There’s nothing like a North Bay summer, when hundreds of community events, festivals, concerts, plays, parties and more—covering the region from Memorial Day to Labor Day—are offered. This year’s summer schedule includes lots of changes, debuts and special guests, so keep this guide close and get ready to enjoy all of the fun that the season has to offer.
Point Reyes Open Studios Spend Memorial Day weekend immersed in art that includes sculpture, paintings, photography, pottery and more, while meeting local artists—including renowned printmaker Tom Killion—in their studios throughout West Marin, during Point Reyes Open Studios, Memorial Day weekend, May 26-28, 11 to 5. pointreyesart.com.
Marin Shakespeare Now in its 29th season, this popular company opens the season with its own take on the murderous and ghostly Hamlet, starring Nate Currier in his first leading role with Marin Shakes, Sundays, May 25-July 8. Shakespeare’s Will by Vern Thiessen, follows, and shares the inner life of Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, June 14-July 8 (previews in June). The season ends with Pericles, July 14-Aug. 5, telling the adventurous story of the Prince of Tyre, complete with romance, passion and comedy. Forest Meadows Amphitheatre, 890 Belle Ave., San Rafael. marinshakespeare.org.
Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade Join the parade or just enjoy the show. This popular local event, which includes a historic Wells Fargo Stagecoach, happens on Monday, May 28. Veterans Ceremony is at 9:45am in Lytton Square, and the parade starts at 10:30am. mviloveaparade.com.
Ross Valley Players The players wrap up their exciting 88th season with two productions. The Tin Woman, a stirring drama that is based on a true story, is playing through June 10. Then, Savannah Sipping Society runs from July 12–August 5. Barn Theatre, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross. General admission on weekends is $27 for adults, $15 for youths under 25. On Thursdays, it’s $22 general admission and $12 for youth. 415.456.9555.
Marin Country Mart Get the weekends started with Friday Night Jazz concerts each week at the mart, featuring performers like Lisa Lindsley and Mads Tolling. Then, go acoustic on Sunday afternoons when the weekly Folkish Festival books local artists like Jesse Kincaid and Blithedale Canyon. 2257 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur, Fridays, 6-9pm. Sundays, 12:30-2:30 pm. 415.461.5700.
Marin Greek Festival Spend the weekend steeped in traditional Greek cultural staples like cuisine, music, dance and fellowship. Highlights include performances by the Hohlax Band, on tour from Greece and playing throughout the weekend, and multiple appearances by the award-winning Minoan Greek Dancers on Saturday and Sunday, May 25-27. Nativity of Christ Greek Orthodox Church, 1110 Highland Dr., Novato. $5 for adults and $4 for seniors over 65 on Saturday and Sunday. Children under 12 get in free. Free admission Friday. 11am-10pm. nativityofchrist.org/festival.
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 GK Hardt Theatre. A line up of stand-up comedy, improvised sketches, magic, music and more come together for The Gentlemen Basterds Big-Ass Comedy Variety Show on May 25. The classic musical film, 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 the playhouse’s theatrical season with hilarity and heart, June 15– July 8. 52 W. Sixth St., Santa Rosa. 707.523.4185.
Novato Theater Company The longtime Marin theater company’s next performance is Five Tellers Dancing in the Rain, so act quickly to see the family drama, running May 24–June 10. Young actors can enjoy a “Summer Stars” theater camp and put together a production of Aladdin Jr., June 18–22 and 25–29. Then, July 13–14, Steven King Music presents the Cash and King band, celebrating the legacies of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. In September, the company starts its 2019 season with A Chorus Line. 5420 Nave Dr., Novato. novatotheatercompany.org.
Friday Nights on Main Tiburon’s beloved block party tradition closes roads to traffic so that local restaurants can set up shop outside and visitors can stroll down the streets enjoying live music, wine tastings and more. Last Friday of the month, May 25 through Sept 28. Main St., Tiburon. 6pm to 9pm. Free. 415.435.5633.
BottleRock Napa Valley The biggest concert festival to hit Napa has been long sold-out, so hopefully you already have your tickets to see headliners Muse, The Killers and Bruno Mars, and experience 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 will also be plenty of drinks and live music from three bands. More information will be available soon, once the press release is out. May 27 at Rocker Oysterfeller’s. 14415 Hwy. 1, Valley Ford. Noon. $25. 707.876.1983.
Muir Beach Volunteer Firemen’s Barbecue Festive fundraiser for the whole family boasts delicious food, activities for the kids and music from André Pessis & his Allstars and Soul Ska. May 27 at Santos Meadows, Muir Woods Rd., Muir Beach. Noon-5pm. Free attendance/$20 parking. 415.381.8793.
Rancho Nicasio’s BBQ on the Lawn Whether it’s Memorial Day weekend, Father’s Day, the Fourth of July or Labor Day, Rancho Nicasio has you covered with top-tier musicians, like Pablo Cruise, Paul Thorn, Ruthie Foster and Willie K, performing alongside some of the tastiest barbeque this side of the Mississippi River. Every Sunday starting May 27, 1 Old Rancheria Rd., Nicasio. Gates at 3pm, music at 4pm. $20-$40. 415.662.2219.
Live at Lagunitas Everyone’s favorite Sonoma County brewery has lots of music on tap this summer in its Petaluma amphitheaterette. The Saint Paul and the Broken Bones show is already sold out for the opening 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.
Marin Art & Garden Center Summer Concert Series
The center’s picturesque setting makes for a fabulous atmosphere to enjoy a picnic dinner, with beer and wine available, as you listen to a wide variety of live music from the likes of the Rowan Brothers, leading off the series on June 28, Highway Poets on July 12, Happnstance on July 19, B and the Hive on July 26, Matt Jaffe on August 2 and Zydeco Flames on August 9. 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross; 5-7pm; magc.org.
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 Rd., Santa Rosa. matanzascreek.com.
Funky Fridays The sixth annual weekly summer series brings popular North Bay bands like Levi Lloyd & Friends (June 1), 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 Rd., Santa Rosa. Doors at 5:30pm. Show starts at 7pm. $10. Kids under 18 are free. Funkyfridays.info.
Jazz & Blues by the Bay Sausalito’s summertime series is becoming the stuff of legends, with headlining acts like the US NAVY 32nd Street Brass Band, Mz Honey & the Honey Bees, Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88s and others performing on the waterfront with breathtaking views of the Bay. Fridays, June 1–Aug 24. Gabrielson Park, Sausalito. 6:30pm. Free admission. jazzandbluesbythebay.com.
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 help those affected by the October fires. The festivities also include a kick-off show at Laugh Cellar featuring actor and stand-up 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 more than a dozen concerts scheduled, and this year features Bill Frisell and 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 its seasonal series. Legendary punk rock band Social Distortion gets 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 Dr., Rohnert Park. Somoconcerts.com.
Art at the Source More than 112 artists in dozens of studios throughout western Sonoma County open their spaces to the public for an interactive art experience the first two weekends of June. New this year, the final weekend also offers Art & Wine Studio Tours, a half-day guided tour of selected studios that includes wine tasting. Saturdays and Sundays, June 2–3 and June 9–10. Maps can be found at artatthesource.org or at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, the home of the event’s preview exhibit, 282 S High St., Sebastopol. Free. 707.829.4797.
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. New York City-based klezmer sextet Isle of Klezbos plays on July 8, and West Sonoma-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.
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 opens in June and continues each Sunday afternoon through September. 1245 Spring St., St. Helena. goosegander.com.
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 plays the spirit of revolution in his “Rebellion Rises 2018 Tour” on June 8. Country music star Mary Chapin Carpenter sings from her acclaimed catalog 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.
Town Center Corte Madera Summer Music Series The town center’s courtyard sets the mood for music as bands and performers play in the family-friendly, outdoor atmosphere. Sundays, June through Aug., 100 Corte Madera Town Center, Corte Madera. 2-4pm. Free. shoptowncenter.com.
Mill Valley Wine & Gourmet Food Tasting Festival Annual fundraiser is looking more exciting and delicious than ever and features wine from more than 65 premium wineries, fine craft beers from 11 breweries and food from nearly 30 food purveyors and 12 local restaurants and chefs. Proceeds benefit local nonprofits. June 3 at Depot Plaza. 85 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 1–4pm. $55 and up. Age 21 and over. 415.388.9700.
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 more. Wine receptions, dinner concerts and after-parties mix up the fun, June 6–10, at various locations throughout Napa Valley. jazzgetaway.com.
Marin Theatre Company The ambitious and innovative company hosts a special summer show this year with Straight White Men, about a man and his three sons who struggle with identity and privilege. June 14–July 8. Then, in September, the company’s 2018/2019 season opens with Oslo, a darkly comic play based on the true story of a Norwegian couple whose scheming helped pass the 1993 Oslo Accords. 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley. 415.388.5200.
Rockstar University’s House of Rock Santa Rosa’s recording space and live music venue celebrates two years under its belt this summer with a stellar lineup of new and returning favorites. The band Empty Spaces performs a tribute to Pink Floyd on June 16. British heavy metal band Union Jack & the Rippers rocks the house on June 30. Grunge makes a comeback at the inaugural Rosapalooza, featuring bands like Corduroy and Plush, on July 7. Platinum-selling band LA Guns returns for another round of rock on Aug 11. 3410 Industrial Dr., Santa Rosa. rockstaruniversity.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 (the Modern Lovers) 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 fairytale 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 streets, Napa. 6:30pm. Free admission. napacitynights.com.
Sweetwater Music Hall Dance the summer away with a lineup of music that hits the sweet spot. Former Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson’s latest country band, Green Leaf Rustlers, rocks out June 11–13. Chicago blues-rock pioneers The Electric Flag gets a 50th anniversary celebration with members including Nick Gravenites and Barry Goldberg on June 28. Even former San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito gets in on the fun, performing Aug. 8. 19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley. 415.388.3850.
Fairfax Festival & EcoFest Marin’s premier community party turns 41 this year, and offers something for everyone. The kick-off Family Film Night sets the weekend’s tone, mixing social responsibility and sustainability while having fun. Then, Saturday’s parade leads the crowds to three stages of live music, flea market vendors, wholesome food, kids area and more. On top of that, the EcoFest, part of the festival since 2004, showcases the best local environmental movements and figures working towards a cleaner tomorrow. June 9–10, 142 Bolinas Rd., Fairfax. fairfaxfestival.com.
Novato Festival of Art, Wine & Music Thirty-fifth annual music fest features art and crafts vendors, good things to eat and drink, a wine garden and live music on two stages. Musical acts include Birds of Chicago and Jeffrey Halford & the Healers on Saturday; and Con Brio and Diego’s Umbrella on Sunday. There’s also a kids’ area with art projects, petting zoo, train rides and more. June 9–10 at Old Town Novato, Grant between Redwood Ave. and Seventh St. Free admission. 415.472.1553.
Russian River Festivals This summer marks the centennial of the Russian River’s Johnson’s Beach in West Sonoma County, best known for its annual Jazz & Blues Festival. This year, the beach marks the occasion and expands on the entertainment with three massive music festivals, beginning in June with the back-to-back Johnson’s Beach Feel-Good Beach Party and Russian River Blues Festival, June 9–10. Saturday’s party features headliners Goo Goo Dolls and Shaggy, alongside the California Honeydrops, Royal Jelly Jive, David Luning and Kingsborough. Sunday’s festival features Robert Cray, Eric Burdon & the Animals, Taj Mahal Trio, the Elvin Bishop Big Fun Trio and others. In September, the Russian River Jazz Festival fills out a full weekend, Sept. 8–9. russianriverfestivals.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 and even 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 Rd., 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.
The Mountain Play Marin’s magical outdoor theater experience is currently performing the musical smash “Mamma Mia!” under a canopy of trees on Mount Tamalpais through June 17 and is offering a special sing-along performance Jun 9. Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre, 801 Panoramic Hwy., Mill Valley. $20-$45. 415.383.1100.
di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art The innovative arts center debuts a powerful new lineup of artists for the second installment of its socially-conscious exhibit, “Be Not Still: Living in Uncertain Times.” See new experimental projects and bold art installations that address topics like immigration and healthcare when the exhibit opens with a reception on June 30. 5200 Sonoma Hwy., Napa. 707.226.5991.
The Dipsea Race The oldest trail race in America turns 108 years old this summer and participants once again face a grueling course that takes them from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach in a challenging and beautiful day of running on June 10. dipsea.org.
Summer Sunday Concerts at Piccolo Pavilion Lawn chairs and blankets will once again dot Corte Madera Square, as the intimate pavilion hosts music from popular North Bay acts like Todos Santos, Levi Lloyd, Taylor Rae and Bubba’s Taxi. Old Corte Madera Square, Redwood Ave., Corte Madera. Sundays, June 10–Aug 26. 5pm. Free. cortemaderacommunityfoundation.org.
Railroad Square Music Festival North Bay Hootenanny hosts this fourth annual day of local music and community in the heart of Santa Rosa. Frankie Boots, Sol Horizon, the Highway Poets, Trebuchet and many others take several stages, with a shop party of local vendors, food, beer and wine, art and fun for all. June 10 at Railroad Square, Fourth and Wilson streets, Santa Rosa. Noon. Free admission. railroadsquaremusicfestival.com.
Luther Burbank Center for the Arts The performing arts center brings some of the biggest events and names in music and comedy to the stage this summer. Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox transforms today’s biggest hits into a 1920s swing and jazz soiree on June 22. Bianca Del Rio, alter ego of comic Roy Haylock and former winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” offers a scathing night of laughs on June 30. The original Jersey Boys, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons sing their greatest hits on Aug. 5. Everyman standup star Jim Gaffigan appears for two shows on Aug. 9. 50 Mark West Springs Rd., Santa Rosa. 707.546.3600.
Calistoga Concerts in the Park Bring your blankets, lawn chairs, picnic dinners and friends and family to enjoy these weekly concerts in a gorgeous natural setting. Each week’s show offers something different, from rock and rollers Kingsborough on June 14, to Latin dance band Maya on July 19 to funk and soul songwriter Ricky Montijo on Aug. 2. Concerts in the park take place every Thursday, June 14–Aug. 16, Pioneer Park, 1308 Cedar St., Calistoga. 6:30pm. Free admission. Visitcalistoga.com.
Creekside Friday Night Concert Series The Tam Valley venue, the Tennessee Valley Cabin, give these concerts a rustic, throwback vibe, and local bands like Marble Party, Soul Ska and Lumanation keep it intimate while they rock the house for the 13th season. Fridays, June 15–Aug. 10. 60 Tennessee Valley Rd. (park at Tam Valley Community Center, 203 Marin Dr.), Mill Valley. 6:30pm. Free. tcsd.us.
Country Summer The biggest country music event in the North Bay also features Western-themed attractions, country-inspired culinary delights and an array of libations. Headliners this year include Florida Georgia Line, Little Big Town, Toby Keith and many more. June 15–17, at Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa. $89 and up. 707.543.0100. countrysummer.com.
Sierra Nevada World Music Fest (SNWMF) The world is a big place, so a world-music festival, by default, must also be big. This year’s 25th annual SNWMF continues the festival’s legacy of offering dozens of musical acts from around the world. Artists at this
year’s festival include Jamaican crooner Beres Hammond, British reggae legends Steel Pulse, Ethiopian pop star Teddy Afro and others. June 22–24 at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds, Boonville. $70 and up. snwmf.com.
Broadway Under the Stars Presented each year by Transcendence Theatre Company, some of the brightest stars in Hollywood and on Broadway come to perform in the Sonoma County night air. This summer’s schedule starts with “Stairway to Paradise,” featuring songs from Broadway and beyond, June 15–July 1. The popular Fantastical Family Night dances to the beat of Broadway and Disney hits on July 13–14. “Shall We Dance,” showcasing an invigorating blend of movement and song, runs Aug. 3–19. The Gala Celebration caps the season with appropriate flair, Sept. 7–9. Jack London State Park. 2400 London Ranch Rd., Glen Ellen. Pre-show picnics at 5pm; concerts begin at 7:30pm. 877.424.1414.
Novato Concerts on the Green Dynamic songwriter Jesse Brewster kicks off this year’s concert series, which takes over downtown Novato’s Civic Green every first and third Saturday of June, July and August. The high-powered Pamela Parker’s Fantastic Machine, the acclaimed Element Brass Band and others are on the schedule. In addition, Novato’s Hamilton Amphitheater hosts two “Hot Amphitheater Nights” with Midtown Social on June 30 and the Big Fit (formerly known as Frobeck) on Aug. 25. 5pm. Free admission. novato.org.
Cotati Music Festival After 37 years of the Cotati Jazz Festival, the small and spirited town of Cotati’s chamber of commerce is expanding on the musical offerings in this inaugural summer concert event. The Cotati Music Festival lineup includes local favorites like the John Courage Trio, Derek Irving & His Combo and Danny Sorentino, with food, beer and wine on hand. June 16. Noon. Free admission. cotati.org.
Mystic Theatre & Music Hall The beloved downtown Petaluma venue has a packed schedule this summer with an eclectic array of events and concerts. Wavy Gravy hosts Seva Foundation’s 40th anniversary, featuring Dark Star Orchestra on Jun 27. Indie-rock veteran and former Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus leads his longtime band the Jicks on July 17. Soul music icon Booker T Jones performs on July 27, and original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley plays a solo show on Aug. 5. Mystic Theatre, 23 Petaluma Blvd. N, Petaluma. 707.765.2121.
Belvedere Concerts in the Park The series celebrates its 21st year of live music in the gazebo of the small community park with a Father’s Day concert featuring Top Shelf on June 17, swing stars Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers on July 17, bluegrass favorites Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands on Aug. 12 and dance party-starters Neon Velvet on Sept. 2. Bring a picnic and be ready to dance the day away at Belvedere Park, San Rafael Ave. and Community Rd., Belvedere. 3:30pm. belvedereconcerts.org.
Sonoma-Marin Fair This year’s Sonoma-Marin Fair blasts off with a “Beyond the Milky Way” theme that is sure to delight all ages. Headlining concerts, the world’s ugliest dog contest, destruction derby, carnival rides, fair food and a galaxy of fun await June 20–24, at Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Dr., Petaluma. Gates open at noon each day, $10-$15 general admission. sonoma-marinfair.org.
MarinScapes Don’t miss the 30th anniversary of this annual fine art exhibit and sale that benefits Marin recovery agency Buckelew Programs. This year’s featured artist is former smokejumper and landscape painter Davis Perkins, and the schedule includes a Pearl Jubilee opening night gala, pop-up shops and other special events happening June 21–24, at Escalle Winery, 771 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur. buckelew.org.
Kate Wolf Music Festival This festival always draws excellent musical acts to honor the work of the late singer-songwriter it’s named for, and this 23rd annual year’s lineup is one of the best yet. Confirmed performers include Los Lobos, Indigo Girls, Keb’ Mo’ and many others, with North Bay artists like Rainbow Girls and Wendy DeWitt representing the North Bay. Camping is the best way to experience this festival. June 28–July 1 at Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville. $75 and up. katewolfmusicfestival.com.
Marinwood’s Music in the Park Live music, barbeque from Marinwood Market, a bar for the adults and fun for the whole family makes for a perfect summer evening. Shows start up on June 29 and continue July 13, Aug. 10 and Aug. 24. Marinwood Park, 775 Miller Creek Rd., San Rafael. 6pm. Free admission. marinwood.org.
Italian Street Painting Marin: Wonders of Space & Time More than 100 street painters converge on downtown San Rafael to explore concepts of cosmic mystery in the annual artistic spectacular. Local bands, food and vendors are also on hand, and kids can make their own street painting masterpieces. June 23–24, Fifth and A streets, San Rafael. Sat., 10am to 8pm; Sun, 10am to 6pm. $10-$15, kids under 12 are free. italianstreetpaintingmarin.org.
Marin County Fair This year’s popular Marin summer mainstay celebrates diversity and inclusivity with a theme of “All for One & Fun for All!” Fair exhibits include decorated flags and banners, baked goods and culinary contests from around the world, global photography and classics like carnival rides, midway attractions, concerts from headliners like Michael Franti and LeAnn Rimes and more. Every night is fireworks night when the fair runs June 30–July 4 at the Marin County Fairgrounds, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. $13–$15; under four, free. marinfair.org.
Mondavi Winery Summer Concerts After nearly five decades, this popular concert series is bigger than ever, with a lineup featuring Gavin DeGraw (June 30), Citizen Cope (July 7), Brandi Carlile (July 14), X Ambassadors (July 21) and Fitz & the Tantrums (July 28). These shows are already selling out, so don’t wait to grab tickets. Robert Mondavi Winery. 7801 St. Helena Hwy., Oakville. Dinner available. $70-$225. 888.769.766.6328. robertmondaviwinery.com.
Green Music Center Summer at the Green 2018 Sonoma State University’s superb Weill Hall hosts a season of concert events that spill out on the lawn and span classical, jazz, country, Latin and spoken word. The season’s Fourth of July concert features Transcendence Theatre Company and the Santa Rosa Symphony, followed by fireworks. The annual Bluegrass & Craft Beer Festival returns on July 15 with headliners Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder and Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands. Free movie screenings on the lawn happen all season, and other performers include Los Tucanes de Tijuana (July 21), Hunter Hayes (Aug. 10), Boyz II Men (Aug. 16) and Punch Brothers (Aug. 23). 1801 East Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. 866.955.6040.
Napa County Fair & Fireworks Farm fun, rides, clowns and food, this fair’s got it all, in one svelte day of blistering excitement. Culminating in a fireworks spectacular in the evening, the fun starts with a parade at noon through downtown Calistoga. July 4 at the Napa County Fair. 1435 North Oak St., Calistoga. napacountyfair.org.
Summer Nights Outdoor Music Festival Osher Marin JCC’s most popular event series sets the music under the stars and boasts a diverse lineup of the hottest acts of today. The series opens with the Afro-Cuban sounds of Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca on July 7. Hawaiian music master Henry Kapono performs on July 14, eclectic ensemble Royal Jelly Jive grooves on July 21, Seattle folk-pop outfit Kuinka plays on July 28 and Latin big band Pacific Mambo Orchestra wraps the series on Aug. 4. Families will love that kids 17 and under are free, and a kids’ zone keeps the little ones happy, while pop-up restaurants and beer and wine fuel the fun. 200 N. San Pedro Rd., San Rafael. Doors at 6pm, music at 7pm. $25-$32 and up. marinjcc.org.
Wine Country Big Q Eighth annual barbeque competition features grill masters from around the area competing in big beef and bold bean challenges. World class wines, award-winning brews, craft cider and spirits pair with the meats, and live music makes for a party atmosphere on July 7, Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Dr., Petaluma. 1pm. $20-$75. winecountrybigq.com.
Napa Craft Beer, Spirits & Oyster Festival In this case, the name really does say it all. Choose from an afternoon or evening session, or stay all day and indulge in unlimited tastings from 35 craft brewers, pouring more than 75 beers. Resident mixologist Mcson Salicetti will be whipping up creative cocktails, and the sommelier of oysters Kevin Joseph (Empire Oyster, the OysterHood, Oysters Unlimited) curates an oyster bar on Saturday, July 7, at Napa Valley Opera House, 1030 Main St., Napa. 1pm. $44-$199. Napacraftbeerfestival.com.
Rodney Strong Concert Series The wine-tastic annual live music series in the sunny grasslands behind the Rodney Strong vineyards always features adult contemporary favorites and music legends. This year’s lineup includes Michael McDonald on July 8, Melissa Etheridge on July 22, a double-bill of the Temptations and the Four Tops on Aug. 26 and Boz Scaggs on Sept. 9. Rodney Strong Vineyards, 11455 Old Redwood Hwy., Healdsburg. 5pm. $89-$129. 800.514.3849.
Petaluma Art & Garden Festival Presented by the Petaluma Downtown Association, the fest brings local eats, beer, wine and plenty of music to town for a 17th year. The vendor booths offer unique and charming items for the home and garden, plus animal mobiles and fun fairy clothing for the wee ones. The event also includes the annual chalk art competition. July 8. Kentucky and Fourth streets, Petaluma. 11am. petalumadowntown.com.
Shakespeare in the Cannery Santa Rosa’s unique outdoor theater experience—set in the brick ruins of a former canning warehouse—returns for its fifth and reported final season. Led by director David Lear, the company is planning to go out in style, presenting the comedic and heartwarming Shakespeare in Love at sunset on select dates, July 12–Aug. 3. 3 West Third St., Santa Rosa. Gates at 5pm, shows at 7pm. 707.528.3009.
Flynn Creek Circus The boundary-pushing ensemble of performers flies, tumbles and juggles its way into the North Bay with a new show, “Adrift,” that promises the company’s biggest acrobatic stunts yet. Set on the high seas, this magical odyssey mixes classic circus hijinks and hilarious comedy when it runs in Calistoga July 12–15 and in Sausalito July 19–22. Get details about locations and times at flynncreekcircus.com.
Out & About Under the Oak at Northgate Four local and loved bands take to the grass on the west side of the San Rafael shopping center for the ninth annual concert series, with Petty Theft kicking off the annual series on July 13. Every other Friday through Aug. 24, 5800 Northgate Mall, San Rafael. Music starts at 6pm. shopatnorthgate.com.
The Breastfest Beer Festival Eighteenth annual beer tasting party raises money to help low-income women with cancer. Sample the latest brews from Marin Brewing Company, Moylan and others while noshing on BBQ and listening to music from many local players. Cheers are in order on July 14, at the Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 1pm. $65. thebreastfest.org.
Rivertown Revival The Friends of the Petaluma River once again present the “Greatest Slough on Earth,” and this year’s outing aims to support the region’s regrowth after last year’s natural disasters. The event features local artists and bands like the King Street Giants, the Crux, T-Luke & the Tight Suits and Big Kitty performing, interactive art installations, kids activities, local food vendors and more. The eco-friendly event even boasts a Nautical Mass commute by boat, led by a historic schooner. Revive your summer on July 14 at the McNear Peninsula at D and Copeland streets, Petaluma. Rivertownrevival.com.
Wine Country Comedy Fest Local grape-stomping and funny-bone smashing company Crushers of Comedy hosts its third annual summer stand-up extravaganza with a diverse lineup of comedians, including Steve Ausburne, Jenny Yang, Josh Argyle and many more. A slew of craft beers, winetasting, live music and more come together July 19–22 at the Laugh Cellar, 5755 Mountain Hawk Way, Santa Rosa. crushersofcomedy.com.
Northern Nights Music Festival Cook’s Valley Campground, set in a redwood forest on the Humboldt/Mendocino County line, comes alive for the 6th annual dance and DJ-centric festival. Camp out for the weekend and immerse in a weekend of headlining music, specialty bars, hammock lounges, silent discos and community bonding. July 20–22. 83950 Road 442E, Piercy. northernnights.org.
Larkspur Wine Stroll Take it easy at this 7th annual stroll that boasts local vino paired with window-shopping and socializing. July 21, Magnolia Ave., Larkspur. 5pm. $20, includes commemorative wine glass. 21 and over only. larkspurchamber.org/wine-stroll.
Festival Napa Valley Formerly called the Festival del Sole, this annual event offers more than 60 events over 10 days, ranging from concerts and dance performances to vintner-led luncheons and free community events. Highlights include opening night’s Opera Under the Stars at Meadowwood with soprano Nadine Sierra, the Arts for All Gala in St. Helena with actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth, the world premiere of Joshua Bell performing the Academy Award-winning music from the film The Red Violin and a Leonard Bernstein centennial celebration. July 20–29, at various venues in the Napa Valley. festivalnapavalley.org.
San Rafael Sunset Criterium Downtown San Rafael is transformed into a bike racetrack as pros, amateurs and kids take over the main downtown streets for a day of racing. No waiting for hours to see cyclists pass in seconds, this looping course brings the action back around right away, while a DJ pumps the beats and your beer disappears faster than you thought it would. Watch several races, stroll the expo and hang out in the outdoor beer garden on July 28. Fourth and C streets, San Rafael. sanrafaelsunset.com.
Mill Valley Concerts on the Plaza Bring your lawn chairs and get in the summer groove at free concerts on Mill Valley’s Downtown Plaza, Sundays starting at 3pm or 4pm. millvalleyrecreation.org.
Sonoma County Fair This year’s signature summer fair presents a “Salute to Heroes” and honors first responders and those who saved lives and helped others throughout last October’s wildfires. The annual affair once again offers rodeos, destruction derbies, carnival rides, local art and agriculture, and all of your favorite fair cuisine. Separate admission is required for some events. Sonoma County Fair runs Aug. 2-12. Horse racing happens Aug. 2–5 and Aug. 9–12. Sonoma County Fairgrounds. 1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa. 11am to 9pm; $7–$12; kids six and under are free. sonomacountyfair.com.
Music in the Vineyards Now in its 24th season, this nationally acclaimed chamber-music festival welcomes renowned musicians from around the world to perform at the most picturesque locations in the Napa Valley. This year, the Escher, Pacifica and Miró quartets and the Trio Machiavelli perform as the festival’s ensembles-in-residence and the all-star lineup includes big band leader Maria Schneider, guitarist David Leisner, violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama and pianist Michael Brown. Aug. 3–26, at winery venues in the Napa Valley. $55 and up. musicinthevineyards.org.
Nostalgia Days Downtown Novato closes down one day a year for this massive event that features seven blocks of classic cars on display and cruising the avenues, with classic rock ’n’ roll live onstage, food and drinks flowing and thousands of visitors on hand. The car show happens Aug. 4, on Grant Ave., between Redwood Blvd and 7th St., Novato. 10am, cruise at 6pm. Free admission. 415.599.6880.
Petaluma Music Festival The 11th annual festival benefiting music programs in Petaluma schools features another massive lineup of North Bay favorites like headliners Railroad Earth, the Brothers Comatose, Melvin Seals & JGB, Royal Jelly Jive and many others. Aug. 4 at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Dr., Petaluma. Noon. $55-$65 and up, students age 13-17 can get limited $20 tickets at the door, kids 12 and under are free with adult admission. petalumamusicfestival.org.
Gravenstein Apple Fair Billed as the “sweetest little fair in Sonoma County,” the 45th annual event, presented by Sonoma County Farm Trails, celebrates the locally found Gravenstein apples in all of their delicious glory, with several food vendors, live music and local arts and crafts. Look for the artisan tasting lounge, the farm life arena, kids’ activities and games and contests throughout. Aug. 11-12 at Ragle Ranch Park, 500 Ragle Rd., Sebastopol. 10am to 6pm. $8-$15, kids 5 and under are free. gravensteinapplefair.com.
Cotati Accordion Festival Bay Area accordion veteran Paul Rogers of Those Darn Accordions and the Christmas Jug Band is saluted as the honorary director and an international cavalcade of stars takes the stage at this 28th annual squeezebox party, which this year offers two days of peace and music in a Woodstock-themed affair. International stars like Finland’s Netta Skog and Germany’s Matthias Matzke perform, as well as local favorites like Zydeco Flames, Culann’s Hounds, Oddjob Ensemble and the Mad Maggies. Aug. 18–19 in La Plaza Park. Old Redwood Highway, Cotati. 9:30am–8pm. cotatifest.com.
Blues, Brews & BBQ Mixing together live music, microbrews and enough barbecue to fill a pickup truck, this summertime party is not to be missed. There’s a rib-eating contest, kids’ area and, of course, blues artists all along the streets. Aug. 25 at First and Main streets, Napa. Noon–6pm. Free admission. Beer-tasting tickets available for purchase. donapa.com.
Bodega Seafood Art & Wine Festival Dozens of culinary companies come together to offer delicious seafood specialties at the 24th annual event. Aside from the art and the eats, there are four stages of entertainment. The Main Stage features blues, jazz, swing, bluegrass and more from the likes of Highway Poets, Kevin Russell, Sang Matiz, Swing Fever, French Oak and others. Entertainers include jugglers, magicians and other non-musical acts. And local art, food, wine and beer overflows Aug. 25-26 at Watts Ranch, 16855 Bodega Hwy. Saturday, 10am–6pm; Sunday, 10am–5pm. $15-$20, kids under 12 are free. bodegaseafoodfestival.com.
Sausalito Art Festival One of the most prestigious art events in the country returns to the Sausalito waterfront for a 66th year, attracting collectors, aficionados and enthusiasts alike. Fine art in every medium from some 260 artists pairs well with gourmet food, sumptuous wines, children’s entertainment and more. Sept. 1–3, Marinship Park, Sausalito. 415.332.3555.
Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival Now in its 62nd year, this fest features music, sculpture and plenty of children’s activities in the serene setting of the redwoods. Sept. 15-16, Old Mill Park, 320 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley; 10am–5pm; $12/general, $8/students and seniors, kids under 12 are free; mvfaf.org.
Taste of Sonoma Labor Day weekend belongs to wine at this signature event from the Sonoma County Vintners group. This year’s event makes the most of its home at Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center, gathering wineries from across the region to pour hundreds of wines that can be paired by bites from dozens of local chefs. The event also hosts seminars and demonstrations that cover a wide range of wine topics to tickle the intellect and stir the imagination. You can also upgrade the experience with an optional Club Reserve package that gets you in early and intimate with local winemakers. Sept. 1, 1801 E Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park. Noon to 4pm. $180-$255. tasteofsonoma.com.
Sound Summit Mount Tamalpais State Park is the home and the beneficiary of this blowout concert hosted by Roots & Branches Conservancy. Last year’s summit raised $75,000 for the park, and this year’s event looks to be even bigger. Sept. 8. Mountain Theatre, Panoramic Hwy., Mill Valley. soundsummit.net.
Music Festival for Brain Health The most successful mental health event in the country, in terms of raising both money and awareness, returns for a 24th year of science symposiums and chart-topping songwriters. There’s also a wine tasting reception featuring several top North Bay wineries and VIP dinner and a special guest chef. Sept. 15, Staglin Family Vineyard, 1570 Bella Oaks Ln., Rutherford. Music-festival.org.