After years of saying no to performing at the grandstand, Prince is likely to have a big presence at the Minnesota State Fair in 2020.
The late rock star’s estate is planning “Paisley Park in Your Heart 2020,” an open-air exhibit with Prince artifacts, merchandise and nightly performances on a stage shaped like his glyph.
Plans for the 80-by-80-foot project in the North End were unveiled at a small private event Friday at the fairgrounds attended by Prince’s siblings Tyka Nelson and Omarr Baker, Paisley Park executive Kirk Johnson and Minneapolis City Council Member Phillipe Cunningham, among others.
“We’re planning to honor him in a big way at the fair next year,” said Monique Linder of OMG Digital Media Solutions, who is spearheading the venture.
The fair is excited, too, especially to add an attraction to the burgeoning North End.
Renee Alexander, the fair’s deputy general manager for entertainment and marketing, had long had Prince on her wish list for the grandstand and even extended offers on a few occasions, but he never agreed. He died in 2016.
At the small event on Friday, Prince’s siblings spoke of his love of the Great Minnesota Get-Together.
“He went to the fair a lot,” Linder said in an interview Saturday.
For the past four or five years, Minneapolis-based Linder has been a consultant to the fair on diversity marketing. She consulted with Prince on and off since working on his Club 3121 in Las Vegas in 2006-07.
Linder enlisted DJR Architecture of Minneapolis to create plans for the space on the fairgrounds at the corner of Underwood Street and W. Hoyt Avenue, next to the Hangar.
DJR prepared a virtual-reality presentation and artist renderings of the project.
The drawings depict Corvettes surrounding the exhibit, though they were not necessarily red because everything was in shades of purple.
Linder described it as open-air space with a fabric roof suggesting doves flying.
Artifacts and memorabilia from Paisley Park would be on display, and Prince souvenirs would be for sale.
Linder’s staff, not the fair, would book live music. The project would have a green room for the musicians.
The enterprise has been approved by Prince’s heirs and Comerica Bank and Trust, the administrator of his estate.
Discussions about this endeavor at the fair began in fall 2018. Alexander encouraged Linder to assemble a project that could be presented in other venues besides the fair.
At this point, Linder is trying to find partners to fund the $500,000 enterprise.
As Alexander likes to say, “we provide the canvas, you provide the paint.”
But she thinks Prince belongs at the Great Minnesota Get-Together.
“If you’re going to honor him and celebrate his legacy and have a presence outside of Paisley Park,” Alexander said, “what better place than the State Fair?”