Palmetto adds a little ‘funk’ to its fireworks this Fourth of July

Palmetto’s ninth annual Fourth of July Festival will get a little funky this year.

Mark Farner, former front man for Grand Funk Railroad, brings his American Band to headline the festivities this year at Sutton Park. Rare Earth will be the opening act.

Festivities at the free festival kick off at 3 p.m., with music beginning at 5 p.m., to be followed by the Zambelli Fireworks show over the Manatee River after the concerts.

Farner has sold 30 million records, with 16 gold and platinum records. At the age of 69, Farner still pours everything into his performances as he once did in his 20s as he led Grand Funk Railroad to the top of the charts.

Mark Farner’s American Band is aptly named after one of Grand Funk Railroad’s mega hits, “We’re an American Band.”

According to the band’s website, Farner writes, “I love playing where I can connect with people of all backgrounds ... We have challenges like most people — we get through the day with each other and focus on the power of positive energy.”

Rare Earth, dubbed by some as “Motown’s funkiest white band,” features the band’s last original surviving member, Gil Bridges.

The band formed in 1960 as the Sunliners, but didn’t hit the charts until 1968 with the ever popular “Dawning of the Age of Aquarius.” With the music scene changing in the late 1960s, the band switched the name to Rare Earth and would headline shows featuring up and coming bands like Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers opening for them.

Three of the original band members have passed away and two others are permanently retired, but not Bridges who is keeping the funk of Motown alive and well.

Related stories from Bradenton Herald