We’re lucky here in the land of grapevines, with such wonderful summer weather and endless outdoor activities including live music concerts and music festivals.
We’ve got great performances happening at wineries, in our parks, and even at farmers’ markets and on town square plazas. Want to hum – or sing – along?
Broadway Under the Stars at Jack London State Park, June 16 through September 10, 2017.
Plan an entire evening with family and friends, for these dusk time gatherings where proceeds benefit the park preservation. Show up at the aptly named Beauty Ranch at 5 p.m. with a picnic, or purchase tasty food truck goodies and beverages including signature wines from local wineries at the park. Then, get ready to groove when the shows starts at 7:30 p.m. Each of the concerts begins before sundown at the spectacular Kohler & Frohling winery ruins in the park, with grand concerts including Another Openin’ Another Show, Fantastical Family Night, Fascinating Rhythm, and the Gala Celebration in a season-closing showstopper.
Details: Jack London State Historic Park, 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen, jacklondonpark.com.
4th of July Celebration at Green Music Center, July 4, 2017
The world-class Green Music Center is situated on the picturesque campus of Sonoma State University, and hosts hundreds of show-stopping concerts all year long. Still, this performance is particularly anticipated, for its dazzling fireworks display on the lawn following the live music in Weill Hall. This year, Grammy winner Kathy Mattea brings bluegrass and country music to the stage. And grab the family and show up early – starting at 4:30 p.m. lawn activities include face painting, carnival games and bouncy houses for the kids, plus food and more music for all.
Details: 1801 East Cotati Avenue (at Sonoma State University), Rohnert Park, 866-955-6040, gmc.sonoma.edu.
48th Annual Summer Concert Series at Robert Mondavi Winery, July 1, 2017
How nice – concert proceeds are non-profit and benefit the Napa Valley Unified School District Music Program. And it’s fun for everyone, with top names this summer like Patti LaBelle (July 8), Michael Franti and Spearhead (July 22), and Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals (July 29). This is one event where you’ll want to purchase VIP tickets, since that includes a wine reception in the cellar, plus a lavish pre-concert family style dinner on the lawn by chef Jeff Mosher.
Details: 7801 St Helena Hwy., Oakville, 707-226-1395, robertmondaviwinery.com.
Tuesdays in the Plaza Concerts, Healdsburg, May 30 though August 28, 2017
How fancy can you go with your picnic? At this community gathering, hundreds of locals and visitors stake out their blankets and folding chairs early in the day to secure prime viewing of bands playing everything from swing to cool jazz to country and rockabilly. Some guests bring small, low tables and set up candelabras and flower vases for their feasts, packing in high end wines, while others sup from the surrounding food trucks. The music runs from 6 to 8 p.m. each Tuesday, with 2017 acts including Freddy Jones Band (Roots Rock/Pop, June 13,), Soul Ska (Classic Jamaican & Wave Ska, July 25) and Mustache Harbor (Soft Rock Explosion, August 29).
Details: Healdsburg Plaza, Healdsburg, ci.healdsburg.ca.us
Rodney Strong Vineyards Summer Concert Series, July 8 through September 9, 2017
It’s been a hallmark of summer now for 27 years, as fans of this winery’s lavish celebrations gather for such intimate performances by world-class musicians in a stunning vineyard setting topped off by sweeping views of the Russian River Valley. Big names are a given; this year welcomes stars like Chris Isaak, Kenny Loggins, Chris Botti, and Kool & The Gang. Take a picnic meal to enjoy on The Green, or purchase an assortment of delectables from local purveyors who will be onsite. You can also stock up on Rodney Strong wines, to sip while you sing along.
Details: Rodney Strong, 11455 Old Redwood Hwy., 707-431-1533, Healdsburg, rodneystrong.com.
Country Summer, June 16 through 18, 2017
As Northern California’s largest country music festival, the weekend features more than a dozen notable performers, on stages sprawled across the grassy, five-acre Carnival field at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. State-of-the-art staging and sound are enhanced by two 16-foot video walls, showcasing talent like Thomas Rett, Maddie & Tae, Michael Ray, William Michael Morgan, Ned Ledoux, and many more. Concessions serve beer, wine, spirits and Wine Country food alongside an array of western themed and festival activities.
Details: 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, countrysummer.com.
Huichica Music Festival, June 9 & 10, 2017
Impress your friends when you know it’s pronounced We-Chica. Then, tell your buddies that the annual concert is held at Gundlach Bundschu Winery in Sonoma because the 152-year-old Gun-Bun (as regulars call it) was once part of the land called Rancho Huichica by Mexican General Mariano Vallejo, and Huichica is the name of the unique soil of the region that makes for great winegrowing. The festivities start at 3 p.m. on Friday and continue at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, with a diverse lineup across four stages, including groups like Beachwood Sparks, Cave Singers, Mr. Elevator, and Cool Ghouls. Keeping everyone fueled are pizza, barbecue, salads, yakitori, craft beers and plenty of Gun-Bun wine.
Details: 2000 Denmark Street, Sonoma
Valley of the Moon Music Festival, July 15 though 30, 2017
This concert gathering is one to absolutely not miss. It’s an authentic taste of centuries old inspiration, as the three weekends of concerts are the only ones in the nation devoted to classical and romantic chamber music on period instruments. Set in intimate, private home plus the 300-seat concert hall at Hanna’s Boys Center in the Sonoma Valley, the works feature old and new favorites from composers such as Schubert, Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, and Mendelssohn.
Details: 17000 Arnold Drive, 707-996-6767, valleyofthemoonmusicfestival.org.