If you’re looking for unique items at the Minnesota State Fair, Rockabilia might be the place to find it.
Founded in 1987, Rockabilia creates apparel, home decor, and accessories with printed designs of your favorite band.
This year Rockabilia is bringing exclusive Minnesota-themed items to The Minnesota State Fair. From Amon Amarth, Elvis Presley, Guns N’ Roses, KISS, Metallica, Pantera and The Rolling Stones, there’s something for every music fan.
Partnering and licensing with the musical artists themselves is what allows Rockabilia to create custom merchandise using logos and names from these iconic bands.
We interviewed Frankie at Rockabilia to learn more about what to expect at their booth.
What can fans expect to find at your booth?
As soon as we decided to do the Fair, I knew I wanted the merchandise to be special.
You can order from our site 24/7/365, and we also have a lot of competition out there when it comes to band merch, so I didn’t really see any point in even doing it unless I could get merchandise made specially for us at this event.
There’s a ton of state pride that exists within Minnesotans, and you see that especially at the State Fair. So I had this idea to put a MN spin on all the new exclusive merch we’d be selling, like old Minnesota concert throwback tees.
The response was honestly overwhelming. So many people came to our booth last year to tell us they were at that specific Pink Floyd show in 1988 at the Metrodome for example, and we’d hear all these crazy stories all day every day from fans that were there.
We even talked to some people that were at The Beatles show in Bloomington in 1965! Just crazy stuff.
I also worked with the Elvis Presley estate on a couple new gig posters for two shows that Elvis Presley played on the same day in the Twin Cities all the way back in 1956.
The guy I hired to design those is a well-known art deco pop culture artist named Steve Thomas, who also just so happens to live in Minnesota.
Everything we sell out there has to have a Minnesota connection, in my opinion, even down to the artists I commissioned. We even have this new print out there for the band Amon Amarth, who is a very popular Viking-themed death metal band from Sweden.
They just came out with a new album earlier this month, and the first single was written for an AEW wrestler named Erick Redbeard, who believe it or not…lives in Minnesota.
So I worked with them to develop a cool new poster for Erick to come out and sign at our booth. I would never have thought to bring an Amon Amarth item out to the Fair as it’s a pretty obscure band for the general population, but the Minnesota connection was just too cool and crazy NOT to do it. It’s a small world.
What’s your personal favorite item you’re selling at the Fair this year?
The limited edition Metallica print for their April 21, 1989, Damaged Justice Tour gig in Minneapolis. I asked my tattoo artist friend Brandon Holt to do that one, and he absolutely killed all expectations.
It’s seriously just an insane work of art. We only made 300 of them to keep it really special too. They’re hand-numbered and signed, and the response has been huge.
The band loved the art so much that they approved it before Brandon even finished the piece, which is very rare in our business…especially with a band as big as Metallica.
Any bands or items you couldn’t get your hands on for this?
Yes. The Replacements! I’ve tried two years in a row now, and no luck. It’s our most requested band out there by far. If you’re reading this, Paul…call me!
Being an e-commerce company, what made you decide to sell at the Minnesota State Fair?
A buddy of mine who owns a local sports memorabilia store in a couple of malls here called Fan HQ approached me in 2019 about an idea to combine our two companies and sell band merch at the Fair under the name Rock HQ.
We did a Rockabilia pop-up shop at one of his locations previously and were looking at a way to go “bigger” together locally.
He had been doing the Fair for years already, so he had an “in” for the pitch, which we did at the beginning of 2020, and it went great.
But then COVID hit, and obviously, the Fair was canceled that year. But then they called us in April ’21, and although they turned down the joint venture, they offered us a spot to do it solo under the Rockabilia umbrella.
Honestly, we had really mixed feelings about it at first. Since we are an online company that ships worldwide, we’ve never really felt the need to be known as a “local” company or anything.
But being that we’re in Minnesota, obviously, we know firsthand just how massive the State Fair really is.
I mean, companies can sometimes wait 10 years on their waiting list just to be told “no” in the end, so we knew how big of a deal it was that they invited us after just one meeting.
Any plans to do more in-person events?
Definitely. Post-COVID, I think people are really craving these unique physical retail experiences, filled with exclusive items you can only get by attending.
Obviously, our site is who we are at our core, but I want to keep doing live events just to keep building our audience and bring in different kinds of people.
Our biggest customer bases are in New York and Southern California, so we’re for sure planning to make appearances in both of those markets.
End of interview
Rockabilia has shipped its products worldwide from its warehouse in Chanhassen, MN, since 1987, and is the largest independently owned band merch company in the US.
To buy merchandise from Rockabilia, you can visit their location at the Minnesota State Fair, or visit view their merchandise online!