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Sundays in the Park Free Concert Series
Download your 2017 Sundays in the Park Sponsor Packet here! Sundays in the Park sponsors receive tremendous benefits including positive marketing results and making a statement that your company cares about the community.
Sundays in the Park Free Concert Series is the largest and most recognized community event in Mendocino County. Since 1991, the series has thrilled the community with exceptional musical performances by artists from diverse genres including blues, classical, country, salsa, soul, rock, swing and more. Each summer, taking center stage in beautiful Todd Grove Park, six free concerts featuring world-renowned artists as well as local talent, entertain more than 20,000 music fans.
In addition to great entertainment, the series is a source of great civic pride and is cherished by locals and visitors as a summer tradition. Sponsorships from local businesses are a vital component to the continued success of Sundays In The Park and without their support the free concerts wouldn’t be possible. Pack a picnic or indulge in fabulous food prepared by vendors who are onsite with everything from barbequed tri-tip to sushi.
Bring a blanket and gather wity your family, friends, and neighbors to enjoy top notch performers while being part of the greater Ukiah community. (Please, no pets and no smoking within the main event area, low-back chairs only, personal BBQ’s only allowed at the picnic table areas. Thank you.) Concerts begin at 6pm. For more information please call 707-463-6231.
VENDORS: To become a Sundays in the Park Free Concert Series event vendor, fill out a City of Ukiah vendor application form and return it to 411 W. Clay St. Ukiah, CA 95482. Vendor applications for 2017 will be accepted beginning May 1, 2017.
25th Anniversary Line Up
Sunday, June 12 – Pride & Joy
Pride & Joy’s dynamic and exceptionally popular dance band takes its name from Marvin Gaye’s hit song and celebrates the excitement of Motown bands that made such a huge musical mark in the ’60s and ’70s. One of the most potent and polished acts in show business, they recreate the ensemble sounds of the Motown era with all four superb and spirited singers swapping vocal chores with equal passion and electricity. The songs are mostly Motown instant classics like “I Can’t Get Next To You”, “Shotgun”, and “You Can’t Hurry Love”, along with soul classics like “Respect”, “Love Train” and “Take Me To The River”.
During over two decades of phenomenal success, Pride & Joy has remained one of the most popular bands on the Northern California music scene. They have achieved this by presenting the most timeless pop/soul music of our time in an electrifying high-style show that pulls the audience directly into the heart of their performance.
“It’s always been natural for us to reach out and draw in the audience. We make the people feel they’re part of the performance because they are,” says Pride and Joy founder and bandleader Coleman Burke. “That’s what Pride and Joy has always been about… creating a great feeling in the room. That’s as important a part of our show as the work we put into our look, choreography and arrangements.”
As evidence of Pride and Joy’s across-the-board staying power, the band regularly sells out engagements at San Francisco’s premier nightclub Bimbo’s 365 Club, The Fox Theatre in Redwood City and The Mystic Theatre in Petaluma. In addition, they have toured extensively across the US to ecstatic responses. Watch Out! Serious Motown and R&B headed our way that will infect Ukiah with a toe-tapping, hand clapping dancing virus!
Sunday, June 26 – Dustbowl Revival
Bluegrass. Swing. Hot jazz. Pre-war blues. Southern soul. New Orleans funk. The Dustbowl Revival is what you could call an American roots orchestra with eight full-time members — and they play it all, mashing the sounds of traditional American music into a genre-hopping, time-bending dance party that coaxes new fire out of familiar coal. This isn’t a throwback band. It’s a celebration of the sounds that have kept America moving for more than a century, performed with all the flair of a medicine show and rooted in the sweat and swagger of a juke joint song swap.
“In a city like Los Angeles, home to musical stars in nearly every known genre, handing out the Best Live Band title is not easy. But the free-thinking local collective Dustbowl Revival’s upbeat, old-school, All-American sonic safaris exemplify everything shows should be: hot, spontaneous, engaging and, best of all, a pleasure to hear. ” – LA Weekly
Over the last few years, the band has steadily gained recognition while playing festivals and venues across North America and Europe, notably with Lake Street Dive, Trombone Shorty, Rebirth Brass Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Their video for their new single, “Never Had To Go,” was shot with a new friend of the band: the legendary actor Dick Van Dyke. While their previous studio albums had more of an old-time feel, this new album has a more funky, soulful, let-loose flavor.
Years ago, the Dustbowl Revival witnessed the Preservation Hall Jazz Band merging with Del McCoury’s seasoned bluegrass troupe from Nashville in a series of concerts. It was like a flashbulb going off. That’s the secret ingredient in the Dustbowl Revival’s sound: the bridge connecting two American genres that grew out of places more similar and entwined than people realize, but have grown apart during the century or so since they first became popular. Preservation Hall and the Grand Ole Opry rarely get mentioned in the same sentence.
Sunday, July 10 – Pete Escovedo & Family
Legendary Percussionist Pete Escovedo is an artist who broke down the barriers between Smooth Jazz, Salsa, Latin Jazz and contemporary music. His name has been synonymous in the music industry for more than 50 years. Pete is known worldwide for his live performances, session work and solo albums.
He has been a major force in Latin music since the late ’60s, and his versatility has resulted in success in several areas of music, from Latin jazz and salsa to rock and Latin pop. In 1967 Carlos Santana hired both Pete and Coke for Latin rock group. After touring with Santana for the next three years (he has rejoined him a few times since), Pete and Coke founded the 14-piece Latin big band Azteca, recording two albums for Columbia. When the band grew to 24 members, it became too expensive to keep together, although the music was quite impressive. Since that time, Pete has performed in a countless number of settings including with such notables as Herbie Hancock, Woody Herman, Cal Tjader, and Tito Puente, among many others.
He started using his daughter Sheila E. in the mid-’70s when she was still a teenager; they first recorded together in 1976 with Billy Cobham and have worked together many times since. Since Azteca, Escovedo has also frequently led his own Latin jazz band, sometimes also including his other children Juan, Peter Michael, and Zina.
His Latin Jazz Orchestra have always been breaking new grounds when it comes to playing live music, bringing talented and well known musicians together to perform on stage. Their shows attract all ages, backgrounds and nationalities who come together to hear incredible music, the memory of which will last forever.
Sunday, July 24 – Marcia Ball
The New York Times says, “Marcia Ball plays two-fisted New Orleans barrelhouse piano and sings in a husky, knowing voice about all the trouble men and women can get into on the way to a good time.”
The Texas-born, Louisiana-raised musical storyteller has earned worldwide fame for her ability to ignite a full-scale roadhouse rhythm and blues party every time she strolls onto the stage. Her groove-laden New Orleans boogie, deeply soulful ballads and rollicking Gulf Coast blues have made her a one-of-a-kind favorite with music fans all over the world.
In 2010, she was inducted into the Gulf Coast Hall Of Fame and in 2012 into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. She’s received a total of six Living Blues Awards and nine Blues Music Awards (and has a whopping 42 nominations). She’s received five Grammy Award nominations, including five of her six previous Alligator albums.
Her songs paint vibrant musical pictures richly detailed with characters, flavors and scenes straight out of Louisiana, Texas and the Gulf Coast. In 1970, Ball set out for San Francisco. Her car broke down in Austin, and while waiting for repairs she fell in love with the city and decided to stay. It was around this time that she delved deeply into the music of the great New Orleans piano player Professor Longhair. “Once I found out about Professor Longhair,” recalls Ball, “I knew I had found my direction.”
In 1999, Marcia and her band appeared in the nationally televised Public Television special In Performance At The White House along with B.B. King and Della Reese. Marcia has been featured on Austin City Limits and NPR’s Fresh Air and Piano Jazz. She performed in Piano Blues, the film directed by Clint Eastwood included in Martin Scorsese’s The Blues series which aired on PBS television nationwide in 2003. Marcia has also appeared The Late Show With David Letterman with The New Orleans Social Club. In 2012, she had a role in the independent film Angels Sing starring Harry Connick, Jr., Lyle Lovett and Willie Nelson.
Sunday, July 31 – Elvin Bishop
Elvin Bishop will grace Todd Grove Park at the 150th concert of the 25-year series. He has been travelling the Blues road longer than most, and he’s got the stories to prove it – many of which are contained within the songs on this release. Stops along the way include his work as a founding member of the groundbreaking Paul Butterfield Blues Band in the early ‘60s, recordings with legends such as Clifton Chenier, John Lee Hooker, and The Allman Brothers, and Pop success with his own 1976 smash hit “Fooled Around and Fell In Love”.
On May 4 of this year Elvin, Eddy Clearwater, Jimmy Johnson, John Mayall, and The Memphis Jug Band will each take their places beside performers who have been deemed by a group of blues scholars and industry veterans to be the Best in the Blues.
He arrived in Chicago in 1959, and before long crossed paths with a fellow student Paul Butterfield. Together, they explored the taverns and Blues joints in the black neighborhoods surrounding the university campus at a time when Blues giants like Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Otis Rush, Magic Sam and Howlin’ Wolf could be found playing in corner bars for a $2 cover charge just about any night of the week.
By 1963, Bishop and Butterfield were ready to graduate – not from the university, but from their apprenticeship under Chicago’s Blues veterans. They made their first recordings that year, doing a session with veterans Billy Boy Arnold and James Cotton. That same year, they recruited Howlin’ Wolf’s former rhythm section of Sam Lay on drums and Jerome Arnold on bass, and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band was born. In 1965, after adding Mike Bloomfield and Mark Naftalin to the lineup, their revolutionary debut LP was released, opening the door for virtually all the young white Blues bands that followed. Elvin released several well-received albums in the early ‘70s, before experiencing his biggest Pop success, the gold-record earning national hit “Fooled Around and Fell In Love” from his 1976 LP “Struttin’ My Stuff.”
“Before Eric Clapton was old enough to shave, Elvin Bishop was hanging out in Chicago with the first generation of electric bluesmen.” – Guitar World
Sunday, August 14 – McKenna Faith & John Mattern
Starting off the final concert of the 2016 season, McKenna Faith will grace the stage with her first class, high-energy, boot-stompin country music. McKenna is a country music singer/songwriter and Nashville Recording Artist hailing from Ukiah. She grew up in the barrel racing circuit, where she competed in the World Finals. Singing the National Anthem at rodeos lead to half-time performances; and eventually she traded her saddle for a guitar and started co-writing and recording in Nashville, where she now lives. She has toured internationally and has shared the stage with some of country’s biggest names like Dierks Bentley, Thompson Square, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins, Neal McCoy, Lee Brice and Brett Eldredge.
Music is Faith’s passion, and she believes in the importance and power of music. “Music is important to me because no matter what mood I’m in, I feel that once I start singing, writing and performing, everything goes away and it makes me so happy,” she said. Her debut single to country radio Somethin’ Somethin’ is quickly climbing the charts.
Gracing the stage the second set will be Ukiah native John Mattern performing many selections from newly released collection of songs, ‘Fire Girl’ which is his visitation back to his roots. This collection is a personal story based biography of all original music, telling stories of a musician’s life growing up in the vineyards of rural Northern California. He gives homage to his wife, partner and best friend, a fire fighter paramedic who inspired the title track “Fire Girl” and is filled with deep private moments of reflection and rowdy fun times driving his 1952 GMC down Old River Road.
John is an eclectic multi instrumentalist, blending influences of folk, rock, country, jazz and blues into a style uniquely his own. Over the past decade he revisited his roots including folk, rock, bluegrass, blues, country, soul, funk with influences of Willie Nelson, Peter Gabriel, Merle Haggard, Beethoven, Townes Van Zandt, James McMurtry and Miles Davis. Mattern taught music in Ukiah for 10 years and now is one of the most celebrated music educators in the state.
This final concert will also be the final show for Sundays in the Park founder and promoter Spencer Brewer. “It has been a fun ride all these years helping bring the public together each summer to hear great music while sharing food with family & friends and celebrating who we are together as a community.”