Several years ago, Bill Myers and Linda Pavlak had the notion to throw a party. Not your regular garden party, mind you, but a fundraiser… for a state park.
They chose Sugarloaf State Park – which had been closed in 2012 due to lack of state funding – as the recipient, and the rustic amphitheater at Sugarloaf as the site of the first series of “Funky Friday” events. In 2013, they got their party started.
Live bands plugged in on the rustic stage, and played well past dusk. Sugarloaf itself provided the stunning setting and gorgeous backdrop. In those days, campers at the Sugarloaf campgrounds could just walk over to the beautiful site, and have fun listening and dancing in the outdoor setting. The series ran at Sugarloaf for two years, and it became very popular.
So popular, in fact, that they got themselves evicted.
There were too many people heading up the road to the concert site, and numerous environmental concerns led to their being shut out of the venue. The search for a new site was launched.
In 2016, the Funky Friday series moved to the grounds of the Hood Mansion, in Kenwood. The glorious new location offered easier access and ample parking, and hundreds of music lovers have attended since. The proceeds now go to the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation. The music series location has proven to be very popular, and the series has raised over $100,000.
This year, Myers and Pavlak are at it again. It begins June 1, and will run through Aug. 31, 14 evenings in all. They are excited to present the series, which they promise will allow local music fans to celebrate summer at a family-oriented event.
The 2018 concert series sees the return of several popular local bands, and some newcomers as well. The series is a draw for local musicians, and Pavlak has the luxury of choosing from about 50 acts that submit their requests each season. New to the series this year are Levi Lloyd, Sidemen, and Rock and Roll Rhythm Review. Returning to the Funky stage are Volker Strifler, the Funky Dozen, Frobeck, Soulshine, the Poyntlyss Sistars, Bluesburners, Stax City, Gator Nation and the Jami Jamison Band.
Dennis Cordellos, lead guitarist for the Jami Jamison Band, said his band loves playing at the “wonderful” Hood Manison venue.
“We have been there since the beginning, and it is one of our favorite gigs,” said Cordellos. He describes the band’s music as “jazz, blues, swing and funk – with a bit more funk, lately.” The Jami Jamison Band takes the stage on Aug. 10.
Kenwood Vineyards will offer a range of wines for sale by the glass or bottle. HenHouse Brewing Company of Santa Rosa will offer beer. No outside alcohol is permitted, and attendees are encouraged to pack a yummy meal, or buy one there, from a great array of vendors; Tri Tip Trolley, Picazo Café, Rainy Day Chocolates and Sweet Scoops.
Melissa Kelley, executive director for the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation, said, “The proceeds of the 2018 concerts will support special projects at regional parks throughout Sonoma Valley, especially the fire-damaged Sonoma Valley Regional Park.”
Pavlak stated that the event needs about 50 people to run smoothly, about 30 of whom are volunteers. The balance is made up with parks employees and others. There is a volunteer page on its website (www.funkyfridays.info).
June 1 Levi Lloyd & Friends
June 8 Sidemen
June 15 The BluesBurners
June 22 Poyntlyss Sistars Band
June 29 Stax City
July 6 Funky Dozen
July 13 Gator Nation
July 20 Dylan Black Project
July 27 Soul Fuse
August 3 Frobeck ~The Big Fit ~
August 10 Jami Jamison Band
August 17 Volker Strifler
August 24 Soulshine
August 31 Rock and Roll Rhythm Revue