Budgetary limits played the melody, audience familiarity the harmony in selecting the headliner act for this year's July 4th outdoor concert in Brainerd.
The event, along with the traditional fireworks display, is expected to attract 30,000 people to Don Adamson Football Field, starting at 8 p.m.
They will hear The Turtles Featuring Flo and Eddie, a middle-aged version of the pop-rock group that once titillated the 1960s music charts with hit songs "Happy Together" and "She'd Rather Be With Me."
With $15,000 to spend, the committee of citizens that runs Brainerd's annual weeklong salute to Independence Day went looking for a classic rock and roll group to headline the celebration's main event.
"The Turtles came to mind because we did a search on what groups would be available in the summer in our price range," said Nancy Cross, the Community Action executive director who manages what has come to be known as The American Celebration.
The Turtles won out over several other classic rock groups, including the Little River Band, The Monkees, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Joan Jett and others, Cross said in a recent interview.
"The other reason for bringing them here is because everyone knows the words to their songs," she said, "and they will be enjoyed by young and old alike.
"I doubt if there's anyone who doesn't enjoy classic rock and roll," she added. "It's great festival music."
The American Celebration opens June 29 with a series of traditional summer activities through July 6. The highlights include the 27th annual Arts in the Park on July 1 in Gregory Park, Gospel Night featuring the Majesty Quartet on July 3 in Tornstrom Auditorium, and the July 4th parade, outdoor concert and fireworks display.
The Freedom Festival, an outdoor feast and street dance downtown, has been added to this year's line-up, starting at 5 p.m. July 6.
The original Turtles, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, reprised the group in the mid-1980s, after a decade of performances as Flo & Eddie.
The Turtles hit full stride in the mid-1960s with a string of hit songs influenced by the Byrds, the Zombies, Bob Dylan and other authors of the early rock and roll movement.
By the early 1970s, however, the group's popularity was in decline, leading to a breakup. Kaylan and Volman, childhood friends who helped found the group, joined Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention before emerging as Flo & Eddie in the mid-1970s.
The duo released a half dozen albums over the next several years, bolstering their reputation with several movie scores. They reprised The Turtles in the mid-1980s and have appeared regularly at classic rock and roll festivals ever since.
Although they've never performed in Brainerd, Cross said, The Turtles have appeared at the Moondance Jam in Walker. Brainerd's July 4th concert is free.
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