Has it finally stopped raining? Really? That must mean that summer is near and it wouldn’t be summer without our Hot Summer Guide, your official program to all the music, festivals, art shows and fun that summer in the North Bay has to offer.
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 Imagine Dragons, Mumford & Sons and Neil freakin’ Young while you savor the best Napa Valley food and wine. May 24–26 at the Napa Valley Expo Center. 575 Third St., Napa. bottlerocknapavalley.com.
The Mountain Play Marin’s magical outdoor theater experience is currently performing the musical smash Grease under a canopy of trees on Mount Tamalpais on Sundays through June 16 and is offering a special sing-along performance on Saturday, Jun 8. Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre, 801 Panoramic Hwy., Mill Valley. $20-$45. 415.383.1100.
Ross Valley Players The players wrap up their 88th season with two productions. “Moll Flanders,” a stirring drama adapted from Daniel Defoe’s 1722 novel, is playing through June 16. Then, “Crimes of the Heart” runs from July 12–Aug 11. 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 weekend started with Friday Night Jazz concerts 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, 6pm; Sundays, 12:30pm. Free. 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 Trio, on tour from Greece, who will be playing throughout the weekend, and multiple appearances by the award-winning Minoan Greek Dancers on Saturday and Sunday. May 24-26. Nativity of Christ Greek Orthodox Church, 1110 Highland Dr., Novato. 11am to 10pm each day. Free admission Friday. $5 for adults and $4 for seniors. Children under 12 are free. nativityofchrist.org/festival.
Novato Theater Company The long-time Marin theater company’s current production finds several middle-aged James Dean fanatics coming together in the surreal drama Come Back to the Five & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, running through Jun 9. Then the theater offers a summer workshop for young people Jun 24 to Jul 3, culminating in a performance of The Wizard of Oz. In September, the company opens its next season with The Humans, directed by Pat Nims. 5420 Nave Dr., Novato. novatotheatercompany.org.
Muir Beach Volunteer Firemen’s Barbecue Forty-seventh annual festive firemen’s fundraiser is perfect the whole family with delicious food, activities for the kids and music from André Pessis & his Allstars and Soul Ska. May 26 at Santos Meadows, Frank Valley Rd., Muir Beach. Noon-5pm. Free attendance/$20 parking. Muirbeachfire.com.
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 the Blues Broads and Sons of the Soul Revivers, Tommy Castro & the Painkillers, the Zydeco Flames, ”Uncle” Willie K and Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio performing alongside some of the tastiest BBQ this side of the Mississippi River. Every Sunday starting May 26, 1 Old Rancheria Rd., Nicasio. Gates at 3pm, music at 4pm. $20-$40. 415.662.2219.
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 the streets enjoying live music by the likes of Neon Velvet and the Flaming O’s, wine tastings and more. Last Friday of the month, May 31 through Sept 27. Main St, Tiburon. 6pm to 9pm. Free. 415.435.5633.
Jazz & Blues by the Bay Sausalito’s summertime series is becoming the stuff of legends, with headlining acts like Maria Muldaur & Her Red Hot Bluesiana Band, the Dylan Black Project, Blues Defenders, Gator Nation and others performing on the waterfront with breath-taking views of the Bay. Fridays, May 31–Aug 23. Gabrielson Park, Sausalito. 6:30pm. Free admission. jazzandbluesbythebay.com.
Parachute Days West Marin community project, which takes the form of a multi-purpose venue built in a scenic open area, holds several concert events over the summer, including a Western Weekend kick-off show featuring Green Leaf Rustlers, the supergroup that comprises Chris Robinson, Barry Sless, Pete Sears, John Molo and Greg Loiacono on Friday, May 31. Other cool concerts include Cass McCombs playing with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Hand Habits and others on Jul 6 and rockers Allah-Las on Aug 3. Love Field, Point Reyes Station. parachutedays.com.
Western Weekend A community fiesta at Toby’s Feed Barn and a concert from outlaw country legends the Haggards at the Old Western Saloon kick off the 65th annual weekend on Saturday, Jun 1, before the agricultural celebration holds a parade and party featuring more music, food and other activities on Sunday, Jun 2, at several venues in Point Reyes Station. Saturday, 5pm fiesta, 9pm concert; Sunday, noon parade. 415.663.1223.
Altered Book Exhibit & Benefit The book becomes art at MarinMOCA’s 10th annual fundraiser, where 180 original book art objects, crafted by artists who combine compelling messages with creative technique, are auctioned off in a gala party on Saturday, Jun 1, at MarinMOCA, 500 Palm Dr., Novato. 5pm. 415.506.0137.
Novato Concerts on the Green Dynamic soul-rock band Sunny & the Black Pack kicks off this year’s concert series on Jun 1, which takes over downtown Novato’s Civic Green every first and third Saturday of June, July and August. High-powered acts like Barrio Manouche, Kingsborough and others are also on the schedule and Novato’s Hamilton Amphitheater hosts three “Hot Amphitheater Nights” with Element Brass Band on Jun 29, the Illeagles on Jul 27 and the Ha on Aug 31. 5pm. Free admission. novato.org.
Mill Valley Wine & Gourmet Food Tasting Thirty-eighth annual fundraiser is looking more exciting and delicious than ever and features wine from more than 65 premium wineries, fine craft beers from 15 breweries and food from nearly 30 food purveyors and 12 local restaurants and chefs. Proceeds benefit local nonprofits. Jun 2 at Depot Plaza. 85 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 1–4pm. $55 and up. Age 21 and over. 415.388.9700.
Cookout Concert Series Bay Area booker and promoter KC Turner hosts this sixth annual summer concert lineup featuring some of the top folk, roots and rock performers out there. The series opens with the mother-daughter collaboration between Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright on Sunday, Jun 2. Other confirmed artists include Blame Sally and Peter Mulvey on Jun 9, Bill Kirchen on Jun 30, Birds of Chicago on Jul 21 and John Doe and Robbie Fulks on Aug 25 among many others. The cookout concerts happen in the beer garden of HopMonk Tavern, 224 Vintage Way, Novato.5pm doors, $25 and up; kids 3 and under are free. kcturnerpresents.com.
Fairfax Festival & EcoFest Marin’s premier community party turns 42 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, kid’s 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 8–9, 142 Bolinas Rd., Fairfax. fairfaxfestival.com.
Novato Festival of Art, Wine & Music Thirty-sixth 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 Danny Click & the Hell Yeahs on Saturday and the Marin All Stars on Sunday. There’s also a kid’s area with art projects, petting zoo, train rides and more. June 8–9 at Old Town Novato, Grant between Redwood Avenue and Seventh Street. 10am. Free admission. 415.472.1553.
The Dipsea Race The oldest trail race in America turns 109 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 9. 8:30am dipsea.org.
Summer Sunday Concerts at Piccolo Pavilion Lawn chairs and blankets will dot Corte Madera Square, as the pavilion hosts music from popular North Bay acts like the Tim Hockenberry Trio, Trace Repeat, Soul Mechanix, Bubba’s Taxi and many others. Sundays, Jun 9–Aug 25. Old Corte Madera Square, Redwood Ave., Corte Madera. 5pm. Free. cortemaderacommunityfoundation.org.
Marin Theatre Company The ambitious and innovative company hosts a special summer show this year with the world premiere of Wink, a dark comedy about the thin line between savagery and civilization that is told from the point of view of a cat, Jun 13–Jul 7. In September, the company’s 2019/2020 season opens with Sovereignty, written by Mary Kathryn Nagle and directed by Jasson Minadakis. 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley. 415.388.5200.
Creekside Fridays Fourteenth annual concert series offers a rustic, throwback vibe and local bands like Marble Party, Juke Joint, and Dead Again. Fridays, Jun 14–Aug 9. 60 Tennessee Valley Rd (park at Tam Valley Community Center, 203 Marin Drive), Mill Valley. 6:30pm. Free. tcsd.us.
Sweetwater Music Hall Dance the summer away with a lineup that hits the sweetest spots. The Garcia Project performs a classic Jerry concert on Jun 15, the New Mastersounds spend two nights in town on Jul 6-7 and the excellent all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band Zepparella settles in for rocking two nights Jul 19-20. Denny Laine & the Moody Wings Band plays the hits on Aug 26 and many other concerts fill the summer schedule at 19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley. 415.388.3850.
Belvedere Concerts in the Park The series celebrates its 22nd year of live music in the gazebo of the small community park with a Father’s Day concert featuring Super Diamond on Jun 16, swing stars Vintage Jukebox Orchestra on Jul 14, dance band Pop Fiction on Aug 11 and Beatles’ cover stars the Sun Kings on Sept 1. Bring a picnic and be ready to dance the day away at Belvedere Park, San Rafael Avenue and Community Road, Belvedere. 3:30pm. belvedereconcerts.org.
MarinScapes Don’t miss the 31stst annual fine art exhibit and sale that benefits Marin recovery agency Buckelew Programs. The Reimagined event includes an exhibit, “The Invented Landscape,” curated by the renowned Seager/Gray Gallery of Mill Valley, the much beloved gala dinner and live auction, and other artsy offerings Jun 20–23, at Escalle Winery, 771 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur. buckelew.org.
Marin Pride Picnic Hosted by Marin’s non-profit LGBTQ community agency the Spahr Center, this annual gathering offers a free lunch, art projects, raffles and a bounce house for the kids. Jun 22 at Piper Park, 250 Doherty Dr., Larkspur. Noon to 3pm. Free admission. the spahrcenter.org.
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 Jun 28 and continue on Jul 12, Aug 9 and Aug 23. Marinwood Park, 775 Miller Creek Rd., San Rafael. 6pm. Free admission. marinwood.org.
Marin County Fair The theme of this year’s summer mainstay is “Over the Moon,” with exhibits, baked goods and culinary contests from around the world, global photography, and classics like carnival rides, midway attractions, concerts from headliners like Dwight Yoakam, Steel Pulse, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and Cheap Trick. And every night is fireworks night when the fair runs Jul 3–7 at the Marin County Fairgrounds, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 11am to 11pm every day. $13–$15; under four, free. marinfair.org.
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 10tenth annual concert series, with Pride & Joy kicking off the fun on Jul 12. Other bands include Caravanserai, the Sun Kings and Petty Theft performing every other Friday through Aug 16, 5800 Northgate Mall, San Rafael. Music starts at 6pm. shopatnorthgate.com.
Downtown San Rafael Hops & Vines Stroll Inaugural event features numerous new and established San Rafael breweries, bars and restaurants and also merchants and businesses offering wine and beer tastings inside their stores. Tickets include a tasting glass and a map, letting participants stroll at their leisure on Jul 13, Court Street Plaza, 1000 Fourth St., San Rafael. 2pm. $25-$30. sresproductions.com.
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 Neo-soul group Midtown Social on Jul 13 and features Afro-Cuban star Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca on Jul 20, Marin rocker Danny Click & the Hell Yeahs on Jul 27 and Latin big band Pacific Mambo Orchestra on Aug 3. Families will love that kids 17 and under are free and a kid’s 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.
Larkspur Wine Stroll Take it easy at this eighth annual stroll that boasts local vino paired with window shopping and socializing. July 20, Magnolia Ave., Larkspur. 5pm. $20, includes commemorative wine glass. 21 and over only. larkspurchamber.org/wine-stroll.
The Breastfest Beer Festival Benefit 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 20, at the Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 1pm. $65. thebreastfest.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 27. Fourth and C streets, San Rafael. sanrafaelsunset.com.
Nostalgia Days Cruise & Car Show 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 bands, lots of food and drink, and thousands of visitors on hand on Aug 2-3 along Grant Avenue between Redwood Blvd and 7th St., Novato. Friday night cruise begins at 6pm; Saturday car show is at 10am. Free admission. 415.599.6880.
Mill Valley Concerts on the Plaza Bring your lawn chairs and get in the summer groove at free concerts on Sundays, starting Aug 4, at Mill Valley’s Downtown Plaza, 2pm. Free. millvalleyrecreation.org.
San Rafael Art & Wine Festival Located on the 11-acre grounds of the historic 1888 Queen Anne Victorian Falkirk Cultural Center, the festival features live music, wine tasting from regional wineries, beer samples from local Brewers, a festive food truck selection, arts and crafts and more on Aug 10, 1408 Mission Ave., San Rafael. 11am. $25-$30. Sresproductions.com.
Sausalito Art Festival One of the most prestigious art events in the country returns to the Sausalito waterfront for a 67th 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. Aug 31 to Sept 2, Marinship Park, Sausalito. 415.332.3555.