The State Fair of Texas can get pricey if you sample a bunch of guilty pleasures from the countless food and drink vendors. Sampling the music, on the other hand, won't cost you a dime.
All live music at the State Fair is free with regular admission, and there's an abundance of it on stages scattered around Fair Park. Music acts on the smaller stages run the gamut, from the U.S. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, who perform daily through Oct. 9, to zydeco accordionist Chubby Carrier and his Bayou Swamp Band, who play daily through Oct. 6.
But most of the best-known musicians perform at the massive Chevrolet Main Stage, which can accommodate thousands of concert-goers. Here are five Main Stage acts worth catching from across the musical spectrum.
Sept. 29 at 8:30 p.m.
In early 2017, the Arlington singer-songwriter won a well-deserved Grammy for "My Church," her gospel-drenched tribute to Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Sr. and other musicians who've inspired her. Expect to hear that tune along with a slew of tunes from Hero, her eclectic 2016 major label debut. Morris may be a disciple of classic country, but her style incorporates everything from hip-hop ("Sugar") to peppy pop-rock ("80s Mercedes").
Flo Rida with Macy Kate
Sept. 30 at 8:30 p.m.
Flo Rida -- the nom du rap of the Sunshine State's Tramar Dillard -- emerged as one of the best-selling hip-hop acts of the late '00s thanks to ear worms like "Low," his lust letter to a freak-dancing fox. A child of the '80s, Flo Rida often weaves snippets of hits from that decade into his own songs, including "Run" (which borrows from Bryan Adams' "Run to You") and "Right Round," which takes its melody from Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Around (Like a Record)." He hasn't released an album since 2012, but don't be surprised to hear a few new tunes like "Cake" and "Game Time." Flo Rida will get an onstage assist from Macy Kate, a fan favorite from ABC's short-lived competition show Rising Star.
Oct. 1 at 5:30 p.m.
Houston's La Mafia has been a kingpin in the Texas Latin music scene for nearly four decades. Formed in 1980, the band hit it big in the '90s with its genial mix of love ballads and Tejano dance tunes, including "Un Millon de Rosas" and "En Tus Manos," which each won a Grammy for best Mexican-American/Tejano performance. Led by founding members Oscar De La Rosa (vocals) and Armando Lichtenberger Jr. (keyboard/accordion), La Mafia returned from a six-year hiatus in 2014.
Oct. 8 at 5:30 p.m.
The vocal trio is most famous for its own hits from the early '90s, like "Hold On," "Release Me" and "You're In Love." But it's also well-known for interpreting others' songs, including tunes plucked from its sizable family tree, like "In My Room," written by Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson, the father of Wilson Phillips members Carnie and Wendy Wilson. The trio also performs "California Dreaming," a hit for Chynna Phillips' mom and dad, Michelle and John Phillips of the Mamas & the Papas.
Charlie Daniels Band
Oct. 15 at 5:30 p.m.
Still rocking at age 80, Daniels continues to sing, fiddle up a storm and crank out guitar solos on his sunburst Gibson Les Paul. He's done a little bit of everything during his long career, from recording with Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen to writing '70s classics like "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" and the counterculture hit "Uneasy Rider." In 1989, he won the hearts of far right-leaning fans with "Simple Man," the story of an angry, Bible-thumping anti-hero who thinks all criminals should be executed. But mostly, Daniels takes a non-partisan approach to Southern pride in tunes like "Redneck Fiddlin' Man" and "The South's Gonna Do It Again," his ode to the region's rich rock 'n' roll heritage.
Thor Christensen is a Dallas writer and critic.