, and he moved to Nashville on the advice of Doug Johnson, who would sign Brice to a publishing contract when he became an A&R man at Curb Records.

Some of Brice's songs were recorded by Jason Aldean, Cowboy Crush, and Keith Gattis, but he didn't lose his dream of recording his own material, and in the fall of 2007 he released his first album, Picture of Me, which included the single "She Ain't Right." Another career boost for Brice came in 2007 when Garth Brooks recorded his song "More Than a Memory" as one of four new tunes appearing on Ultimate Hits, a career-spanning compilation that featured Brooks' first new recordings since 2001.

BF Fair & Rodeo 2011