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Battery Park's green room is more than just a lounge for A-List talent
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Battery Park's green room is more than just a lounge for A-List talent


SIOUX CITY -- Inside the green room at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Missy Rarrat inspected a guitar-shaped box filled with such retro candies as Jolly Ranchers, Bit-O-Honey and Chick-O-Sticks.

She then turned her attention to a swag basket containing branded baby items including a T-shirt bearing the inscription "Milk, Naps & Rock and Roll."

"You've got to pay attention to the smallest detail," Rarrat explained. "Performers want to feel at home, even when they're on the road."

As Hard Rock's vibe manager, it is her job to make sure the casino's A-List talent are comfortable by the time they hit the Battery Park stage for an outdoor concert.

In less than 24 hours, opening act Ryan Hurd and, then, country music star Kane Brown made Battery Park history by packing in more than 7,000 concertgoers for the sold-out show.

"The countdown's definitely on," Rarrat said hours before. "You can feel the excitement in the air."


Already a Hard Rock vet who has been with the casino since it opened more than five years ago, Rarrat rattled off the names of artists who've headlined the popular Battery Park concert series.

She and her crew have tailored the green room to suit the needs of such diverse talents as Post Malone, Kesha and Willie Nelson. 

This time around, Rarrat made sure that Brown -- a singer-songwriter best known for such hits as "Baby Come Back To Me" and "What Ifs" -- had plenty of comfort food candies for himself and his crew.

Knowing that Brown is also traveling with his wife Katelyn Jae, Rarrat wanted to surprise the expectant couple with a basket full of Hard Rock-branded baby accessories. 

Adjacent to the space dedicated to Brown and separated by black drapery was a green room suited for Hurd, the concert's opening act.

An in-demand songwriter for such artists as Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan, Hurd has written songs like "Love in a Bar" and "Diamond or Twine," which he also performs.

Hurd's space was dominated by an oversize massage chair, that was the envy of Rarrat.

"I will admit to testing out the massage chair many times," she said with a grin. "I can attest that it is awesome."


When adapting the space for its temporary inhabitants, Rarrat relies on riders -- a set of backstage requirements an artist requests as a condition for their performance that is fulfilled by the concert venue.

Requests for special foods and drink are most common. However, other rider accommodations are much more quirky.

"Counting Crows specifically ask that dogs be allowed backstage at Battery Park," Rarrat remembered. "Being an animal lover myself, I knew I could accommodate that request."

Since then, Abe, Rarrat's own Bernese Mountain Dog, has become a regular at all Battery Park shows.

"If Abe isn't around, people will ask about him," she said as the dog snoozed on the floor. "This is why I bring him in."


While riders offer a blueprint for Rarrat, she still needs to be flexible for her star-powered guests.

That included picking up an emergency pair of eyeglasses for Elvis Costello and making a Target run to pick up toys for the children of country superstar Chris Stapleton.

"When you're a performer with kids, a concert bus or a backstage area, literally, is a home," Rarrat said. "Chris, his wife and kids hung out in their bus and the green room as if they were on vacation."

However, others prefer their hotel rooms to the Battery Park's green room.

"Some artists barely spend any time here," Rarrat admitted. "They're here right before they go on and that's it."

After all, there are more exciting places to hang out at Hard Rock than the backstage of a show, right?

"Oh yeah, Alanis Morissette wanted to gamble a bit and so did Post Malone," Rarrat said.

Plus Pitbull's bevy of dancers spent more time in the green room than "Mr. 305" himself. 


In case you were wondering, any backstage lounge in a theater is called a "green room." And at one point, many were painted green.

Most are not and that includes the one at Battery Park.

Instead, it retains the arched windows and the industrial look of Sioux City's former Battery Building.

"Cheap Trick's Robin Zander loved our green room because it looked nothing like any other green room in any Hard Rock around the world," Rarrat said.

That's important, she added, since a little Midwestern hospitality goes a long way, whether or not you're a A-Lister.

"Performers may not spent time in our green room," Rarrat said. "But between me and Abe, we try to make things as pleasant as possible."


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