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Kool & the Gang to headline free Memorial Park concert

July 2011 file photo

Get ready to rock the park!

The 27th Bank of the West Celebrates America, one of the country’s largest free outdoor concerts, is Friday beginning at 6 p.m. in Omaha’s Memorial Park.

Bank of the West Celebrates America June 30 schedule:

  • 5 a.m. – Park opens for anyone who wishes to place blankets prior to the concert.
  • 6 p.m. – Tech Sgt. Becky Packard from the USAF Heartland of America Band sings the National Anthem; “Presentation of Colors” by VFW Post 2503.
  • 6:05 to 6:50 p.m. – The Emmett Bower Band, a rock-influenced alternative country act from Lincoln, will perform.
  • 7:15 to 8:15 p.m. – The Confidentials, an Omaha-based group who are among the Midwest’s premier bands behind a unique blend of funk, jazz and reggae, will play.
  • 8:45 to 10 p.m. – Headliner Kool & the Gang takes the stage. Kool & the Gang is a popular American funk and rhythm and blues band that is a two-time Grammy Award winner known for No. 1 hits “Celebration,” “Fresh” and “Cherish.”
  • 10 to 10:10 p.m. – Concert culminates with fireworks set to patriotic and popular music selections.

“This year, we are pleased to once again bring world-renowned musicians to Omaha for a free concert in the park followed by a fantastic fireworks display. In addition to their No. 1 hits and the fact that they have played the past 50 years in front of sold-out crowds around the world, Kool & the Gang’s R&B-infused music is noted to have helped shape American culture,” said Robert Dalrymple, executive vice president for Bank of the West’s Midwest Division. “This year, we also are pleased to shine a spotlight on our talented local musicians — we look forward to Lincoln’s Emmett Bower Band opening the show followed by Omaha’s The Confidentials. Bank of the West Celebrates America has become a favorite Omaha tradition that not only is an annual reunion of family and friends, it recognizes the importance of celebrating America’s independence. It’s also one of the ways we say thank you to our customers and to the community.”

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Community Beneficiary

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center is this year’s community beneficiary.

The Children’s mission is to improve the life of every child through dedication to exceptional clinical care, research, education and advocacy.

Concert-goers will be encouraged to purchase commemorative Bank of the West Celebrates America plush bears for $5 or make a cash donation to benefit Children’s.

Mangia Italiana, Uncle Earnie’s BBQ, Lauren Beth’s Popcorn and Dippin’ Dots will have food and beverages available for purchase at the park.

Part of the proceeds will be donated to Children’s Hospital & Medical Center. Metropolitan Utilities District will provide free water.

Limited handicapped parking will be available on Memorial Park’s Circle Drive.

Bank of the West Celebrates America is hosted in cooperation with the City of Omaha.

For safety reasons, the City of Omaha prohibits the use of stakes in the ground at Memorial Park.

Any personal property left at the park in the days preceding the concert will be removed by the Omaha Parks and Recreation Department.

More than 60,000 people are expected to attend Friday’s concert.

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