State fair brings Alaskan acts back home
If fried food, lumberjack shows and giant cabbages won’t satiate your appetite at the Alaska State Fair, the music will. With more than a dozen performances each day, there is something for everyone.
“I’m a musician myself, so music is very important in my life,” said Ursula Gould, who has been coming to the fair since the ’80s. “I like all of the different styles of music that they have here. It’s wonderful — it’s therapeutic.”
On Wednesday, two of the bands performing had roots in the Valley. The headliner, Portugal. The Man, got its start at Wasilla High School.
“Coming back and playing for our family, friends and loved ones is more special than playing anywhere else,” said Zach Carothers, the bassist and co-founder of Portugal. The Man.
He says that while the band is now based in Portland, Ore., they continue to draw inspiration from their time in Alaska.
“This place is like no other. The beauty, isolation and the sense of community that you have here… there’s a very strong connection between people,” Carothers said. “There’s not a lot of us in so much space, so that’s what gave us the room to think how we do.”
Another popular act at the fair, Redhead Express, is from the Valley. Sisters LaRae, Alisa, Meghan and Kendra Walker all grew up in Palmer before forming the band in 2007.
“Alaska is a really cold, wild place. It makes hearty people. So I think that’s what helped us learn the work ethic,” LaRae said. “It’s a lot of work… Alaska’s very much a part of us.”
Kendra says Alaska is an excellent place to be exposed to different kinds of music.
“The musical influences here are so broad because there’s such a mix of people,” she said.
The state fair runs through Monday, Sept. 7. You can find a list of different musical performances here.