And after a gut-wrenching 15 months in which live music, save for a handful of intimate performances in residential backyards and the buskers and performers on the Depot Plaza, Mill Valley has been bereft of one of its keystone forms of inspiration and vitality.
With the statewide June 15th reopening, Sound Summit, one of the biggest and most locally beneficial live music events in town, is returning Sept. 11 to the historic Mountain Theater, a 4,000-seat natural stone amphitheater atop Mount Tamalpais with stunning views of San Francisco Bay and beyond, after a two-year hiatus. Founder Michael Nash produces the event as an annual celebration of and fundraiser for Mount Tamalpais State Park by his nonprofit organization, Roots & Branches Conservancy. To date, Sound Summit has donated $200,000 to Mount Tam.
Despite being stuck in a holding pattern for months on booking bands with the event’s status in limbo, Michael Nash was ready to pounce when he got the green light a few weeks ago under County of Marin and state regulations governing so-called “mega-events,” as well as California State Parks.
He quickly landed on a lineup that, as has been his hallmark since Sound Summit’s inception, corralled an eclectic, multi-talented lineup that spans a range of genres.
Dynamic Americana group Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real and indie sensation Father John Misty top the bill, along with retro-cool rock band Allah-Las, high-energy New Orleans brass ensemble Cha Wa, and local powerhouse vocalist Teal Collins of the Mother Truckers. Bay Area radio personalities Murph & Mac (aka Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey) return as the day’s dynamic Masters of Ceremonies along with KPFA’s “Dead to the World” radio host Tim Lynch. DJ Andy Cabic of Vetiver fame will, once again, spin tunes between sets.
Sound Summit’s hotly anticipated return serves as a reminder of the caliber of musicians that have graced its stage, including Wilco, Bob Weir & Phil Lesh, Herbie Hancock, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Jim James, Grace Potter, Los Lobos, Dr. John & The Night Trippers, Bill Frisell, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Mother Hips, The Stone Foxes, Con Brio, and many more.
“Being able to gather with friends and family again and celebrate high atop this treasured mountain after the long and challenging year we’ve all had is a truly joyful and liberating thought,” Nash says. “We can’t wait.”
Tickets for the daylong festival go on sale Friday, June 25 at 10:00 am and are $115 for adults and $65 for youth 12 and under; children 2 and under are admitted free. Gates open at 10:00 am; music from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm.
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HERE’S A TASTE OF THE BANDS PERFORMING AT SOUND SUMMIT: