Written by Diane Peterson for the Press Democrat.
The Green Music Center has announced the lineup for its Summer 2016 season at Weill Hall + Lawn, with an array of 22 events spanning all genres of music, several comedy shows and an outdoor movie marathon.
Headliners range from double bill of bluesmen Boz Scaggs and The Robert Cray Band on July 14 to the Silk Road Ensemble with cellist Yo-Yo Ma on Aug. 19.
Other concerts likely to draw a crowd include the Hollywood Vampires, featuring Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry paying tribute to the ‘70s hard rock July 22; a new Blues at the Green mini-festival featuring The Taj Mahal Trio, Acoustic Hot Tuna and pianist Marcia Ball July 23; female music icon Melissa Etheridge Sept. 3; singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw Sept. 11; bluegrass/folk/Southern rockers The Avett Brothers Sept. 15; and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, celebrating 50 years of country rock Sept. 16.
“I tried to make this summer very well rounded this year,” said Peter Williams, GMC’s senior director of popular programming. “I think you’ll find something here for everyone — some comedy, pop, bluegrass, big names and new talents.”
The summer season kicks off July 4 with the annual Independence Day Spectacular for the whole family, featuring jazz singer Steve Tyrell and the Santa Rosa Symphony. The season runs through Sept. 25, ending with a kid-friendly performance by the Shanghai Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China.
“We’re trying to do some children’s programming, and we’ll be doing that throughout the year,” Williams said. “It’s expanding our mission to use the hall for as many people as we can.”
The GMC Bluegrass Festival will return July 10 with The David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, mandolinist Sam Bush and the Jeff Austin Band. The three virtuoso mandolinists will also join forces at the festival as The Mando Kings.
The summer season includes four comedy shows, ranging from Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias on July 16 and “Weird Al” Yankovic July 30 to “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah Aug. 20.
“I wanted to making sure we had some good comedy,” Williams said. “I’m trying to draw in people who live in the community.”
New talents include quirky, electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling Aug. 11 and country-rock-blues singer Hunter Hayes Aug. 28. Young country artist Chris Young will appear Sept. 24.
“Country does really well,” Williams said. “Hayes has a very young following, and Chris Young is a pretty big name.”
In the jazz genre, guitarist Pat Metheny will appear Sept. 13 with a new group consisting of Antonio Sanchez, Linda Oh and Gwilym Simcock. Los Tigres del Norte, a popular Norteño band from San Jose, will perform Aug. 5.
“It’s a great group and a great way for us to support the local Latino community,” Williams said.
Back for the third year, a free Concert for the Community on July 31 will feature Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles and the Santa Rosa Symphony conducted by Michael Berkowitz.
Aug. 26 and 27 there will also be a free “Star Wars” Movie Marathon Weekend, with all seven films presented on the big screen outside of Weill Hall in conjunction with Campus Programming and On Campus Presents.
“We thought it would be a nice way to start the year off for the students,” Williams said. “But everybody’s invited.”
Tickets to Summer 2016 in Weill Hall + Lawn go on sale to season subscribers at 10 a.m. May 5 and to the general public at 10 a.m. May 10. Reservations are required for the free shows.
See the full lineup of the Green Music Center’s Summer 2016 MasterCard Performance Series at gmc.sonoma.edu/summer2016.
For a complete listing of events and ticket information, go to gmc.sonoma.edu or call (866) 955-6040.
Staff writer Diane Peterson can be reached at 521-5287 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @dianepete56.