Circles Around the SunFor any Mill Valley resident whose head does not reside in the sand, The Junction has long been one of the most exciting spaces in all of 94941. It’s one of the most creative business models deployed in town.

In July 2020, a fraught moment of COVID-19 crisis confusion, Liz and Dez Fiedler, coupled with Pizza Hacker’s Jeff Krupman, launched The Junction, a tap room, beer garden and community gathering space showcasing 30 rotating taps, dozens more available to go, as well as Krupman’s renowned pizzas, salads and, eventually, bagels and breakfast tacos. Ever since then, the multi-faceted business has thrived on innovation, creativity and knowing the sweet spot between Tam Junction locals and visitors coming to town for a pre- or post-hike/bike ride around the beauty of Mount Tam.

The Junction also built a following for showcasing incredible local and regional live music (and they’ve been the indestructible backbone of the beverage program at the Mill Valley Music Fest). The live music paused over the past many months while we all got a chance to become experts on the phrase “atmospheric river,” but on Wednesday, June 28, the Junction is hosting the venue’s first outdoor concert of the summer, featuring Los Angeles-based instrumental supergroup Circles Around the Sun. The band was initially formed with the purpose of creating music for “Fare Thee Well,” a series of reunion concerts played by the surviving members of the Grateful Dead. The response was so positive that they continued with follow-up projects even after undergoing a fundamental transition in 2019 with the death of lead guitarist Neal Casal.

The contemporary instrumental rock band was initially formed with the purpose of creating music for “Fare Thee Well”, a series of reunion concerts played by the surviving members of the Grateful Dead. Those shows celebrated the band’s 50th anniversary and served as their official send-off, while Circles Around the Sun was designed to reflect the Dead’s overall spacy, groove-laden feel. After the tour, the group released a self-titled album from the Fare Thee Well gigs, supporting the record with their own road trip. The response was so positive that they continued on with a follow-up project, Let It Wander, in 2018. This record was less influenced by the Dead and more free-form, delivering on the roots influence of jazz-funk, soul, and fusion. The band underwent a fundamental transition in 2019. After completing the Meets Joe Russo EP and a third album, their guitarist Neal Casal committed suicide on August 26, 2019. He left his bandmates a note asking for them to continue in his absence– to continue recording, touring, and playing together. The band decided to carry on with a rotating cast of guitarists, landing on John Lee Shannon as the permanent replacement.

“In this metamorphosis, Circles Around the Sun spans both heartbreak and hope,” the band says. “Doors close; windows open; new directions extend themselves in mysterious ways. But sometimes you know it’s real from the first beat. It just clicks. It’s just how Neal would want it. It’s Circles Around The Sun.”

The Junction taps

Photo by Jessica Paul.

“Our taproom was born out of a serious love for beer and a dream of a chill place to hang out after playing in the mountains,” Dez Fiedler says. “We have 30 rotating taps so you will find new & interesting brews every day – mostly from local breweries. we also have a solid lineup of wine, cider, and booch on draft. The Junction is kid-friendly, dog-friendly, and bike-friendly!

Live Music at The Junction takes place on their outdoor stage set against the backdrop of Mt. Tam. With a venue capacity of 500 for live music shows, ticket holders can arrive early and eat dinner or grab a tasty beverage before the show starts.  With two firepits and 20 permanent patio heaters, the venue is comfortable no matter the weather. A free shuttle service is provided from the nearby Manzanita Park N Ride at Highway 101 at the Mill Valley exit.

Doors open at 5pm. Show is 7-10pm. The Junction is at 226 Shoreline Highway, Mill Valley, CA, 94941.

Beer, wine, soft drinks & pizza are available throughout the show. No outside food, drinks or dogs allowed. Outdoor, all-ages show. Tickets are general admission seating, first come first served, and non-refundable.

Tickets are $30 and are available online now.