Twenty-five years is a remarkably long time to arrange an annual music festival, so it's only fitting for the headlining act at this year's Saturday in the Park to be someone just as extraordinary -- the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.
Franklin was one of four other acts announced by Saturday in the Park organizer Dave Bernstein last week during a press conference on the Anthem stage in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Foster the People, a fellow headliner, and Gogol Bordello and North Mississippi Allstars are all scheduled to perform at the free Sioux City music festival on the Fourth of July.
The three remaining opening acts will be announced at a later date.
Bernstein said when he and the rest of the Saturday in the Park committee started the festival in 1991, the concept of "25 years later" had not been on anybody's mind. He credits the Siouxland community for Saturday in the Park's longevity.
"The funding [and] the ability to raise the funding to present world-class artists is solely attributable to the community," said Bernstein. "It's not just about what we book or whatever, it's about the ability to support it with the community first, along with the committee that we have and all the volunteers in the past and present."
This year (in addition to being funded by long-time sponsor Great Southern Bank) Saturday in the Park will partner with the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
"Clearly, their focus on music and live music... is highly obvious," said Bernstein. "They've gone way above and beyond what anyone expected. The partnership with the Hard Rock is going to be excellent. There are so many commonalities in what we both do."
Todd Moyer, general manager at the Hard Rock, said he plans for the hotel and casino to host a couple events before and possibly after Saturday in the Park.
"We're going to do a pre-show the night before on July 3 [on the Anthem stage]," said Moyer at a April 9 press conference."We're working with Dave [Bernstein] on some after-parties and things to keep the weekend going."
The musical act for the July 3 pre-show has yet to be announced.
"Saturday in the Park is truly a special event," said Moyer. "I couldn't be happier to be a part of it."
But the live music doesn't stop after Saturday in the Park. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino recently announced its lineup of concerts taking place in its outdoor venue called Battery Park, formerly known as The Backyard.
The summer Battery Park shows include:
3 Doors Down and Seether, July 11
REO Speedwagon, July 14
Collective Soul with Dishwalla, July 17
Colbie Caillat and Christina Perri, July 22
Elvis Costello, July 24
Three Days grace, July 31
Deep Purple with Black Oak Arkansas, August 7
Gary Allan with Joe Nichols, August 14
The venue is named after the Battery Building, which serves as a backdrop during outside concerts. Events at Battery Park are open to all ages and will also play host to community events in the future.
The Hard Rock will also add an outdoor "Biergarten" as an extension to Main + Abbey and a hot spot for Battery Park concerts.