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Journey, Kid Rock bring the beat to Tampa

While a mix of celebrities and high-profile political players are poised to bring some star power to Tampa, Fla., for the Republican National Convention, 2012 seems to be the year of the musical act.

A litany of big-name performers — including Journey and Kid Rock — will rock the socks off convention-goers.

Kid Rock, who has dabbled in both country and rap music, is slated to entertain crowds on Wednesday at a Liberty Plaza shindig called the “Rock the House Party.”

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Although he’s playing at the GOP convention, the 41-year-old singer and songwriter has previously nixed getting involved with politics. Rock told “CMT Insider” in 2008, “I truly believe that people like myself, who are in a position of entertainers in the limelight, should keep their mouth shut on politics.” Kid Rock’s song “Born Free” has been a staple at Mitt Romney campaign events.

Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd had been scheduled to bring a bit of the heart of Dixie to Tampa on Sunday night, but the band cancelled their appearance amid concerns about tropical storm Isaac, which forced convention organizers to cancel Monday’s events. 

But with the storm now appearing headed towards the Gulf coast and delegates pouring into Tampa, other musical acts are still planning to perform.

Deep-voiced country music star Trace Adkins will take the stage on Tuesday in a concert sponsored by Citizens United. The “Celebrity Apprentice” finalist is behind a string of hits, including “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and “Ladies Love Country Boys.”

Wyclef Jean — who once dubbed himself an “Obama groupie” — is headlining a Wednesday concert held by the veterans’ nonprofit Got Your 6 and Lifetime Television. Blogger Meghan McCain, who made the convention rounds just four years ago when her dad, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), ran for president, is set to sign copies of her book,  America, You Sexy Bitch, at a Glazer Museum event.

Believe it or not, the list of household name musicians headed to the convention doesn’t end there — rock band Journey, of “Don’t Stop Believin’” fame, is set to perform at Liberty Plaza on Thursday for a VIP show co-sponsored by The Creative Coalition. The band’s booking could mean a sighting of Journey guitarist Neal Schon’s girlfriend, Michaele Salahi, who famously crashed a 2009 White House state dinner with then-husband Tareq (and who has never encountered a camera she didn’t like).

Other musicians expected at the GOP convention include Rodney Atkins, Blues Traveler, Drive-By Truckers, Big Head Todd, Gregg Allman and Friends, Better Than Ezra, the Zac Brown Band and DJ Steve Aoki. The Oak Ridge Boys will sing the national anthem on Monday.

Beyond groups that can bust out a tune, a slew of celebrities will also be among the crowds in Tampa.

Not usually seen in Republican circles, former presidential daughter and NBC correspondent Chelsea Clinton will serve as co-moderator at a Wednesday panel called “Conversations with the Next Generation.” MTV star and documentary filmmaker Andrew Jenks, along with George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), are among the guests who will participate in the event, held by National Journal, The Atlantic and Microsoft.

Former game show host Chuck Woolery will co-host a Monday event on young voters with former Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell.

“Northern Exposure” actress Janine Turner, well-known for her conservative politics, will speak at the convention on Tuesday.