There's nothing like a summer in the North Bay, as the warm weather drives folks out of the house to partake in one of the hundreds of community events, festivals, concerts, plays, parties and other activities that cover the region from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This year's summer schedule includes lots of changes, debuts and special guests, so keep this guide close and get ready to enjoy all the fun the season has to offer. —Charlie Swanson
Concerts at Montgomery Village Santa Rosa's Montgomery Village Shopping Center offers several music lineups throughout the season. Look for rocking weekend afternoons and Thursday concerts under the stars with bands and performers like Pride & Joy, Super Diamond, Wonder Bread 5 and others. May 24 through September. 707.545.3844. Full lineup at mvshops.com.
6th Street Playhouse Railroad Square's resident theater company offers several special events and productions this summer in the playhouse's G.K. Hardt Theatre. A lineup of standup comedy, improvised sketches, magic, music and more come together for the Gentlemen Basterds' Big-Ass Comedy Variety Show on May 25. The Sound of Music gets a sing-along screening with subtitles so the whole audience can sing "Do-Re-Mi" on June 2–3. Illyria, the modern musical version of Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night, completes 6th Street's season with hilarity and heart on June 15–July 8. 52 W. Sixth St., Santa Rosa. 707.523.4185.
BottleRock Napa Valley The biggest concert festival to hit Napa has been long sold-out, so hopefully you already got your tickets to see headliners Muse, the Killers and Bruno Mars, and eat the best of Napa Valley food and wine. May 25–27 at the Napa Valley Expo Center. 575 Third St., Napa. bottlerocknapavalley.com.
Oysterpalooza Celebrate the bivalve by eating everything oyster, with a heavy bent on the cuisine of New Orleans. There are also plenty of drinks and live music from three bands. May 27 at Rocker Oysterfeller's. 14415 Hwy. 1, Valley Ford. Noon. $25. 707.876.1983.
Live at Lagunitas Everyone's favorite Sonoma County brewery has lots of music on tap this summer at its Petaluma amphitheaterette. St. Paul & the Broken Bones are already sold-out for the opening for the series on May 28. Black Roots musician Fantastic Negrito performs June 12. Indie-pop artists Wild Child play on July 31. Songwriter King Tuff sings Aug. 28. Free tickets are limited and go on sale three weeks before each show on the bands' websites, so set your calendars accordingly. 1280 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma. For the full lineup, visit lagunitas.com/live.
Krush Backyard Concerts The summer series turns 25 and continues to reflect the radio's laidback, community-oriented vibe with a selection of North Bay stars of Americana and beyond. On May 31, Rockabilly Roadhouse will start things off by presenting artists such as Jinx Jones, Derek Irving & His Combo and Hunka Hunka Hula Revue. Other performers this summer include Achilles Wheel and Misner & Smith on June 14, Sol Horizon on July 26 and Wee Willie Walker & the Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra on Aug. 9. 3565 Standish Ave., Santa Rosa. Doors at 5:30pm. Free admission. Get the full schedule at krsh.com.
Goose & Gander Music Series Napa Valley's wine country public house is the perfect setting to see locals play on the lush patio. The summer series starts in June and continues each Sunday afternoon through September. 1245 Spring St., St. Helena. Goosegander.com.
Season of Wine & Lavender What began as a daylong celebration is now a two-month season–June 1 through July 31–of tastings, food pairings and tours of lavender-filled fields. Special events include open-air painting sessions and photography safaris, and winemaker seminars elevate the palate at Matanzas Creek Winery. 6097 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. matanzascreek.com.
Funky Fridays The sixth annual weekly summer series brings popular North Bay bands like Levi Lloyd & Friends (June 1), the Funky Dozen (July 6) and Volker Strifler (Aug. 17) to the gorgeous lawn in front of the historic Hood Mansion, while raising money for Sonoma Valley parks every Friday through Aug. 31, Casa Manana Road, Santa Rosa. Doors at 5:30pm. Show starts at 7pm. $10; kids under 18 are free. funkyfridays.info.click to enlarge >
Sonoma County Pride Celebration After nine years in Guerneville, Sonoma County Pride returns to the heart of the county with a parade and festival in downtown Santa Rosa's Old Courthouse Square, anchoring a weekend of festivities. This year's theme, "Together We Rise," focuses on supporting people who feel threatened by the actions of the current administration and helping those affected by last October's fires. The festivities also include a kick-off show at Laugh Cellar featuring actor and standup comedian Alec Mapa, a curated merchant and pub tour, OUTwatch LGBTQI film festival and more, all happening June 1–3 in or around downtown Santa Rosa. sonomacountypride.org.
Healdsburg Jazz Festival Sound the trumpets and walk that bass right on up to Healdsburg for the 20th annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival. There are over a dozen concerts scheduled, and this year features Bill Frisell and the Julian Lage Duo, Myron Cohen Quartet, Adam Theis, Lorca Hart Trio and the John Santos Sextet among many others. Concerts take place June 1–10 at various locations in and around Healdsburg. Prices vary. 707.433.4633. healdsburgjazzfestival.org.
SOMO Concerts Rohnert Park's grand outdoor venue, the SOMO Village Event Center, once again packs a powerhouse lineup of performers for their seasonal series. Legendary punk-rock band Social Distortion get things off to a loud start on June 2. The inaugural Rock & Wine Fest mixes heavy hitters Y&T and Dokken with plenty of vino on June 23. California Roots presents the first of its Rebel Music Series concerts with Reggae stalwarts Toots and the Maytals on July 13, and two primo punk bands, the Psychedelic Furs and X, co-headline a show on July 25. 1100 Valley House Drive, Rohnert Park. somoconcerts.com.
Cotati Cabaret Summer Series The historic building that now houses Congregation Ner Shalom will house performances throughout the season. Grammy Award nominee Barbara Higbie spends an evening with Sonoma County musicians Nancy Vogl and Suzanne Shanbaum on June 2. N.Y.C.-based klezmer sextet Isle of Klezbos plays on July 8, and west Sonoma County–based THUGZ headline the 51st Summer of Love Anniversary Dance Party on Aug. 18. 85 La Plaza, Cotati. Single show and series tickets available at shalomevents.ticketleap.com.
Summer Event Series at Farmstead St. Helena's Long Meadow Ranch and its farm-to-table restaurant Farmstead are gearing up for a summer of guest chefs and live music that perfectly complement the views and dynamic culinary offerings. The Bluegrass-Fed Concert Series takes over the restaurant's lawn and kicks off with Wisconsin-based progressive country band Horseshoes & Hand Grenades on June 3, followed by Tahoe's own Dead Winter Carpenters for the July 4 show, with fireworks to follow. Over by the restaurant's fire pit, the Live Fire Guest Chef Series welcomes chef Laurence Jossel of San Francisco's Nopa restaurant to serve up a special meal on June 23. 738 Main St., St. Helena. 707.963.4555.
Uptown Theatre Downtown Napa's art deco concert venue welcomes an array of performers to its landmark stage. Veteran rocker Brian Setzer performs Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot! on June 6. Gifted musician and activist Ziggy Marley gives voice to the spirit of revolution through his Rebellion Rises 2018 Tour on June 8. Country music star Mary Chapin Carpenter sings from her acclaimed catalogue on June 30. Blues pioneer Ry Cooder plays two nights, July 21 and 22, and soul singer Amos Lee appears on Aug. 11. The summer lineup is also packed with laughs, with shows featuring standup stars Brian Regan (June 9), Paula Poundstone (July 14) and Tig Notaro (July 28). 1350 Third St., Napa. 707.259.0123.
Napa Valley Jazz Getaway Musician and producer Brian Culbertson's seventh annual event features an incredible lineup of jazz and R&B artists, including iconic group the Commodores, guitarist Norman Brown and singer Bobby Caldwell, in a show dubbed "Love & Soul," R&B royalty Faith Evans, veteran comedian Sinbad and others. Wine receptions, dinner concerts and after-parties mix up the fun, June 6–10, at various locations throughout Napa Valley. jazzgetaway.com.
Huichica Music Festival A refreshingly intimate and impressively curated take on the music festival format, Huichica (pronounced "wah-CHEE-ka") features a music lineup that includes veteran stars like Jonathan Richman and Steve Gunn, as well as today's hottest indie-rock auteurs, including Copenhagen-based post-rock band Iceage and a bevy of Bay Area favorites like Wooden Shjips, Vetiver and the Fresh & Onlys. Amazing views, delectable culinary options and plenty of beer and wine round out the weekend. June 8–9 at Gundlach Bundschu Winery. 2000 Denmark St., Sonoma. $46–$121; kids 12 and under are free. 707.938.5277.
Enchanted Forest Gathering Eighth annual outing once again enchants audiences with three days of music, performance and visual art, workshops and other fairy-tale fun for the whole family. This year's lineup boasts headlining acts like Beats Antique, Ozomatli and Dumpstaphunk, and the immersive natural environment includes a spa, crystal dome, art gallery and other wondrous experiences. June 8–10. Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville. enchantedforestmendo.com.
Napa City Nights Hailed as the event "where Napa makes music," this family-friendly concert series offers a perfect view for local crowds to see and dance to their favorite North Bay bands and artists like Cripple Creek Band, Stax City, the Deadlies, the Hots and Tommy Odetto. Every Friday, June 8–Aug. 24. Veterans Memorial Park Amphitheater, Third and Main street, Napa. 6:30pm. Free admission. napacitynights.com.
Beerfest: The Good One All beerfests are good, but this one gets the title for its combination of good brews and a good cause. Whether you prefer hoppy IPAs, sour beers or ciders, you'll find old favorites and new loves at this massive tasting event featuring nearly 50 pouring stops and awesome food vendors. The day also benefits local nonprofit Face to Face, whose mission is ending HIV in Sonoma County and supporting the health and well-being of people living with HIV/AIDS. June 9. 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 1pm. $50–$60. beerfestthegoodone.com.
Peggy Sue's All-American Cruise Hundreds of classic, stock and custom all-American cars roar into Santa Rosa for the annual cruise, and will be on display with live music, pin-up contest and awards at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds throughout the day. Then those classic cars roam downtown Santa Rosa in the evening to show off for families and car lovers. June 9. cruiseforpeggysue.com.
Summer Drive-In Series The Alexander Valley Film Society turns back the clock this summer for three drive-in movie nights that screen classic blockbusters with vintage flair. First up, the family favorite E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial plays outside on the big screen on June 9, followed by a showing of Back to the Future on July 21 and The Wizard of Oz on Aug. 18. You don't want to get stranded at the drive-in, so get tickets early and pack the car. Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds, 1 Citrus Fair Drive, Cloverdale. Doors open at 6:30pm, movies screen at dusk. Car tickets, $40 ($100, full series); individual tickets, $12 ($30, full series). Prices go up at the door. avfilmsociety.org.
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