.Cookout Concert Series at Hopmonk

Summer is just around the corner, which can only mean one thing—the much-anticipated arrival of Hopmonk Tavern’s 11th annual Cookout Concert Series is here.

Nothing says summer fun quite like having a cookout and a concert on the calendar to look forward to, especially with this concert series, since it is curated by none other than KC Turner. For those who don’t know, Turner is a bastion in the Bay Area musical scene whose life’s passion is to bring the beat and, in this case, help beat the heat this summer at Hopmonk Tavern.

The Cookout Concert Series kicks off on Memorial Day (May 27) with a special show, one which is best described/hyped by Turner himself. “The Cookout Concert Series picks up on Memorial Day with a show affiliated with BottleRock’s after-dark shows,” Turner said. “I’m psyched about the kickoff, especially since it’s just so cool to have a BottleRock artist to start the series off.”

music in the park san jose
music in the park san jose

Hopmonk Tavern Cookout Concert Series began 11 years ago with Turner playing a huge role in its inception—he not only got the ball rolling, but also put in the effort and dedication to keep it growing too. Over a decade later, the Cookout Concert Series has become a quintessential centerpiece for Marin’s music enthusiasts to attend each summer. Now, the concert series is so well-known that visitors from other states and even other countries fly in to see these performances in Novato.

“In the beginning, [the Cookout Concert Series] was very much a KC Turner DIY project,” explained Turner. “I begged a couple of local artists I knew to play for us and, for a few years, it was kinda me just bringing in everything. But now, well, it’s like night and day if I showed you photos from then and now.”

“Now, we can go to 700 capacity, and we have a lights guy, security, a box office manager…it’s a full-on venue and production,” continued Turner. “It’s almost like running a festival every weekend. We take all the stuff from out back and make it less of a beer garden and more an outdoor venue—it’s a really funky cool special place, and bands love playing there. We’re doing [the Cookout Concert Series] at a proper level, where we can attract big names and look forward to other big names in Novato.”

While Novato’s Hopmonk Tavern may be located in a well-known, busy parking lot, don’t let the area around the venue fool you. Once inside, Hopmonk’s vibes are absolutely immaculate, and guests will get the sense of being sequestered away from the rest of the world in a way that feels almost impossible for a place so close to well…everything else.

But once one walks through the Hopmonk doors and into the outdoor area, it feels a bit like opening a wardrobe, only to find a portal to Narnia…but this portal is objectively better because there’s beer instead of lions and witches on the other side.

“Guests see this shopping center parking lot, but then they walk through the doors of the outdoor venue, and it’s like, ‘Oh my God, this oasis,’” described Turner. “There are all these trees lingering over everything, and the fenceline comes up so high that you can’t see the other buildings at all. Plus there’s a grassy shaded area, which makes for a very comfortable experience on the warmer days. It’s like this oasis and people will go, ‘Woah, this is in here?!’”

“The outdoor venue is really where it’s at,” continued Turner. “We’re into little pocket bands who are drawn to doing an outdoor show that’s a little different from their usual venue, and I really just use that to our advantage. The outdoor venue is like this special spice that makes its shows a little more unique, almost like a festival. So, I treat it like a festival series and have shows with 33 headliners booked from May to October. I’m basically geared up to live at Hopmonk.”

The lineup for the summer concert series is full of amazing artists, starting with Say She She and Ron Artis II playing on May 27. In June, the concert series musical performances include Box Set on the 7th, Bill Frisell Trio on the 9th, James McMurtry on the 14th and 15th, David Nelson Band on the 16th, Bill Kirchen on the 28th, The Mother Hips and T Sisters on the 29th and Jackie Greene on the 30th.

July’s Cookout Concert Series highlights include Shinyribs, Cracker, Megan Slankard, North Mississippi All-Stars, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Matt the Electrician, Sierra Hull, Bob Schneider and The Wood Brothers. August kicks off with performances from Hot Buttered Rum, Poor Man’s Whiskey, Steve Poltz, Roy Rogers, Bonnie Hayes, AJ Lee & Blue Summit and Taj Farrant.

In September, guests can see Tim Flannery, The Lunatic Fringe, Tainted Love, Mustache Harbor, Fantastic Negrito, Hayes Carll, The Band of Heathens, Chuck Prophet, The Mission Express, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and even the Foo Fighters’ own Chris Shiflett.

Hopmonk’s Cookout Concert Series ends on Oct. 11 with one last show featuring Carsie Blanton and Susan Werner.

As is evident by this absolutely stacked musical lineup list, this summer offers countless opportunities for Marin County citizens to take to the city streets for some good vibes, music, food, company and so much more. So, all that’s left to do is hop(monk) out the door and see what kind of wonders and amusements await in the coming months.

“We’ve developed a brand and trust in the market, and while you know you’re never going to make everyone happy…for the most part, you’re hopefully going to resonate. And hey, people haven’t stopped me yet, so…,” said Turner.

The months ahead promise a whole lot of daylight to spend, and what better way to fill the upcoming days and nights than with food, family, friends, fresh beer and, of course, a curated selection of music? So, the question is what show to see this summer at Hopmonk’s Cookout Concert Series.

Hopmonk Tavern in Novato is located at 224 Vintage Way and is open daily from 11:30am to 9pm. To learn more about Novato’s Hopmonk Tavern, the Cookout Concert Series or to book tickets, call 415.892.6200 or visit the website at hopmonk.com/novato. For more KC Turner Presents style and info, visit his website at kcturnerpresents.com.


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