Napa’s Summer Concert Schedule Heats Up

As the state reopens its economy, the North Bay is starting to put live music back on the calendar. In Napa, both nationally touring acts and local favorites are hitting stages for a summer of shows that’s starting to look lively.

Currently, Napa’s Blue Note Jazz Club is road-tripping to St. Helena and the Charles Krug Winery for a lineup of live, outdoor concerts featuring chart-topping bands.

This weekend features four shows over two nights with soul-funk outfit Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, June 18 and 19. Next weekend, Blue Note and Charles Krug Winery host an evening with R&B and jazz singer-songwriter Jody Watley on June 26.  Watley’s performance is presented in partnership with Napa Valley Pride, and Blue Note Napa will donate a portion of the ticket sales to local nonprofit organization LGBTQ Connection Napa.

“We are ecstatic to be the venue of choice for her first live performance since the pandemic halted live music last year,” says Blue Note Napa owner Ken Tesler in a statement. “For such an iconic artist like Jody Watley to join us in our first wave of shows is really special for us.” (bluenotenapa.com)

In July, one of the city’s most popular summer events series returns to the stage when Napa City Nights kicks off a seven-week schedule of shows.  Formed by local musicians and music lovers in 2008, the nonprofit Napa City Nights concert series is a free, family-friendly tradition that takes place outdoors at the Veterans Memorial Park Amphitheater in downtown Napa.

Last year, the series was canceled due to the pandemic, though this summer is looking clear for distanced shows, and Napa City Nights opens its 2021 concert series on Friday, July 9, at 6:30pm, with a funky, soulful show featuring Joy & Madness, Sweet HayaH and Vince Costanza.

Following weeks include headliners like party rock ensemble The Pat Jordan Band on July 16, R&B outfit The Soul Section on July 23, country duo Crossman Connection on July 30 and old-school rock band The Hots on August 6. (napacitynights.com)

Later this summer, Blue Note’s Entertainment Group teams up with Another Planet Entertainment to produce a genre-spanning outdoor concert series at Oxbow RiverStage in downtown Napa.

This year’s Oxbow RiverStage concert series, running from August through October, marks the venue’s first full season.  The series launched its first season in 2019 with four ticketed concerts. Following that, a full 2020 concert series was announced, but then postponed due to the pandemic.

The 2021 concert series will feature world-class performers and kicks off on August 14 with a co-headlining show featuring Mt. Joy and Trampled by Turtles. The legendary Billy Idol will perform on August 21, followed by a free show featuring Brett Dennen on August 22.

Oxbow RiverStage’s calendar also features Rodrigo y Gabriela on September 11, Death Cab for Cutie on September 17, Gary Clark Jr. on September 18, Herbie Hancock on September 25, and STS9 performing two nights on October 8 and 9.

The venue entertains up to five thousand attendees at each show and will feature reserved seating, general admission, or a combination of both based on the event. A Gold ticket option is offered at every concert through a partnership with Feast It Forward, featuring a wine bar lounge, a dedicated entrance, and more. (oxbowriverstage.com)

This Labor Day Weekend features the return of BottleRock Napa Valley, presenting three days of live music, food, wine and beer in the heart of Napa. The festival is already sold-out, yet BottleRock has more shows up its sleeve, and the festival has announced a series of “BottleRock AfterDark” shows in Napa, San Francisco, Berkeley and Sacramento, featuring many of the 2021 BottleRock Napa Valley musical artists and other special guests.

These intimate performances, produced by BottleRock Presents, take place beginning Thursday, September 2, and runs through the festival weekend. All four Napa concerts happening as part of “BottleRock AfterDark” will take place at the JaM Cellars Ballroom, located on Main Street in downtown Napa.

The show schedule includes veteran power-pop rockers Jimmy Eat World on September 2, German alternative band Milky Chance on September 3, Texas-based psychedelic soul band Black Pumas on September 4 and Foo Fighter drummer Taylor Hawkins’ acclaimed cover band Chevy Metal on September 5. (bottlerocknapavalley.com.)

Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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