Top Ten summer festivals and outdoor concerts around San Francisco

Here is a round-up of exciting festivals and concerts happening this summer around the San Francisco Bay Area. Photo: ACEA/Photo GIlles Martin-Raget

SAN FRANCISCO, July 1, 2013 – Get ready to drink some wine, sample craft beers and bend an ear to some music this summer all around the San Francisco Bay Area.  This summer festival guide will steer you in the right direction for the best of wine, beer, music, food and art festivals. San Francisco has something for all…winelovers, beerlovers, foodies and music fanatics.   

San Francisco, Outside Lands Music Festival

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1. Outside Lands Festival, San Francisco

The music line-up for Outside Lands this year is stacked with talent. Outside Lands is expert in its ability to bring the best of San Francisco Bay area food, wine and beer to festival-goers.  As you would expect, California wines and beer are well represented, with wines from AP Vin, Caymus, Hess Collection, Robert Sinskey, Scribe and Tres Sabores.  And beers featured by San Francisco locals 21st Amendment, Magnolia and Anchor Brewing Co. are all on tap.

2013 artists include: Sir Paul McCartney, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Phoenix, Kaskade, Vampire Weekend, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Willie Nelson and Young the Giant.

Dates: August 9 - 11

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Tickets: $105 - $545


Robert Mondavi Summer Concerts, Napa Valley. Image: Mondavi.

2. Robert Mondavi Winery Summer Concert Series, Napa Valley

This year Mondavi Winery is celebrating what would have been Robert Mondavi’s 100th birthday.  For more than four decades, Robert Mondavi Winery has hosted legendary artists for their Concert Series.  Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Chris Botti, Dave Koz and many more have graced their vineyards.  This is an elegant and historic setting in which to experience both the history of Napa Valley and great music at the same time.  There are many different levels of tickets available, including an option to enjoy dinner at the iconic winery at the edge of the Kalon Vineyard.  Or guests can pack a picnic and grab some space on the lush green lawn.  Bottles of Mondavi wine are available for purchase. 

2013 artists include: Martina McBride, Lifehouse, Huey Lewis and the News, Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers and ZZ Ward with Delta Rae.

Dates: June 29 – July 20

Tickets: $50 - $250

Castello di Amorosa Winery, Napa Valley. Image: Bottaro.

3.  Napa Valley Festival del Sole, Napa Valley

This festival truly is a feast for all of the senses.  Your eyes will take in the beautifully romantic scenery of Napa Valley while you listen to some of the thrilling musical performances. Sip aromatic wines and dine on delectable treats. This 10-day celebration offers 60 programs and star-studded performances, and features a great line-up of cultural, culinary, wine and wellness experiences within some of Napa Valley’s most romantic settings.

2013 Artists & Events Include:
 Audra McDonald, a week-long tribute to Sergei Rachmaninoff, Russian National Orchestra, winemaker dinners, galas, vintners’ luncheons, yoga in the vineyards and a Taste of Napa wine tasting event.

Dates: July 12 – 21

Tickets: $45 - $7,500 (full VIP pass)  

Rodney Strong Winery, Sonoma. Summer Concert Series. Image: S. Perkovich.

4.  Rodney Strong 23rd Annual Summer Concert Series, Sonoma County

This intimate concert series runs through early September and features many music industry living legends.  Here you can “picnic on the green” in Rodney Strong’s romantic outdoor picnic area, surrounded by picturesque views of the Russian River Valley.  Arrive early as space fills fast.  Buy a few bottles of Rodney Strong wine, pack a picnic, a few blankets, low lawn chairs and a few layers of clothing. Then kick back, relax with your honey and enjoy!

2013 Artists Include: B.B. King, Michael McDonald, Dwight Yoakam and Dave Koz.

Dates: Through September 1

Tickets: $60 - $115 (season passes also available)

San Francisco. Stern Grove Festival, James Bachleda, San Francisco Ballet, 2007

5.  Stern Grove Festival, San Francisco

This year marks the 76th anniversary of free concerts and performing art on Sundays in the summer at Stern Grove.  This beautiful outdoor setting and natural amphitheatre is an ideal setting for music and performances of all types.  Shows start at 2pm, but come early to get a good spot.  Pack a picnic, wine, low chairs and blankets (note: alcohol is not sold, so you have to bring your own).  Picnic table seats are available to members of Friends of Stern Grove.  Read Out and About’s previous article about Stern Grove for advice before you go.

2013 Artists Include: Ramsey Lewis with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Deltron 3030 (Dan The Automator, Del the Funky & Kid Koala), San Francisco Symphony, Opera and Ballet, Kronos Quartet, and funk/soul icon Shuggie Otis.

Dates: Through August 18

Admission: FREE

Livermore Valley, Wente Vineyards. Image: Wente

6.  The Concerts at Wente Vineyards, Livermore

This is the 27th season of concerts at Wente in Livermore Valley.  They combine the elegance of California dining and spectacular entertainment, paired with their luscious wines in a very romantic winery setting.  Here they use the expression, “Great music pairs with all wines,” and they couldn’t be more right!  You will see everything from jazz to blues to good old rock n’ roll.  Wente also offers evening yoga and wine tasting events this summer on July 30 and August 27 ($20 per person). 

2013 Artists Include: Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray, Huey Lewis & The News, Counting Crows, The Wallflowers, Chicago, and Chris Botti.

Dates: Through Sept 12

Tickets: $89 - $299

Silicon Valley Beer Week, food & beer pairings.

7. Silicon Valley Beer Week, San Jose

Craft beer is hot, hot, hot.  San Francisco’s Beer Week grows in popularity and attendance each year, with literally hundreds of events and activities to choose from.  It was only a matter of time before San Jose put on a craft beer celebration.  This is the first year for this event and is touted to be the region’s ultimate beer-lover’s event highlighting not only the beers, but the venues, restaurants and breweries that are passionate about craft beer.  The week will include seminars, meet the brewer, tap takeovers, tastings, beer dinners, and food pairings at venues all over the Valley.  They even have a canned beer extravaganza event.  Last count, there are about 50 events and craft beer experiences to be enjoyed.   

Dates: July 28 – August 3

Tickets: Starting at $20, vary based on event. See website for details.

America’s Cup Concert Pavilion, SF. Image: America’s Cup.

8. America’s Cup Concert Series, San Francisco

America’s Cup is a big deal, and not just to San Francisco.  People come from all around the world to compete in and watch the world’s largest sailing competition.  San Francisco has been building up the city in support for the massive influx of people coming into the city to participate in the all the events surrounding the Cup. This effort includes a new music pavilion on Piers 27/29.  July 4th is the opening ceremony.  Be sure to bundle up when coming to a concert on the piers.  Don’t let the fact that it is summer fool you.  San Francisco is foggy, breezy and cool in the summer months.  Bring layers and a scarf.

Artists: Counting Crows, Wallflowers, San Francisco Symphony, Weezer, 311, Sublime, Steely Dan and Sammy Hagar.

Dates: July 4 – September 21

Tickets: Varies based on event; concert tickets begin at $40

Sonoma, Tuesday Farmers Markets. Image: S Perkovich

9.  Town of Sonoma, Tuesday Night Farmers Markets & 4th of July celebration

The town of Sonoma is quaint, romantic and perfectly located within Sonoma County wine country.  Every Tuesday night, feel like one of the locals and attend the weekly Farmers Market.  Locals and visitors alike enjoy the free concert, local produce and artisan products while local restaurants serve up their signature cuisine and gorgeous Sonoma weather cooperates.  Guests can pack their own picnic, bottles of wine and just relax and enjoy the evening in the town center.  Sonoma is also well known for their 4th of July celebration.  The town gets taken over by red, white and blue with events such as an old fashioned parade at 10am followed by an all day celebration of food, games, beer and wine on the Plaza.  

Dates: Farmers Market, every Tuesday night through October; 4th of July celebration, July 4th Parade and festival

Tickets: FREE

Fillmore Street Jazz Fest, San Francisco. Image: Fillmore Jazz Fest.

10.  Street Festivals, San Francisco

San Francisco loves street fairs.  These fairs range from music to food to art, featuring the very best of the San Francisco Bay Area.  Here is a short list of festivals not to miss.

Tickets: FREE, purchase food/drinks

Read more of Sherrie’s work at Out And About San Francisco and Wine Country Weekly in the Communities section at the Washington Times.  Follow Out and About on Twitter and on Facebook for even more inside scoop.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Sherrie Perkovich

Sherrie is a perky, music and wine-loving, Northern California local that seeks out and spreads the word about San Francisco experiences as well as unforgettable wine-related travel experiences.  She is CMO of The Grape Hunter USA, where they focus on helping artisan wineries and developing unique wine travel for consumers. Follow her on Twitter @BigNoseWino

Sherrie is a San Francisco local that fancies herself an extroverted fine dining, wine drinking, know-it-all.  If it’s happening near SF, Sherrie is in on it.  Follow her columns,  for the widest range of Out and About San Francisco ~ San Jose treats and Wine Country Weekly.  


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