SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – The 31st Saturday in the Park will soon fill Grandview Park with music and folks from all over. In this week’s Stories from the Park, we learn about the inception of the festival as told by the festival’s co-founder.
“Originally, I guess, conceived the idea in 1990, but probably it ran even before then,” Saturday in the Park Co-Founder David Bernstein said.
David Bernstein is the man behind the music.
“We used to sit up in the park quite often drinking beers. But it was always a real inspiring spot for us. And just thought man it would be cool to have someone play up here like Crosby Stills and Nash, or George Thorogood or Stevie Ray Vaughan or something like that,” Bernstein added.
The idea would soon blossom into a real plan.
“We really started working on it late 1990. We wrote a five-page proposal that we still more or less use today for sponsorships and then the first one was in 1991,” Bernstein said.
And his first Saturday in the Park remains one of Bernstein’s fondest memories.
“We didn’t know what we were getting into. It was pretty laid back. We set up everything that morning before the fest and then we tore it all out afterwards. So it wasn’t this multi-week long build,” Bernstein recalled.
That first Saturday still remains a major learning experience.
“We ran really late, we didn’t have lights, so the headliner Buckwheat Zydeco basically played in the dark more or less,” Bernstein said.
And the community’s response to the free festival exceeded Bernstein’s expectations.
“We were just trying to get maybe like a thousand people. And I’m guessing we had a solid five thousand people because just from the beer sales and the food sales,” Bernstein said.
And over the years, watching the community enjoy themselves at the park makes it all worthwhile for Bernstein.
“When you reflect and say hey, it’s a lot of work, should we keep doing it, but then you look out and see all those people and you run into people all the time who are appreciative because they just enjoy it, and so it’s really rewarding,” Bernstein added.
All for a fun night out in Sioux City.
“That’s our payback is when this place is jam packed full of people at 9 o’clock on a Saturday night, you know, listening to the headliner before the fireworks go off. That’s about as good as it gets,” Bernstein said.
Volunteers are always needed for the festival. So if you are interested in becoming a volunteer, click here.