It's that time again. It's summertime! Well, almost. In anticipation of long days and warm nights, we present our annual Hot Summer Guide to help you make most of the season from May to September.
Sonoma Arts Live Community-produced musicals and plays take center stage at this series of performances. The smash hit comedy Calendar Girls runs through May 29. The suspenseful Venus in Fur plays over four nights only, June 16–19. A musical version of a classic tale comes to life when Helen of Egypt runs June 30–July 17, and Broadway favorite The Fantasticks plays Aug. 25–Sept. 11. Performances take place at the Rotary Stage in Andrews Hall at the Sonoma Community Center, 276 E. Napa St., Sonoma. Sonomaartslive.org.
Free Concerts at Montgomery Village Santa Rosa's Montgomery Village Shopping Center offers a free, three-month-long music series. Look for afternoon and evening shows with bands and performers like Caravanserai, Jess Petty, Sh-Boom, Paperback Writer and others. May 22 through October. 707.545.3844. Mvshops.com.
Uptown Theatre's Summer Lineup Downtown Napa's hottest venue spot welcomes an array of performers to its landmark stage, starting with a BottleRock preview featuring Cheech & Chong (May 26) and a bevy of festival aftershows, including the Pharcyde (May 27), Gogol Bordello (May 28) and Rodrigo y Gabriela (May 30). The rest of the summer is chock-full as well, with singer Judy Collins appearing on July 1, Lyle Lovett & His Large Band playing on July 6, standup icon Brian Regan on July 14 and folk legend Art Garfunkel on Sept. 16. 1350 Third St., Napa. 707.259.0123.
Ross Valley Players Operating since 1930, the players wrap up their exciting 86th season with two popular productions. The evocative Anna in the Tropics, running May 27–June 19, won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in drama. And the action-packed Robin Hood plays July 16–Aug. 7. Productions take place at the Barn Theatre, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross. $29; seniors, $25; kids $14. 415.456.9555.
Funky Fridays For the past three years, the grassroots concert series Funky Fridays has offered family-friendly concerts at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, yet last year the organization outgrew its original location. Thankfully, Funky Fridays found a new home this year, a mansion to be exact. Now the weekly summer series brings popular North Bay bands like the Bruthas (May 27), Second Line (June 24) and Volker Strifler (Aug. 19) every Friday through Sept. 2 to Hood Mansion, North Pythian Road off Highway 12, Santa Rosa. Doors at 5:30pm. $10; kids under 18, free. funkyfridays.info.
BottleRock Napa Valley The biggest concert festival to hit Napa brings headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Wonder, Florence + the Machine and others to town. May 27–29 at the Napa Valley Expo Center. 575 Third St., Napa. Sold-out. bottlerocknapavalley.com.
Oysterpalooza Celebrate the bivalve by eating everything oyster, with a heavy bent on the cuisine of New Orleans. Live music by the Bootleg Honeys, Abalone Grey, Vintage Grass and others. May 28 at Rocker Oysterfeller's. 14415 Hwy. 1, Valley Ford. Noon. $10–$20 (does not include food). 707.876.1983.
Live at Lagunitas Everyone's favorite Sonoma County brewery has lots of music on tap this summer in its Petaluma amphitheaterette. Starting out the season is spirited songwriter Langhorne Slim with his band the Law (May 30). The rest of the schedule boasts some of the hottest indie rock and folk acts, like Thao & the Get Down Stay Down on July 19, Deer Tick on Aug. 9, Blind Pilot on Aug. 15 and many others. 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. lagunitas.com/live.
Sonoma County Pride Celebration What's not to love about 29 years of Russian River pride? This year's festivities start on Thursday, June 2, with an LGBTQI film festival at the Rio Theater and continue through June 5 with events during Guerneville's First Friday Art Walk, a pool party and beer bust on Saturday, and the pride parade and festival taking place on Sunday. Downtown Guerneville. sonomacountypride.org.
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 Lady Antebellum, the Band Perry, Billy Currington and local phenom McKenna Faith. June 3–5, at Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. One-day passes start at $79. 707.543.0100. countrysummer.com.
Healdsburg Jazz Festival Sound the trumpets and walk that bass right on up to Healdsburg for the 18th annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival. There are over a dozen concerts scheduled, and this year features a tribute to drummer Billy Hart, with two performances by the legendary musician and his current band. Concerts take place June 3–12 at various locations in and around Healdsburg. Prices vary. 707.433.4633. healdsburgjazzfestival.org.
Luther Burbank Center for the Arts Summer Shows The newly rechristened LBC brings some of the biggest names in music and comedy to the stage this summer, starting with a sidesplitting night of laughs with comedian and actress Lily Tomlin on June 4. The rest of the season includes Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Chicago (June 26), Kenny Rogers' final world tour (June 28), Lyle Lovett & His Large Band (July 7), Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons (July 19), comedian George Lopez (July 22) and guitarists Jeff Beck (Aug. 17) and Peter Frampton (Aug. 23). 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 707.546.3600. lutherburbankcenter.org.
Art at the Source More than 160 artists in dozens of studios throughout western Sonoma County open their space to the public for an interactive art experience during two weekends, June 4–5 and 11–12. Maps can be found at artatthesource.org or at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 S. High St., Sebastopol. Free. 707.829.4797.
California Beer Festival This traveling festival expands into a two-day extravaganza that pits brewmasters against each other for the benefit of the beer-loving public. Saturday is a craft-beer heaven of tastings, and Sunday gets fun with family activities and live entertainment on hand while Golden State brewers bring their finest ales, stouts, porters, pilsners, saisons, lagers and more. June 4-5 at Stafford Lake. Novato Boulevard, Novato. 12:30–5pm. $12–$75. californiabeerfestival.com/marin.
Railroad Square Music Festival North Bay Hootenanny hosts a day of local music and community. The Easy Leaves headline and release their new EP at the show. Other highlights include the West End Farmers Market in the morning, performances from Royal Jelly Jive, the Dixie Giants and many others, a shop party with local vendors, food, beer and wine, art and fun for all. June 5 at Railroad Square, Fourth and Wilson streets, Santa Rosa. 9am to 8pm. Free admission. railroadsquaremusicfestival.com.
Napa Live: Inside & Out A music crawl through Napa debuts with venues inside and out offering music by more than 40 live bands and performers, while shops open their doors and restaurants provide food and drinks. There's music in parks, on patios and at plazas with names like Shelby Lanterman, Full Chizel, the LoWatters, Funktapus and many others hitting stages throughout downtown Napa on June 5, noon to 6pm. Free admission. 707.257.0322.
Summer Sundays at Goose & Gander Live music, cocktails and food fill the garden space, as bands like Lonesome Locomotive, Free Peoples, Dixie Giants and many others play weekly, June 5–Sept. 4, at Goose & Gander, 1245 Spring St., St. Helena. 1pm. Free admission. 707.967.8779.
Napa Valley Jazz Getaway Fifth annual event features an incredible lineup of jazz and R&B artists, including Michael McDonald, Fourplay, Gerald Albright, Jonathan Butler, Mint Condition, and the Temptations featuring the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway Horn Section. June 8-12, at various locations throughout Napa Valley. jazzgetaway.com.
Peggy Sue's All-American Cruise Hundreds of classic, stock and custom all-American cars will be on display with vendors, food pop-up bars and live music happening in Rohnert park on June 10–11, then those classic cars roam downtown Santa Rosa in the evening of the 11th to show off for families and car lovers. Sonoma Mountain Village, 1400 Valley House Drive, Rohnert Park. cruiseforpeggysue.com.
Huichica Festival Two days of music, food and wine features a lineup that includes veteran and rising stars like Mystic Braves, Dengue Fever, Silver Apples, Giant Sand and Fruit Bats. Amazing culinary options from Farmshop, Zuzu, Ramen Gaijin and plenty of beer and wine round out the weekend. June 10–11 at Gundlach Bundschu Winery. 2000 Denmark St., Sonoma. $40–$90. Kids 12 and under are free. 707.938.5277. huichica.com.
Creativity Jam Napa's nonprofit arts group Nimbus hosts this sixth annual day of art and entertainment for kids and the kid in us all. Local artists lead a variety of projects and performers like renowned puppet troupe Magical Moonshine Theatre dazzle audiences on June 12 at the di Rosa galleries and grounds, 5200 Sonoma Hwy., Napa. 11am to 3pm. $10–$20, kids under 3 are free. dirosaart.org.
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. On the schedule this year are This Magic Moment, with standards and showstoppers (June 17–July 3); Fantastical Family Night (July 15–16), Dance the Night Away, with a toe-tapping cast performing moving music (Aug. 5–21); and the Gala Celebration (Sept. 9–11) in the outdoor winery ruins at Jack London State Park. 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen. Pre-show picnics at 5pm; concerts begin at 7:30pm. 877.424.1414. transcendencetheatre.org.
Sierra Nevada World Music Fest The world is a big place, so a world-music festival, by default, must also be big. This festival doesn't disappoint, with dozens of musical acts and a summer solstice celebration. Artists at this year's festival Don Carlos, Lee "Scratch" Perry and others. June 17–19 at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds, Boonville. $60–$175. 916.777.5550. snwmf.com.
Rodney Strong Concert Series The 26th annual live music series in the sunny grasslands behind the vineyard features adult contemporary favorites and music legends. This year's lineup includes Boney James (June 18), Smokey Robinson (July 23), Huey Lewis & the News (Aug. 21) and others. Rodney Strong Vineyards, 11455 Old Redwood Hwy., Healdsburg. 5pm. $89–$129. 800.514.3849.
Stumptown Daze Parade Join the friends of Stumptown Brewery and the Russian River Chamber of Commerce for the 70th annual parade, a time-honored tradition that celebrates the opening of the summer season on the river. June 18, downtown Guerneville. 11am. russianriver.com.
Downtown Upstairs Comedy Sonoma County comic Juan Carlos performs his new show, "The Comedian: Life and Times on Moorland Avenue." June 18, El Palomar Mexican Restaurant, 623 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. 8pm.
Grill 116 Eat and vote when Taste Route 116 presents friendly grill competitions happening at over a dozen local vineyards. June 18 at various locations between Sebastopol and Forestville. $10–$45. tasteroute116.com.
Cotati Jazz Festival Share in an afternoon of music, food, beer and dancing in the town's 36th annual festival. This event encompasses several venues in downtown Cotati with main acts slated for La Plaza Park, Downtown Cotati. June 19. Noon–6pm. Free. cotatijazz.com.
Sonoma-Marin Fair This year's music lineup features Tower of Power (June 22), Joe Nichols (June 23), Hinder (June 24) and country music star LeAnn Rimes (June 25). Don't forget the classics too: the world's ugliest dog contest, the destruction derby, carnival rides, fair food and livestock. The fair runs June 22–26, at Petaluma Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma. Noon to midnight. $15, adults; $10, kids and seniors; under three, free. sonoma-marinfair.org.
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 23, Cajun-zydeco partiers the Wild Catahoulas on July 14, outlaw-country jammers Poor Man's Whiskey on Aug 4. and others. Concerts in the park take place every Thursday, June 23–Aug. 25, at Pioneer Park, 1308 Cedar St., Calistoga. 6:30pm. Free admission. visitcalistoga.com.
Kate Wolf Music Festival This festival always draws excellent musical acts to honor the work of the late singer-songwriter it's named for. This year includes performances by Harry Belafonte, Neko Case, k.d. lang, Trampled by Turtles, the Head & the Heart, Calexico and many others. Camping is the best way to experience this festival. June 23–26 at Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville. $45–$325; children under 10, free. katewolfmusicfestival.com.
Russian River Valley Experience & Somm Challenge A twist on the previous Passport event, this weekend experience lets you visit five convenient Russian River neighborhoods, where six or more wineries will gather to share wine, food and more. There's also a special sommelier dinner happening at Sonoma-Cutrer, where three top somms pair with five top chefs, and you judge the culinary results. June 24–26, throughout Russian River Valley. $65; $195 dinner tickets. rrvw.org.
Days of Wine & Lavender You're invited to sip whites and reds among the blooming fields of lavender at the hillside winery. The 20th annual event also offers food pairings and live music too. June 25 at Matanzas Creek Winery. 6097 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. Noon–4pm. $90–$125. Matanzascreek.com.
Small Town Comedy Festival Popular standup comedians from around the country descend upon Healdsburg once again for this fun, funny festival, hosted by Sonoma Cider. The comedy hits several spots on June 25 and gathers at the Sonoma Cider warehouse space, turned into an awesome venue complete with food trucks and live bands in between laughs on June 26, 30 Mill St., Healdsburg. $20–$25. smalltowncomedyfestival.com.
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. On June 30, self-described "hippie soul" singer Allen Stone hits the stage with support from Bay Area rockers the Monophonics. Things get spacey on July 10, when the greatest Pink Floyd tribute show on the planet, Brit Floyd, play as part of their "Space & Time Continuum" world tour. Dynamic alternative rock singer Grace Potter plays on July 22, and reggae stars UB40 and the Wailers share the stage on July 27. There's also the annual Earle Fest bringing Lucinda Williams to the North Bay on Sept. 17. 1100 Valley House Drive, Rohnert Park. somoconcerts.com.
Marin County Fair This year's 75th annual fair gathers art, agriculture and community for the theme "What a Ride!" In addition to traditional fair exhibits and events, concerts this year include the Wallflowers, Kool & the Gang, Sheila E, Plain White T's and Foreigner. June 30–July 4 at the Marin County Fairgrounds, adjacent to the Marin Center. Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. $13–$15; under four, free. 415.499.6400. marinfair.org.
Shakespeare in the Cannery Santa Rosa's outdoor theater experience, set in the brick ruins of a former canning warehouse in the Railroad Square district, returns for a third season and expands from one production into two. First up, the cannery players present Macbeth, July 1–23. Then, the cannery produces a new play by Sonoma County playwright David Beckman, The Plot Against Shakespeare, running Aug. 12–27. Set in 1600s London, the play finds Shakespeare suffering from writer's block when his own characters come to life and join forces to help the Bard create again—or kill him trying. 3 West Third St., Santa Rosa. Shows run Thursdays through Saturdays, gates at 5pm, shows at 7pm. shakespeareinthecannery.com.
Mondavi Winery Summer Concerts After nearly five decades, you'd think this concert series would slow down, but there's no sign of that happening. The series kicks off this year with Brooklyn's platinum-selling American Authors performing with fireworks on July 2. Other acts include Blues Traveler (July 9), Ingrid Michaelson (July 23) and O.A.R. (July 30). Robert Mondavi Winery, 7801 St. Helena Hwy, Oakville. Dinner available. $70–$225. 888.769.766.6328. robertmondaviwinery.com.
Green Music Center Performance Series Sonoma State University's superb Weill Hall hosts 23 concert events that span rock 'n' roll, country, Latin and even standup comedy. The season kicks off with a Fourth of July concert featuring vocalist Steve Tyrell and the Santa Rosa Symphony, followed by fireworks. The GMC Bluegrass Festival returns on July 10 with David Grisman leading the way. Other highlights include Boz Scaggs and the Robert Cray Band (July 14), Alice Cooper, Joe Perry and Johnny Depp performing as the Hollywood Vampires (July 22), "Weird" Al Yankovic (July 30), The Daily Show host Trevor Noah (Aug. 20) and Southern rock siblings the Avett Brothers (Sept. 15). 1801 East Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. 866.955.6040.
Napa County Fair Farm fun, rides, clowns and food, this fair's got it all, in one svelte day of blistering excitement. Culminating in fireworks spectacular in the evening, the fun starts with a parade at 11am through downtown Calistoga. July 4 at the Napa County Fair. 1435 N. Oak St., Calistoga. Noon–9:30pm. $5–$25. napacountyfair.org.
Bluegrass-Fed Concerts North Bay bluegrass, country and folk bands hit the farm and rock the stage, starting with a Fourth of July show with Sierra Hull and fireworks. Other dates include Fruition on Aug. 13, Brothers Comatose on Aug. 21 and the Lil' Smokies on Sept. 3 at Long Meadow Ranch, 738 Main St., St Helena. 707.963.4555.
Petaluma Art & Garden Festival Presented by the Petaluma Downtown Association, the fest brings local eats, beer and wine and plenty of music to town for a 15th year. Vendor booths offer 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 10. Downtown Petaluma, Kentucky and Fourth streets. 11am–5pm. 707.762.9348. petalumadowntown.com.
Diana Ross The international superstar and living legend returns to the North Bay for another spectacular performance. This time, the founding member of Motown icons the Supremes performs as part of her In the Name of Love tour. July 13 at Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 8pm. $66 and up. tickets.marincenter.org.
Sonoma County Comedy Fest The funny folks at Crushers of Comedy offer two days of hilarious standup, award-winning wine, craft beer, food, music and more. July 15–16, Flamingo Resort Hotel, 2777 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. crushersofcomedy.com.
Festival Napa Valley Formerly called the Festival del Sole, this 11th annual fest still offers over 60 events at nearly a dozen wineries. Opening night's gala features Kristin Chenoweth and her amazing voice. Other concerts bring worldly talents like violinist Sarah Chang, soprano Yelena Dyachek, tenor Michael Fabiano and saxophonist Dave Koz. July 15–24, at various venues in the Napa Valley. festivalnapavalley.org.
Rivertown Revival The Friends of the Petaluma River once again present the "Greatest Slough on Earth," with live music, arty boat races, local food and drinks, crafty vendors and family fun. As in past years, this summer event also boasts local color and is one of the most eco-friendly fests in the North Bay, happening on July 16 at the McNear Peninsula at D and Copeland streets, Petaluma. rivertownrevival.com.
Sonoma County Fair This year's fair goes Hollywood, with the theme "Lights, Camera, Fair" offering the largest themed flower show in the country and horse racing, rodeo, destruction derby, carnival rides, local art and agriculture. Separate admission is required for some events. The fair runs July 22 through Aug. 7. Horse racing: July 28–31, and Aug. 4–7 and 12–14. Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. 11am–9pm; closed Mondays. $6–$12; children under six, free. sonomacountyfair.com.
Music in the Vineyards Now in its 22nd season, this nationally acclaimed chamber-music festival brings together 35 renowned classical musicians from around the world to perform at the most picturesque locations in the Napa Valley. Special guest performers include clarinet virtuoso Burt Hara of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, 17-year-old cello phenom Oliver Herbert and many others. July 29–Aug. 21, at 13 winery venues in the Napa Valley. $50 and up. musicinthevineyards.org.
Reggae on the River Presented by the Mateel Community Center, the 32nd annual incarnation of this laid-back, family-friendly festival features tons of bands and camping adjacent to the festival. Aug. 4–7 at French's Camp. 657 Hwy. 101, Piercy. $200 (three-day) to $250 (four-day); $75 premium camping per person, regular on-site camping included in ticket price. reggaeontheriver.com.
Petaluma Music Festival The ninth annual festival benefiting music programs in Petaluma schools features its biggest and best lineup yet. Headlining are North Bay favorites Jackie Greene, Steve Kimock and friends, the Mother Hips and many others. Aug. 6 at the Sonoma Marin Fairgrounds. 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma. Noon. $45–$110. petalumamusicfestival.org.
Gravenstein Apple Fair Billed as the "sweetest little fair in Sonoma County," the 43rd annual event, presented by Sonoma County Farm Trails, celebrates the local Gravenstein apples in all their delicious glory, with 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. 13–14 at Ragle Ranch Park, 500 Ragle Road, Sebastopol. 10am to 6pm. gravensteinapplefair.com.
Cotati Accordion Festival Accordion veteran Lou Jacklich acts as the honorary director when an international cavalcade of stars take the stage at this 26th annual squeezebox party. Aug. 20–21 in La Plaza Park. Old Redwood Highway, Cotati. 9:30am–8pm. $15–$25; under 15, free. cotatifest.com.
Blues, Brews & BBQ Mixing 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, a kids' area and, of course, blues artists all along the streets. Aug. 27 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 22nd annual event. Aside from the art and the eats, there are four stages of entertainment. The festival takes place Aug. 27–28 at Watts Ranch, 16855 Bodega Hwy. Saturday, 10am–6pm; Sunday, 10am–5pm. $8–$15; under 12, free. bodegaseafoodfestival.com.
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Winemaker meals take place all Labor Day weekend, but here are some highlights of this annual bacchanalia. The Sonoma Starlight event kicks off the weekend and includes dining, drinks and dancing on Sept. 2 at Francis Ford Coppola Winery. 300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville. 6:30–10pm. Next, Taste of Sonoma offers samples from over 200 wineries and several chefs on Sept. 3 at MacMurray Estate Vineyards. 3387 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg. 11am–4pm. Finally, the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction offers a chance to bid on exclusive items and mingle with Sonoma's first families on Sept. 4 at Chateau St. Jean. 8555 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood. 12:30–7pm. sonomawinecountryweekend.com.
Marin Theatre Company's 50th Anniversary Season Presenting world-class theater for half a century, MTC celebrates the big five-oh with another season of inventive original works and gutsy adaptations of beloved plays. Their 2016/2017 season opens with the Pulitzer Prize–winning drama by Tracy Letts, August: Osage County from Sept. 8 to Oct. 2. Their next production, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, comes from new resident playwright Lauren Gunderson and is a continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Later shows in the season include Nambi Kelley's dramatization of Richard Wright's classic Native Son and Peerless, a new take on Shakespeare's Macbeth. 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley. 415.388.5208. marintheatre.org.
Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival The summer's biggest party on the river celebrates 40 years with legendary artists and bands, sizzling food vendors, an indulgent wine garden and more. And if the music gets too hot, just take a dip in the water, sit in the shade of a beach umbrella or rent a canoe or kayak to paddle down the river. Sept. 10–11 at Johnson's Beach, 16215 First St., Guerneville. $80–$180. Russianriverfestivals.com.
Petaluma River Craft Beer Festival Sip on local brews, delight in local bites, listen to local music and walk the local promenade on Sept. 17. Water St., Petaluma. 1pm. $40. petalumarivercraftbeerfest.org.