Friday Nights in the Park
by Craig Smith
When the organizers of Napa City Nights called it quits after last year’s concerts, Napans began mourning what was, for seventeen years, a great Friday night event. Well, mourn no more – this year, the music returns every Friday Night in July at Veterans Park. And the lineup is spectacular.
Connie Anderson, publisher of the Napa Valley Marketplace, president of the Downtown Napa Association (DNA) and a life-long lover of live music, reacted immediately when the Napa City Nights announced the “retirement” of the summer series. “We have to figure out how to keep this going. We also have to make it bigger than ever,” she said.
The result is the return of Friday Night music in Veterans Park during the month of July. Each night, two bands will perform. As always, admission is free. The series opens with Mama Said, a Napa band that has become a BottleRock regular, and ends July 28 with the Daniel Castro Band, a blues-based band out of San Francisco and one of the past favorites at Blues, Brews & BBQ. “We decided to go with two bands each night instead of the three from past years, so that we could focus on more playing time and really good bands,“ said Bill La Liberte from the DNA.
“We are super happy about the direction the DNA is taking and that they are keeping the music going,” said Chris Chesbrough, who with his wife Sue and a dozen other volunteers staged Napa City Nights for its entire run. “Chefs Market was the model for how live music is done in Napa. The DNA ran that, and they are the perfect group to run Friday Nights in the Park.” As a musician in the band Road Eleven, which will play the new event on July 21 along with Marshall Law, Chesbrough understands that this is a group effort that includes attendees. “Napa has a very cool community of musicians. The audience is just as important as the music is.”
This is a community effort in every respect. Downtown Napa property owners, operating as the Property Owners Improvement District (PBID) quickly stepped up as the presenting sponsor. That was closely followed by the hotel and B&B owners, organized as the Tourist Improvement District (TID). Sara Brooks, the GM of the Hatt Building and who sits on both groups’ boards, said, “Anytime we can help with an event that our residents and visitors will love, we consider it a win-win.” Bank of Marin, the founding and continuing sponsor of Napa’s Hometown Halloween Party, has joined in the production of Friday Nights in the Park. Without the support of these sponsors, there would be no event.
Light food and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for sale. Low-back chairs are permitted, but anyone spreading out a blanket may have to remove it or share it with others as the crowd grows.
Visit DoNapa.com for more details.
It’s going to be a great July!