California has been officially open for business for a week and a half. And as the reopening of Sonoma County entertainment venues becomes less hesitant and concerns about the pandemic begin to ebb, concert promoters have emboldened themselves to return to full programming, just in time for us to enjoy. live music on summer evenings.
One offering with a variety of fun and upbeat musical genres, from rock and blues to Latin funk, is the free Friday Night Live concert series in Cloverdale, which was last held in 2019. It returns on July 9 with a later start than in previous years, but with a full 14 week schedule of live performances at Cloverdale Plaza through October 1.
The series features Sonoma County favorites such as Kingsborough, The Brothers Comatose, Royal Jelly Jive and the David Luning Band, as well as Bay Area favorites Tommy Castro & The Painkillers and Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings.
“We focus on the original music. We don’t book cover bands or tribute bands, ”said Mark Tharrington, Friday Night Live Program Manager. “Tommy Castro and Roy Rogers play almost every year. We bring them back because they are so popular.
Uncertainty over the details of state and county regulations for the reopening initially delayed planning for this summer’s series, said Tharrington, who is also executive director of the Cloverdale Arts Alliance, the sponsor and the nonprofit association that funds Friday Night Live and other arts programs in Cloverdale.
“I started planning last December. In January, I had planned the whole schedule from May 28 to September 3 and the groups had booked, but we weren’t sure we could continue, ”he said.
The schedule is particularly busy this year for local and regional groups as there was not enough time to bring groups from other parts of the country.
“I had to go back to square one,” Tharrington added. “This is the third iteration of our range. We saw that we couldn’t start in June, and we were almost going to cancel July. But then we got the go ahead, so we added dates at the end of our calendar. We don’t usually go in October.
Tharrington called Friday Night Live, launched 18 years ago, a street fair, with food, drinks, kids’ activities and crafts for sale. The shows take place in downtown Cloverdale plaza, with a few adjacent streets blocked off.
Fans are advised to arrive early and bring their own lawn chairs. Chairs are not provided and the seating area is limited.
“You can dance and party to the music,” Tharrington said. “There are concessions and you can go to restaurants downtown. There are wine and beer vendors, but we don’t allow people to bring alcohol from outside.
You can reach Editor-in-Chief Dan Taylor at [email protected] or 707-521-5243. On Twitter @danarts.