From English mega-musicians Bad Company to American icons Heart, the B.R. Cohn Charity Fall Music Festival sent rock waves through the vineyards this weekend while also raising money for Valley charities. Although Saturday’s downpour rained out a few acts, the sun dried out dancers by the early afternoon who quickly got back to swaying to “Takin’ It to the Streets” when the Doobie Brothers took to the stage.
“We were glued to the weather for 10 days. I went down to St. Francis to Father Mike and asked him to pray for the concert,” said Michael Coats, longtime publicist for the charity concert, who admitted Saturday morning brought a slew of challenges. “But, not one person asked for their money back, so we’re happy.”
Organizers were even more ecstatic when the bids started piling up during the concert’s mid-show charity auctions, which brought in $70,000 on Saturday and another $50,000 on Sunday.
Final event totals won’t be available for five to six weeks, Coats said, but all proceeds will be split between the Redwood Empire Food Bank, the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, the Guardsmen and Sonoma’s Field of Dreams.
Now in its 27th year, the charitable concert still packs a punch with its powerhouse lineups. The always-entertaining Doobie Brothers got the crowd perfectly primed for headliners Bad Company on Saturday and Heart on Sunday. Heart’s Ann Wilson proved why she’s named “Top Heavy Metal Vocalists of All Time,” belting out hits from “Magic Man” to “Alone;” while sister Nancy Wilson shredded on guitar.
The weekend events also included a charity auction dinner cooked by Chef Mark Stark on Friday, with the Celebrity Golf Classic closing out the long weekend on Monday at the Sonoma Golf Club.