Only about 60 miles north of the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Rosa is a perfect spot for anyone planning a California Wine Country excursion. The city features the stunning natural backdrop of Sonoma County, and a myriad of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, hot air ballooning, zip lining, golfing, and more. The city is also a haven for culinary talent, and visitors can sample food at notable establishments including Stark's Steak & Seafood, Hana, and Rosso.
Country Summer is quickly becoming one of the top country music events in California, attracting more than 27,000 people last year. It will take place June 16-18 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds Event Center, roughly a mile and a half southeast of Downtown Santa Rosa. The event features performances from some of the hottest names in country music including Thomas Rhett, Darius Rucker, Randy Houser, and Justin Moore. Beyond the music, attendees will encounter Country Western-themed attractions like the Jack Daniel's Saloon and mechanical bulls. The Country Summer Marketplace will debut this year, offering an air conditioned environment to shop for a variety of items and listen to live music. Multiple vendors will sell libations, refreshments, meals, and snacks, and an exclusive Country Summer Country Club will offer guests drinks and meals in a VIP environment. We got the chance to interview Alan Jacoby, executive producer of Country Summer, to learn about this massive country music event.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
AJ: Country Summer 2017 is our fourth annual event.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
AJ: Attendance has increased every year. Last year we attracted 27,000 fans from 35 states and four foreign countries. Our goal is to top that this year.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract?
AJ: In the past few years, Country Summer has earned a reputation as Northern California's biggest country music festival and Sonoma County's largest party, but we maintain a family friendly atmosphere and are open to all ages.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
AJ: While country music entertainers on the Chevy Silverado main stage are the main attraction, Country Summer is more than great music. It's a country music celebration with attractions like the Jack Daniel's Saloon, mechanical bull riding, and sponsor booths. We also have games and activities, great food, and an array of refreshments from Bud Light for beer drinkers to Kendall-Jackson for oenophiles.
RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.
AJ: In addition to those mentioned above, we are introducing the Country Summer Marketplace this year, an indoor, air-cooled upscale shopping experience where local musicians perform between main acts.
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
AJ: The Country Summer Country Club (VIP club) is another new attraction this year. Members will enjoy a honky-tonk cash bar, complimentary buffet-style meals and snacks, private restrooms, and a break from the California sunshine. The Club will also feature the Froggy 92.9 Lounge, where some of our entertainers will join Froggy on-air personalities for up close and personal interviews.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
AJ: The city has a relaxed vibe and vibrant culture. Here is a link to Country Summer lodging options, featuring a variety of property types.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
AJ: The community takes pride in Country Summer. In fact, our event was voted as the "Best Music Festival" by the readers of The Press-Democrat (local newspaper) last year. It has also received national recognition from media outlets such as Nash Country Weekly and Wide Open Country. Any positive attention the event attracts also promotes Santa Rosa.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
AJ: Absolutely, some our sponsors are local businesses, and many folks come into Santa Rosa for the weekend, spending money at shops and restaurants around town.
RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community?
AJ: We firmly support the military with a daily color guard to open the show and discounted tickets for veterans. Our mechanical bull riding attraction benefits MOMS -- Mothers of Military Service Members, a local organization.
RAL: Does lodging hit max occupancy during the event?
AJ: Country Summer is during Father's Day weekend (tickets make the perfect gift for Dad!), so occupancy rates do tend to be higher.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
AJ: It's the combination of the beautiful Santa Rosa setting and great country music entertainers, attractions, and fans that have helped us build a loyal fanbase since the event began in 2014.
For more information about Country Summer, please visit the event website.