ST. CLOUD – Like most summer concerts in 2020, the 32nd Liberty Block Party was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But this year, the free, privately sponsored concert that takes place during St. Cloud's annual summer festival is back on — and paying homage to the classic acts for which it has become known.
"We're making reference to vinyl records — it's Liberty Block Party 33 and a third," said Mark Bragelman, president of St. Cloud-based Liberty Bank Minnesota.
The bank announced Monday this year's headliners will be the Guess Who and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, along with opening act the Rockin' Hollywoods.
"I said to the [booking agent], I'm going to ask for something really funky: I want the Ozark Mountain Daredevils and I want the Guess Who. So I want Canadians and hillbillies," Bragelman said.
The Guess Who is a Canadian rock band that rose to fame in the late 1960s with hits such as "American Woman," "These Eyes" and "No Time."
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils is an American country rock band popular in the 1970s with the songs "If You Wanna Get to Heaven" and "Jackie Blue."
The Rockin' Hollywoods is a Twin Cities-based cover band with a set list of well-loved songs from the 1950s to 1980s.
The show is slated to start at 5:30 p.m. June 25 at Whitney Park in St. Cloud.
Although organizers have three decades of experience planning the free concert, they are flying by the seat of their pants this year, Bragelman said.
Not only did they have to find national acts willing to travel, they have to plan the event in record time — given the short notice due to the state's recent lift of pandemic-related restrictions — and without some vendors such as Geyer Wedding and Event Rentals, which closed last year due to the pandemic.
But after being with Liberty Bank Minnesota for more than four decades, Bragelman has a number of community connections willing to help, including the owner of Dale Gruber Construction.
"Dale is a lifelong friend of ours and he said, 'You know what, I'm bringing a crew that night and if you can't find it, we'll build it.' "
The concert oscillates between country and classic rock, which Bragelman said reflects what people in central Minnesota want to hear at a live show.
"It's a really split crowd," he said.
Over the years, the concert has been headlined by Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt and the Charlie Daniels Band. In more recent years, it's featured Herman's Hermits, Tommy James and the Shondells, the Grass Roots, B.J. Thomas and Grand Funk Railroad.
Bragelman predicts it'll be more than nostalgia luring fans to the show: After a tough year due to COVID-19, people are eager to get out and experience their favorite traditions again.
"It's good for our community to get together. It really is," he said.
Jenny Berg • 612-673-7299