Sing a song of summer, with so many live music concerts and music festivals taking place this season in the Sonoma Wine Country region of the San Francisco Bay Area. Enjoy Broadway Under the Stars in Jack London State Park, wine festivals, Fourth of July Fireworks at the Green Music Center, plaza concerts, and much more.
Take in the spectacular weather of long warm days and cool nights, and make plans to get your groove on at local music festivals, rock-n-roll parties, and tastes of uncommon favorites like zydeco and Mexican pop.
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Broadway Under the Stars, Jack London State Historic Park in Sonoma
June 15 through Sept. 9, 2018
Jack London State Historic Park is breathtakingly beautiful at dusk, and turns even more mystical in the summer, with the sounds of Broadway musical theater acts serenading under the stars.
Each of the concerts begins before sundown at the spectacular Kohler & Frohling winery ruins in the park.
This is the highest caliber musical theatre, too, showcasing ballads in a series of four concerts: Stairway to Paradise, Fantastical Family Night, Shall We Dance, and the Gala Celebration in a season-closing showstopper. Festive pre-show picnicking and warm-up band music begins at the Beauty Ranch at 5 p.m., so bring your own feast or purchase food and beverages including signature wines from local wineries at the park. Then, prepare to dance and sing, when the show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Details: Jack London State Historic Park, 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen
Transcendence Theatre: ticket prices vary depending on VIP, Premium, Select, general admission or youth levels; proceeds benefit the park preservation.
June 9-10 and Sept. 8-9, 2018
What used to be one weekend of riverside music is now three events. The Centennial Celebration on June 9 is a one-day musical "Feel Good Party" marking the 100th anniversary of Johnson's Beach, followed the next day, June 10, by the one-day Russian River Blues Festival.
Part of the appeal of these immensely popular annual gatherings is the magical setting, at Johnson's Beach on the Russian River. It’s just one block from Guerneville’s Main Street, and towering redwoods keep the crowds cool against the banks of the water.
The line-up of performers on June 9 includes The Goo Goo Dolls, Shaggy, The California Honeydrops, Royal Jelly Jive, the David Luning Band, and Kingsborough. The June 10 blues festival features the Robert Cray Band, Eric Burdon, Taj Mahal Trio, Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio, Chris Cain, and Kara Grainger.
The Russian River Jazz Festival has been postponed for 2018, but check the website for exciting details for the 2019 event.
Details: Russian River Festivals, Johnson's Beach, 16241 First St., Guerneville
Tuesdays in the Plaza Concerts, Healdsburg
May 29-August 30, 2018
A true 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.
Bring a picnic and wine (some regulars bring small, low tables and set up candelabras and flower vases), then settle back in the grass for a variety of acts that often include favorites like Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings, Stompy Jones, The Dixie Giants, and Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys.
The music runs from 6 to 8 p.m. each Tuesday, with plenty of food trucks to feed you, too.
Country Summer Music Festival, Santa Rosa
June 15-17, 2018
As Northern California's largest country music festival, the weekend features some dozen big name acts, 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 Toby Keith, Florida Georgia Line, Little Big Town, Maren Morris, Granger Smith, and many more.
Concessions serve beer, wine, spirits and Wine Country food alongside an array of western themed and festival activities.
Friday Night Live at the Plaza, Cloverdale
June 1-Aug. 31, 2018
Cloverdale’s summer-long, free concert series plays alongside the Farmers Market in the Downtown Plaza. The market begins at 6 p.m. and the music plays from 6:30 p.m. until around 10 p.m.
There’s music for everyone, in a weekly changing showcase of alternative country, pop, rock, blues, American rock, soul, funk, salsa, Latin jazz, and indie - even zydeco and Cajun French tunes.
For even more family fun, there are food booths, premium Sonoma County wines and craft beers, hand-crafted arts for sale, and kids’ activities like jumpy castles and rock climbing walls.
Details: The Downtown Cloverdale Plaza
Rodney Strong Vineyards Summer Concert Series, Healdsburg
July 8 through September 9, 2018
Every year for the past 27 years, fans of this winery’s lavish celebrations have looked forward to seeing 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 Michael McDonald, Melissa Etheridge, Temptations & The Four Tops, and Boz Scaggs.
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 Highway, Healdsburg
Summer Nights on the Green, Windsor Town Green
There’s simply too much good music to pack into the small town of Windsor, which is why this weekly event is always packed, with thousands of partygoers converging on Thursdays.
The Windsor Farmers Market, complete with food trucks and lawn games, runs from 5 to 8 p.m., and the free music concerts start at 6 p.m.
You can dance this year to jams like Hip Service dance party, Soul Fuse funk & R&B, Dana Fuchs southern rock, Afrolicious disco funk, and more.
Funky Fridays at Hood Mountain, Santa Rosa
June 1-Aug. 31, 2018
The summer-long Funky Fridays concert series outgrew its previous venue at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and will now brings its eclectic variety of music to historic Hood Mansion in the Sonoma Valley.
Weekly concerts on the lawn entertain from 7 to 9 p.m. with bands like Poyntlyss Sistars Band, Soul Fuse, The Blues Burners, and Gator Nation.
Details: Funky Fridays, Hood Mountain Regional Park, 1450 N. Pythian Road, Santa Rosa
Huichica Music Festival, Sonoma
June 8-9, 2018
First, it’s pronounced We-Chica. Second, it’s an annual concert at Gundlach Bundschu Winery in Sonoma, selected 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 King Tuff, Fruit Bats, Iceage, White Fence, and more.
Keeping everyone fueled are pizza, barbecue, salads, yakitori, craft beers and plenty of Gun-Bun wine.
Details: Huichica Music Festival, 2000 Denmark St., Sonoma. Tickets start at $46.
July 14-29, 2018
It’s an authentic taste of centuries old inspiration, over three weekends of concerts that were introduced as the first in the nation devoted to classical and romantic chamber music on period instruments
Set in the 300-seat concert hall at Hanna's Boys Center in the Sonoma Valley, the 2018 festival explores some of the most influential music composed in Vienna: from a lesser-known Oboe Quartet by Vanhal (1771), through the chamber music of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, all the way to Schoenberg’s Second String Quartet (1908).
Plus, the new Blattner Lecture Series offers star lecturers as guides through this Viennese musical journey.
Details: 17000 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, 707-996-6767, more info.
Fort Ross Festival, Jenner
July 28, 2018
Fort Ross State Historic Park is wonderful to visit all on its own, with historic crafts, militia cannons, and living breathing history of its founding in the 1800s.
For this special festival, there is also a multi-cultural food court, marketplace, children’s crafts, costumed re-enactments, dance, and the highlight: live music.
Set in a dramatic natural outdoor amphitheater with the Pacific Ocean as its backdrop, authentic re-enactors will perform periodic songs accompanied by historic instruments and twirling dancers.
Details: Fort Ross Festival, 19005 Coast Highway One, Jenner
Aug. 4, 2018
Plan for a whole day of entertainment, with gates opening at 11:30 a.m. and live music continuing until 9:30 p.m. Spread out on the expansive lawn areas in front of the main stage and garden stage, or grab a VIP Premium ticket for shaded reserved seats under a canopied area complete with complimentary hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer.
Wherever you sit, food is a highlight, offered for sale by gourmet food trucks and washed down with Lagunitas Brewing Company beers and Sonoma wines.
Or check out the food pavilion, featuring locally grown and produced cheese, bread, chocolate, organic farm produce and more. And then, there’s the music from Railroad Earth, Brothers Comotose, Melvin Seals & JGB, and many more groups.
As a bonus, proceeds from the weekend will be distributed among Petaluma’s public elementary and secondary schools to support their music programs. Tickets start at $55.
Details: Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma
The Sonoma County Fair Concert Series, Santa Rosa
August 2-12, 2018
One of the biggest parties of the year, the Fair attracts top-notch performers amid the carnival rides, games, great food and wine.
As always, headline acts this year are big names, including Queen Nation, Blues Festival, John Michael Montgomery, Blood Sweat and Tears, Super Diamond & Sawyer Brown.
All concerts are FREE, with fair admission ticket purchase.
Details: Sonoma County Fair, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa
Summer Concerts at Montgomery Village, Santa Rosa
Summer concerts in the heart of the picturesque Montgomery Shopping Village make shopping and dining on the patios even more fun with a bit of groove.
Concerts Under the Stars are held every other Thursday in Village Court from 5:30 to 8 p.m., while Rockin’ Concerts take place each Saturday from noon to 3 p.m., and for the free Sunday Concerts, the music takes over the Village Terrace from are 1 to 4 p.m.
This year’s lineup includes Petty Theft, Wonderbread 5, Pop Fiction, Pride & Joy, and more.
Details: Montgomery Village Shopping Center, 911 Village Court, Santa Rosa, 707-545-3844
Geyser Peak Winery 2018 Summer Concert Series, Healdsburg
June 16-Oct. 13, 2018
Enjoy music and dancing with a vineyard view at Geyser Peak Winery's summer concerts, featuring some of the Bay Area's best tribute bands and entertainers. Pack a picnic, buy a bottle of wine, and find a spot on the lawn or deck. Food is also available for purchase at the event.
Geyser Peak's series runs monthly from June 16 and then on the second Saturday through October, from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Admission is $10 and free for Wine Club Members.
The party starts with Petty Theft, followed by Fleetwood Mask, Volker Strifler, Joel the Band, and Sonoma Goods Band.
Details: Geyser Peak Winery, 2306 Magnolia Drive, Healdsburg