Pick of the Week – Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival
We remind everyone of the facts each year, so here’s time again. It’s Vintage Festival Weekend, and has been on the last full weekend of September since the late ‘40s when the Sonoma Chamber of Commerce revived the Festival. Many will say a festival of sorts had been going on the entire time since it’s inception in 1897, the second oldest running festival in the state, second only to the Rose Festival in Pasadena. Originally a play held at Rhinefarm (Gundlach Bunsdschu), and created by the drama teacher at Sonoma Valley High School, Benjamin Weed, who later went on to found the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, which celebrated the end of the Phylloxera epidemic of the 1870’s and once a bountiful harvest was brought in, the two young lovers in the play could finally marry.
Roll the clock forward 140 years or so and you have the festival we have today, which begins tonight, Sept. 25, with a Patrons Night celebration in the historic Sonoma Barracks, and events all throughout the weekend, including grape stomps, blessing of the grapes, a night-time parade, a bear flag revolt re-enactment, live music and more.
The Festival is a non-profit, but unlike many of the high-powered non-profits in the Valley, the board is all volunteer, with no high paid Executive Director or paid staff. No one that puts on the festival is paid a dime and, in fact, the money they raise foots the bill for over 20 local non-profits to raise money in the Plaza to support their own causes, some raising most of their yearly budget from this event alone. This is truly one of the last remaining local festivals.
So what about the music? Tonight, Sept. 25, in the Sonoma Barracks you can dance to the music of Mustache Harbor, starting at 6 p.m. This is the only ticketed event of the weekend and tickets, if available, can be purchased at the door. Saturday, Sept. 26, the day kicks off with BackTrax on the main stage behind City Hall at 12 p.m., followed by Codi Binkley and Friends at 1:30 p.m., Tommy Thomsen at 3:15 p.m. and Danny Click wrapping the day at 5:15 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26, the main stage has Never Fear kicking off at 11 a.m. followed by David LaFlamme at 12 p.m. and Lydia Pense and Cold Blood, along with Rick Stevens of Tower of Power wrapping the day at 2:15 p.m. The weekend shows are free and open to the public. For more info, point your browser to valleyofthemoonvintagefestival.com
Neil Diamond – Photo: Rolling Stone
Song List – Wine Songs
There’s been the “Top 10” and the “Top 5” but being from Sonoma, we’re going to keep doing the “Top 8” on our lists, just because we can.
It’s Vintage Festival Weekend, which is technically celebrating the harvest, of grapes, wine grapes, so we thought we’d come up with a list of wine songs for your weekends enjoyment.
8. Heard it through the Grapevine – Norman Whitfield – Barrett Strong
Technically not about wine, but you can’t have a list of wine songs without this on the list. Covered by many since including Gladys Knight and the Pips, Marvin Gaye and Creedence Clearwater Revival
7. Tiny Bubbles – Martin Denny and Leon Pober
Don Ho made this one famous in about 1966, but even Wayne Newton had a hit with it. .
6. Elderberry Wine – Bernie Taupin and Elton John
One of the many hits this songwriting duo has had, and tells the story of a man whose wife has left him. He misses her and recalls his happy days with her, but he mostly misses the fact that she was the one who could make the elderberry wine…
5. Ripple – Robert Hunter
Hunter wrote this song in 1970 in London in the same afternoon he wrote “Brokedown Palace” and “To Lay Me Down,” allegedly after drinking half a bottle of retsina in the process. Jerry Garcia wrote the music and it became a Grateful Dead staple.
4. Cracklin’ Rosie – Neil Diamond
Never specifically mentions wine in the song, but the lyrics ‘Cracklin’ Rosie you’re a store-bought woman” pretty much gives it away. The song was Diamond’s first U. S. Billboard #1 hit and launched his career in the U.K as well.
3. Red Red Wine – Neil Diamond
Who knew Neil Diamond liked wine so much? Yep, he wrote this one too, and if you were alive in the ‘80s, you probably thought UB-40 wrote it, which, ironically, featured beer in their video of the song.
2. Spill the Wine – Eric Burdon and War
The song was inspired of one of the band members of War actually spilling wine on a mixing board during a recording session. Burdon though it humorous and wrote a song about it. The “wild-eyed leaping gnomes” are still in your head aren’t they…
1. Wine, Wine, Wine – Various
Finding out who actually wrote this song is a point of contention, but we’re going to go with the Electric Flag version of what some might call “Wine spo dee oh dee.” covered by one of Mike Bloomfields legendary blues acts. “You got a nickel, I got a dime, let’s get together and buy some wine.” As long as it’s Sonoma Valley wine.
Gregg Rolie – Photo: Independent.com
Soundbytes – Bits and Pieces
The Sonoma Music Festival is right around the corner, literally and figuratively, and there are still some tickets available, along with some specially priced “standing room only” ones specially for Sonoma residents. Friday, Oct. 2, the weekend kicks off with Chicago and America for an evening show with doors at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, it’s a Beatle, Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band, which includes Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie, Steve Lukather and more along with local favorites Pablo Cruise, also for an evening show with doors at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, it’s a daytime show, with doors at 11 a.m. that will feature the Doobie Brothers with Michael McDonald, Gregg Allman, Edgar Winter, Tommy Castro and the Painkillers and more. The weekend was just proclaimed “Sonoma Music Festival Weekend” by Mayor David Cook with an official proclamation. The charity concert has moved from the famous estate winery that features Cohn’s name to the Field of Dreams in downtown Sonoma. Over the years, the concert has helped raise over 6.5 million dollars for local and national charitable causes, with this years being Fisher House for Vets, Redwood Empire Food Bank, American Legion Post #489 and Bread and Roses. For tickets and more info, point your browser to sonomamusicfestival.com.
Mark your calendars for Saturday Oct. 3, where word is that many local musicians will be putting on a fundraiser at Rossi’s 1906 to help out victims of the Valley fire in Clearlake. The Dark Lord, Byron Burt, has been getting together a line-up that at press time could include Tilted Halos, Byron Borges, the Bumblin Bones, Dan Martin, Tony Gibson, Paulie Hips and friends and more. Stay tuned.
The Hawaiian dance party is back this weekend on Saturday, Sept. 26, at the Sonoma Woman’s Club when Del Medina, referred to in the local hula circles as “the North Bay’s King of Kanikapila” takes the stage with his ukulele. “Kanikapila” means Hawaiian jam session, and is presented by the local hula group Hula Mai and all are welcome to bring an instrument and join in on the fun. The songs are half traditional Hawaiian and half American pop, so they’ll be room for anyone with even an ounce of musical talent, be it on a guitar, ukulele, kazoo or even a foot stomper or two. The event gets under way at 2 p.m. with doors open at 1:30 p.m. and admission is free but donations are encouraged as they will go towards the upkeep of the historic Woman’s Club building which is turning 100 years old next year. For more info, point your browser to hulamai.org.
Rundown – The Set List
The Sonoma Speakeasy and American Music Hall
452 First St. E. ste. G. Sonoma – 996-1364.
Tonight, Sept. 25, Junk Parlor – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 26, Full Circle – 4:30 p.m. – Motordude Zydeco Trio – 8 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 27, Diva Singer Night and Community Jam with Dallis Craft and Karla Downey – 7:30 p.m.
Monday. Sept. 28, Graceland Unplugged with Dallis Craft – 7:30 p.m.
Annex Wine Bar
865 W. Napa St. Sonoma – 938-7779
Tonight, Sept. 25, Cetola – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 26, Barry Bisson – 7:30 p.m.
Murphy’s Irish Pub
464 First St. E. Sonoma – 935-0660.
Friday, Sept. 25, Todos Santos – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 26, David Thom – 8 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 27, Deluxe – 7 p.m..
Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards
389 Fourth St. E. Sonoma – 933-3230
Tonight, Sept. 25, Rolling Blackouts – 6 p.m.
Rossi’s 1906 Dancehall
401 Grove St. El Verano – 343-0044
Tonight, Sept. 25, Rubber Soul – Acoustic Beatles Experience – 6:30 p.m. DJ Isaak – 9 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 26, Sean Carscadden Quintet – 9 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 27, Ragtag Sullivan – 5 p.m..
691 Broadway Sonoma – 935-9100
Tonight, Sept. 25, Solid Air – 5 p.m. – Hound Smith – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 26, Jimbo Scott – 1 p.m. Jaydub and Dino – 8 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 27, Clay Bell– 1 p.m.
B&V Whiskey Bar and Grille
400 First St. E. Sonoma – 938-7110
Tonight, Sept. 25, Driven plus Tilted Halos – 9:30 p.m.
B. R. Cohn Winery
15000 Sonoma Hwy. Glen Ellen – 800-330-4064
Sunday, Sept. 27, Westside Ramblers – 2 p.m.
20 E. Spain St, Sonoma – 935-6382
Tonight, Sept. 25, Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival Patrons Night – Mustache Harbor – 6 p.m.
1 Broadway, Sonoma
Saturday, Sept. 25, Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival – Backtrax – 12 p.m. Codi Binkley and Friends – 1:30 p.m. Tommy Thomsen – 3:15 p.m. – Danny Click – 5:15
Sunday, Sept. 26, Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival – Never Fear – 11 a.m. David LaFlamme – 12 p.m. Lydia Pense and Cold Blood -2:15 p.m.
122 W Napa St. Sonoma – 935-7960
Tonight, Sept. 25, Sebastian Nau – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 26, Jon Emery – 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 27, Keady Phelan – 1 p.m.
420 First St E. Sonoma – 996-4466
Tonight, Sept. 25, Randy Vincent Trio – 7 p.m.
9380 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood – 933-9305
Tonight, Sept. 25, Tommy Thomsen Band – 5 p.m.
Sonoma Valley Woman’s Club
574 First St. E. – 938-8313
Saturday, Sept. 26, Hawaiian Jam Session – 2 p.m.
Olde Sonoma Public House
18615 Sonoma Hwy. Boyes Hot Springs – 938-7587
Sunday, Sept. 27, Karaoke – 7:30 p.m.
Blue Moon Saloon
19380 Sonoma Hwy. Sonoma – 996-3055
Saturday, Sept. 26, Karaoke – 9 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 27, Blues Jam – all welcome – 10 p.m.