Rock legends Grand Funk Railroad will play a free concert in Hot Springs on Friday, March 16, 2018, the night before the First Ever 15th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
“This will be the first time we have ever done a free concert the night before the parade,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs and one of the founders of the annual parade. “But since the 15th anniversary of the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade is on Saturday night we thought a Friday night free concert would be a good addition.”
“It will be a great entertainment weekend for Hot Springs,” he said, “with live Thoroughbred racing at Oaklawn both Friday and Saturday and the Grand Funk Railroad concert Friday night after the races. Oaklawn will have The Rebel Stakes Saturday, March 17, followed by the parade that night.”
The Grand Funk Railroad concert will start at 8 p.m. on March 16. There will be several opening acts that will be announced later. The concert is free. No chairs or umbrellas will be allowed. The band will perform from the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade stage at the foot of Bridge Street in the Broadway Entertainment District. Food and beverages will be on sale.
Grand Funk Railroad originated in Flint, Mich., in 1969 and went on to become the top-selling American rock group of the 1970s.
Known as “The American Band,” Grand Funk Railroad includes original founding members Don Brewer (vocals and drums, writer and singer of the multi-million-selling hit, “We’re An American Band”) and bassist Mel Schacher, “The God Of Thunder.” They are joined in the band’s current incarnation by singer Max Carl (a veteran from 38 Special); lead guitarist Bruce Kulick (12 years with KISS); and keyboardist Tim Cashion (Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band).
Grand Funk laid the groundwork for such bands as Foreigner, Journey, Van Halen and Bon Jovi with its signature hard-driving sound, soulful vocals, muscular instrumentation and forceful pop melodies. It had mega-hits with “We’re An American Band,” “I’m Your Captain/Closer To Home,” “Locomotion,” and “Some Kind Of Wonderful.” Over their career, Grand Funk has had 19 charted singles, eight Top 40 hits and two No. 1 singles (“We’re An American Band” and “Locomotion”).
The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade turns 15 in March, and John Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) was recently announced as the official starter for the 2018 event.
Since its beginning in 2003, the parade has brought positive international attention to Hot Springs as a place to visit for fun and entertainment.
The 2018 parade will begin at 7:30 p.m., an hour later than in previous years. It is starting later because of the running of The Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, Arrison said. “The later start will allow Oaklawn fans plenty of time to enjoy the live racing and get downtown for the start of the parade,” he said.
The parade annually attracts crowds of upwards of 30,000 people to watch an insanely zany collection of Irish Elvis impersonators, green Irish wolfhounds, marching units such as Paddy O’Furniture, Irish belly dancers and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, as well as bands and other unique units that cover the 98-foot length of Bridge Street in the heart of downtown Hot Springs.