TOO COOL: Lucinda Williams pours her heart out at the Wells Fargo Center on June 24.
Hot Summer Guide
Summertime events to drink up, double down and dance those white shoes into a spin
By Mira Stauffacher and Gabe Meline
Larkspur Flower & Food Fest Bloom with pride as local gardeners bring their best flora to show off at the 22nd annual celebration of good things to look at and good things to eat. The daylong event features a schedule of flower-themed events and gourmet food exhibitions. May 29 on Magnolia Avenue, downtown Larkspur. 415.924.3803.
Auction Napa Valley Having raised more than $97 million for local nonprofits since its inception in 1981, Auction Napa Valley is a crazy big way for wine lovers and deep pockets to enjoy a party. The event, June 2-5, features all of the many different kinds of auctions, winery events, dinners, dress-up opportunities and fun that regular attendees count on. The main auction is scheduled for June 4 at Meadowood; renowned chef and TV personality Michael Chiarello creates a feast for the post-auction dinner and party. 707.963.3388. www.napavintners.com.
Summer Nights Santa Rosa's Railroad Square hosts winetasting, outdoor dining, live music on two stages and a monthly arts and crafts fair the first Friday of each month through September. Starts June 3, 6-9pm. Free; winetasting, $15. http://snrrs.com.
Forestville Youth Park The only privately owned public park in the country celebrates with plenty of barbecue, community spirit, a parade, live music and a carnival. June 3 and 5. Carnival, Friday at 3pm; parade, Saturday at 10am; festival, Saturday-Sunday. 7045 Mirabel Road, Forestville. Free. www.forestvilleyouthpark.org.
Healdsburg Jazz Festival Triumphantly returning for its 13th year after a shake-up threatened to end the excellent programming of artistic director Jessica Felix, this don't-miss, 10-day music festival delivers a straight-ahead jazz lineup of vibrant talent with Felix back at the helm, including Charlie Haden, Bobby Hutcherson, Charles Lloyd, Geri Allen, Bennie Maupin and many others. Various locations in and around Healdsburg. June 3-12. $10-$75. 707.433.4644. www.healdsburgjazzfestival.org.
Sonoma Country Music BBQ Country megastar Dierks Bentley, American Idol's Kellie Pickler, CMT winner Joe Nichols, Pete Stringfellow and McKenna Faith play an all-day country hoedown with sizzling barbecue and beer on tap from local microbreweries on up to Coors. June 4 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. 4pm. $45-$100. www.sonomacountrymusicbbq.com.
Photograph by Robin Roemer
FACE TO FACE: Julie Goldman headlines Pride Comedy Night on June 4.
Vine Art The fourth annual Vine Art event in Santa Rosa's South A Street arts district marries local artists with wineries, restaurants and great live music for what is frankly a flat-out cool event. This year, One World Band provide the tunes while open studios mark the streets and alleys of the area, and visitors grab a glass and taste and drink and dance and art-watch the evening away. June 4. $15 for winetasting.
Beerfest Eat, drink and be merry to support an excellent cause when the 20th annual Beerfest to benefit Face to Face floods the outdoor areas of the Wells Fargo Center. Tickets include all food and beer tastings and a souvenir glass. With more than 40 microbreweries, this event is a who's who of Northern California artisans. June 4, 1-5pm. 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. Twenty-one and over (alcohol till 4:30pm). $40-$45. 707.546.3600. www.f2f.org.
Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival Some 400 vintage vehicles prepare to race at the second annual Sonoma Historics, featuring the iconic McLaren as the featured marque. The race will take place at Infineon followed by a festival at Sonoma Plaza replete with wine and food tastings. Race, June 4-5; festival, evening of June 4. $20-$60. www.infineonraceway.com.
Art at the Source Over 150 artists in 84 studios throughout western Sonoma County are open to the public during two weekends, June 4-5 and 11-12. Celebrating its 17th anniversary, Art at the Source provides an opportunity to look behind the scenes, meet the artists and snap up some great deals. Maps can be found at www.artatthesource.org or at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 6780 Depot St., Sebastopol. Free. 707.829.4797.
DjangoFest Mill Valley The great French-Belgian-Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt gets a four-day blowout of fans and players presenting concerts, workshops and, yes, "djam" sessions to honor his spirit and inimitable sound. June 9-12 at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre. 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. $45-$200. 415.383.9600.
Friday Night Live The best little concert series in the best little north Sonoma County town of Cloverdale, with highlights Tommy Castro (June 10), Monophonics (July 8), Eric Lindell (Aug. 12) and the Breakestra (Sept. 2). Town Square, Main Street, Cloverdale. Free. www.cloverdaleartsalliance.org.
Harmony Festival Celebrating its 33rd anniversary as an evolutionary green music festival, this year's Harmony Fest brings Primus, the Flaming Lips, Michael Franti, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Krishna Das and many, many others. A people's parade, goddess area, sustainable learning, skateboard course and "steampunk garage" complement speakers, including Mike Farrell from the television series M*A*S*H. Basically the biggest festival in the region, it runs June 10-12, Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. Presale tix still available online; camping available. $45-$180. www.harmonyfestival.com.
Fairfax Festival Never one to say no to a party, Fairfax celebrates its 34th festival, a gentle riot of live music, great food and nice folks. Look also for the Fairfax Ecofest within the fest, as well as organic goods, art, music, kids' area, flea market and more. Parade, 10am on June 11; festival, June 11-12 from noon. Downtown Fairfax. Free. www.fairfaxfestival.com.
Novato Festival of Art, Wine & Music Two-day live music fest features area crafters, good things to eat and drink including a wine garden, and live music on two stages. Musical highlights include Carlene Carter (June 11) and Wonderbread 5 (June 12). Children's area complete with petting zoo, bounce house and pony and train rides. Saturday-Sunday, June 11-12. Old Town Novato, on Grant, between Redwood Avenue and Seventh Street. Free. 415.472.1553.
Sierra Nevada World Music Fest Slightly outside the North Bay but of avid interest to locals is this three-day roots reggae and world-music festival at Booneville's Mendocino County Fairgrounds, running this year June 17-19. Acts include Toots & the Maytals, Steel Pulse, Ozomatli, Rebelution, Midnite, and many others, plus late-night dancehall. All three days, $150; one day, $60-$70; limited camping available. 916.777.5550. www.snwmf.com.
Cotati Jazz Festival The "biggest little jazz festival" celebrates its 31st anniversary with food, music and fun. This free, all-day event encompasses every musical and nonmusical venue in downtown Cotati with the main acts slated for La Plaza Park. Performers include the Keith Andrew Band, Gumbo West, the Gomez Counter Band and a bit of local flavor with the Tracy Rose Quartet of Petaluma. Check individual venues for bookings. June 18. www.cotatijazz.com.
Rodney Strong Concert Series The 21st annual KJZY Summer Concert Series in the sunny grasslands behind the Rodney Strong winery kicks off its season with Rick Braun and Peter White (June 18), Euge Groove and Mindi Abair (July 23), Pat Benatar and guitarist Neil Giraldo (Aug. 7) and Chris Botti (Sept. 4). Rodney Strong Vineyards, 11455 Old Redwood Hwy., Healdsburg. $50-$150. 707.869.1595.
Marin Art Festival This "lawn party for the arts" features over 250 artists by the Lagoon in the Marin Civic Center in a two-day outdoor party that includes international food, live music, fine wine and brews, and more. In addition to paintings, jewelry and sculptures, patrons can enjoy a wide variety of Cajun, Greek and French fare. June 18-19, Lagoon Park, at the Marin Center, Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. $10; under 14, free. 415.388.0151. www.marinartfestival.com.
Sonoma-Marin Fair The world's ugliest dogs appear and a hundred tons of metal collide in the destruction derby, with carnival rides, fair food and more. The musical lineup includes the soulful rhythm of Tower of Power (June 22), pop-rock artist Rick Springfield, best known for his hit song "Jessie's Girl" (June 23), the Charlie Daniels Band (June 24) and classic rockers Blue Oyster Cult and Foghat (June 25). The Fiesta Latina buttons it up on June 26. Sonoma-Marin Fair, Petaluma Fairgrounds, two blocks west of East Washington Exit, Petaluma. June 23-26. Noon to midnight. $8-$19; includes rides; under three, free. www.sonoma-marinfair.org.
Kate Wolf Memorial Music festival A fantastic lineup hails this festival's 16th year honoring the work of late singer-songwriter Kate Wolf. Artist highlights include performances by Los Lobos, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Mavis Staples and Taj Mahal. Plan to camp. June 24-26. Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville. Full festival pass, including three nights camping, is $155-$170. Discounted tickets available online through May 25. Daily tickets available, $25-$65. Under six, free. www.cumuluspresents.com.
Mill Valley Wine & Gourmet Food Tasting Now in its 30th year, this event was founded by Jim Canepa, the late owner of Mill Valley Market, and has evolved over the years into a fest noted for its large selection of boutique wines and new food trends. Live music, too! June 26 at Depot Plaza, downtown Mill Valley. 1-4pm. 415.388.9700. www.millvalley.org.
Marin County Fair "Golden Gate Bridge: Celebrating 75 Years" is the theme of the 66th annual Marin County Fair, and, as always, the music and fine art are stellar, with fireworks ending every night. Things kick off with rock icons Three Dog Night (June 30) and the vibe turns reggae with Toots and The Maytals (July 1). Latin group Ozomatli brings the hip-hop and salsa (July 2), the Pointer Sisters jump for your love (July 3) and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band play an appropriate date (July 4). June 30-July 4. Marin County Fairgrounds, adjacent to the Marin Center, Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. $13-$15; under four, free; June 30, 12 and under, free. 415.499.6400. www.marinfair.org.
FOREST FLOWER: Charles Lloyd raises spirits with Zakir Hussain and Eric Harland at the Healdsburg Jazz Festival on June 10 at the Raven Theater.
Napa Valley Art & Music Festival Nearly a hundred artists, live music and wine are promised at this first-annual fete with popular street trucks Dim Sum Charlie's, La Texanita, Street Eatz and more. July 1-3 at Trinchero Family Estate, 100 St. Helena Hwy., St. Helena. $5-$30. www.nvamf.org.
B.R. Cohn Winery Charity Car Classic Now in its third year, this free event with live music, an auction and raffle takes place Sunday, July 3, and features a classic-car exhibit that includes handpicked vintage, rare, sport and collectable cars. Pre-registration is required for those showing off their classic car. Space is limited. Donation proceeds benefit the Redwood Empire Food Bank of Santa Rosa. 15000 Hwy. 12 in Glen Ellen. 707.938.4064, ext. 136.
13th Annual San Rafael Twilight Criterium Downtown San Rafael is transformed into a bike racetrack as pros take over the main downtown streets. Look for an expo on Fourth Street and plenty of kids' stuff. July 9. www.srtwilight.com.
Summer Nights Festival Live music highlights in summer months include Hot Buttered Rum (July 9), Plena Libre (July 16), Rupa & the April Fishes (July 30) and Thomas Mapfumo (Aug. 6); dinner from Sol Food, Roadside BBQ and more. Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. $5-$25. www.marinjcc.org.
Mondavi Winery Summer Music Fest The 42nd edition of this festival includes a fresh lineup with acoustic singer-songwriter Colbie Calillat (July 9), behind-the-scenes hit maker David Foster with Ruben Studdard, Babyface and others (July 16), Chris Isaak (July 23) and the Winemaker of the Year Concert with K. D. Lang and the Siss Boom Bang (July 30). Highway 29, Oakville. Dinner available. $65-$195. 888.RMWJAZZ. www.robertmondaviwinery.com.
Fifth Street Share Fair The Share Exchange and Fifth Street merchants give props to overlooked downtown artery with crafters, makers, artists, music, food, tool exchange and more. First-annual fest gets underway July 10 on Fifth Street in downtown Santa Rosa. Free. www.santarosa5thstreet.com.
Fifth Annual Festival del Sole An astounding success in fine music, the Festival del Sole is back with a flourish July 15-24. The slate includes the return of festival favorite and violinist Sarah Chang, a David Foster and friends charity concert featuring Ruben Studdard and Babyface, cellist Nina Kotova, youth ensembles, festive meals and much more. Tickets run from free to $115. At various venues. www.festivaldelsole.com.
KWMR Sixth Annual Far West Fest Voted best music festival in Marin County, this annual green festival on July 16 boasts two stages with several genres including funk, blues, country, rock and experimental. 11am to 7pm. Love Field, 11191 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Point Reyes Station. www.kwmr.org.
Rootstock Wine, food trucks, street eats and live music round out this first-annual festival at Santa Rosa Vintners' Square. Contests, a "bustaurant" and six live bands kick it off on July 16 at Santa Rosa Vintners' Square, 1301 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa. $35-$45. www.rootstockfestival.com.
Reggae on the River Annual festival features Ky-Mani Marley, Gramps Morgan, Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80, J Boog, Tony Rebel, Queen Ifrica, Bushman, Gondwana, Rootz Underground and more. July 16-17 at Benbow Lake, Garberville. 707.923.3368.
San Anselmo Art & Wine Festival Over 60,000 folks converge on downtown San Anselmo each year—hungry, thirsty, craft-starved folks. As usual, a section of the fest will include over 200 artists and their various works. There will also be food booths, wine, a merchant marketplace, an emphasis on live music and a kids' area. July 16-17. San Anselmo Avenue between Bolinas and Tamalpais streets. 10am-6pm. 415.454.2510.
Catalan Festival The fastest possible trip to Barcelona, the annual festival at Gloria Ferrer features live flamenco guitarists and dancers, the winery's own sparkling wine and tastings from many Spanish-influenced eateries, along with cooking demonstrations. July 23-24. Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves, 23555 Carneros Hwy., Sonoma. $42.50-$50; under five, free. 707.996.7256. www.gloriaferrer.com.
ScooterRosa Annual fest of all things two-wheeled and scooter-ific, including group rides around the county, scooter games, prizes, music, food, beer and, according to event organizers, "selective nudity." Hell, yes! July 23-24. Stewarded by Revolution Moto, 518 College Ave., Santa Rosa. 707.523.2371.
Sonoma County Fair Celebrating 75 years, the fair runs July 27-Aug. 14 with the theme "Diamond Jubilee," offering the largest themed flower show in the country and more horse racing, rodeos, destruction derbies, Farmers Day activities than you can shake a 4-H kid at. Separate admission is required for country star Trace Adkins (Aug. 11), Huey Lewis & the News (Aug. 9) the ever-popular rodeo (July 29-30) and more headliners to be confirmed. Redwood Theater shows, featuring mostly local acts, are free with fair admission. "A Stroll Down Memory Lane" is the flower-show theme, kicking off with a preview on July 26. 1375 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. www.sonomacountyfair.com.
Rivertown Revival Petaluma's answer to the Handcar Regatta, the Rivertown Revival honors Petaluma's woefully underloved waterway replete with art boat races, a deliciously mysterious "river monster" and a whole DIY art fair aesthetic that this year salutes an old-timey Coney Island feel. The Crux, Huckle, Smokehouse Gamblers, the Frey and Jug Town Pirates are confirmed for this fundraiser. July 30, 11am to 6pm, at McNear Landing (Steamer Landing parking lot, follow the trail). www.rivertownrevival.com.
BADONKADONK: Trace Adkins serenades the country-lovin' hot mamas at the Sonoma County Fair on Aug. 11.
Gaia Festival Three-day festival of sustainable living and live music, with India.Arie, the Wailers, the Funky Meters, Aaron Neville, Galactic, Toubab Krewe, DJ Cheb I Sabbah and others, running Aug. 5-7. Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville. 415.256.8499.
West of West Wine Festival Barrel tastings, dinners, a hog feast at the Union Hotel, seminars and more transform Occidental into a wine lover's destination for this inaugural fest running Aug. 5-7. Various locations around Occidental. $20-$375. 888.878.9645.
San Rafael Food & Wine Festival The Falkirk Cultural Center hosts the fourth annual San Rafael Food and Wine Festival with 25 regional wineries, local brew folks and plenty of food purveyors. What would wine be without art and music? Plan for Aug. 13 at the Falkirk Cultural Center,1408 Mission Ave., San Rafael. $25, all-day food and winetasting; $15, food only. 800.310.6563.
Napa Valley Art Festival This juried art exhibit and sale features 27 representational artists from the around the country, and finds guests sipping on Napa Valley wines and other delicacies while listening to live music. Aug. 20 at the Yountville Community Center, 6516 Washington St. (at Yount Street), Yountville. 707.256.3828. www.napavalleyartfestival.com.
Cotati Accordion Festival Use an accordion—go to Cotati! This year marks the 21st festival of keys and bellows. Polkacide, Those Darn Accordions, Culann's Hounds and many others carry on the spirit of the late Jim Boggio ending with giant "Lady of Spain" play-along. Aug. 21-22. La Plaza Park, Cotati. $15-$25; under 15, free. 707.664.0444. www.cotatifest.com.
Seafood Art & Wine Festival Bodega Bay celebrates for the 17th time with seafood and music. This event showcases the best of California's wineries and breweries, artists and craftspeople and, of course, the legendary rubber duck races. Benefits Stewards of the Coasts and Redwoods and the Bodega Volunteer Fire Department. Aug. 27-28. 16855 Bodega Hwy., just east of the town of Bodega. $8-$12; under 12, free. No dogs this year. 707.824.8717. www.winecountryfestivals.com.
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Three-day foodie lovefest, Sept. 2-4, features the 32nd annual Taste of Sonoma (Sept. 3) at MacMurray Ranch, various winery lunches and dinners (Sept. 2-3), and Sonoma Valley Wine Auction (Sept. 4). For details and tickets, see www.sonomawinecountryweekend.com.
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