By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A big draw this 3M Open tournament weekend is the Zac Brown Band concert after play wraps for the day on Friday. Eight months of planning went into the show that begins at 8 p.m. Fans of the band, golf enthusiasts and pro-golfers will all gather at the National Sports Center.

The crew did final checks Friday morning before people flood the field.

“They’re setting up the stage, doing a sound check, checking all the lights, all the sound, making sure everything’s getting cued correctly,” Rick Barron with Barron Event Planning & Management said.

The country band returns to Minnesota as part of the inaugural 3M Open. It’s a state the band enjoys coming back to year after year, says multi-instrumentalist John Driskell Hopkins.

“We’ve got great fans around the country and around the world and you guys are certainly among the top in our books when it comes to people who are really excited,” Hopkins said.

Hop came by WCCO Friday morning and shared the band has a new album coming out that will be released song by song. Concert-goers will be among the first to hear them.

“We’ve got some new tunes that we’ll be debuting from that that we’re going to play tonight and also some of our old favorites,” Hopkins said.

Roughly 80 people have worked over two days to get everything ready for the concert. This will be a more intimate show, with a max of 8,000 people.

“We wanted a smaller show. We didn’t want to have something where people didn’t feel like they’re a part of it. Players are coming tonight, some of the top players in the world are coming,” Barron said.

And the band, they’re happy to play a show with a charitable component.

“When you get a chance to do something charitable like this we’re always very excited to contribute,” Hopkins said.

Tickets are still available. You can walk up to the gate and make a hundred dollar donation. That gets you in the door. It benefits the 3M fund which is supporting Masonic Children’s Hospital, the National Park Foundation and the Science Museum. Fireworks follow the show.

Jennifer Mayerle