Shortage of Capitol: Label Won’t Showcase at Fan Fair This Year

For the first time in memory, Capitol Records will not present a roster showcase at this year’s International Country Music Fan Fair, June 12-16 at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. Home to Garth Brooks, Trace Adkins and Steve Wariner, among others, Capitol traditionally has held down the Wednesday morning slot. At past Fan Fairs, the Capitol show included highlights such as surprise visits by Willie Nelson (when the label was known briefly as Liberty Records) and by Brooks, who joined Wariner on stage in 1998. This year’s Fan Fair schedule has been turned topsy-turvy, however, the result of music industry consolidation and the repositioning, from Monday to Thursday night, of Country Music Weekly Presents: The TNN Music Awards. CMA officials have given Capitol’s Wednesday a.m. slot to Lyric Street and DreamWorks, labels distributed by Universal. Universal’s major labels, Mercury and MCA, hold their showcases on Tuesday afternoon and Tuesday evening, respectively. Universal brass who fly in for the event can see the company’s entire roster with an overnight stay. Reassigned to a Thursday morning slot adjacent to Virgin Records, its sister label in the EMI family, Capitol decided not to mount a show this year, since the new date created scheduling conflicts for some artists on the Capitol roster. While some Capitol artists will participate in Fan Fair in other ways, there’s no word yet on whether Brooks will be involved this year. “A lot of that,” says Capitol spokeswoman Karen Byrd, “will depend on how spring training goes, but we haven’t discussed it.”