An iconic set of female rockers along with a famed British pop band will join perennial favorites, the Doobie Brothers, at the 27th annual BR Cohn Fall Music Festival, set for this weekend, Sept. 20 to 23.
Set under the shade of the oak trees at BR Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen, the Fall Music Festival draws thousands with its line-up of classic rock bands along with some more contemporary performers. The music takes place on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21 and 22, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., but the weekend is rounded out with a Charity Auction Dinner on Friday night followed by the annual Celebrity Golf Classic on Monday.
It was 1973 when a group of British rockers came together and formed Bad Company, the first act to sign to the legendary Swan Song Records; the label founded by English rock-royalty, Led Zeppelin, in 1974. Bad Company’s first, self-titled album attacked the Billboard charts, hitting to No. 1 on the Billboard Music Charts with songs like “Can’t Get Enough.” That record eventually went platinum five times, and was followed by 1975’s “Straight Shooter,” which went platinum three times and included the track “Feel Like Makin’ Love” that can still be heard on radio stations today. The band broke up in 1982, but reunited in 1986 for six years, making albums like “Fame and Fortune” and “Dangerous Age.” It wasn’t until “Bad Company Anthology” was released in 1999 that they began touring together again, and continue to sell out shows all over the world. Bad Company, including founder Paul Rodgers, can be seen headlining the BR Cohn Fall Music Festival on Saturday, Sept. 21.
Saturday’s show also includes another performance from the Doobie Brothers, who have played nearly every festival at BR Cohn since the charity concerts began 27 years ago. Marty Cohn, brother of winery proprietor Bruce Cohn, helped the the Doobie Brothers get signed to Warner Bros. Records in the 1970s, and later managed the band domestically and on international tours. With four decades of music under their belt, the Doobie Brothers will bring their entire catalogue loaded with hits like “Listen to the Music” and “China Grove.”
Saturday’s showcase also includes Pablo Cruise, which had four top-20 hits between 1973 and 1986, such as “Whatcha Gonna Do?” and “Love Will Find a Way.” Lara Johnston makes a return appearance to Glen Ellen; her song “K.I.S.S.” recently won the Unsigned Only Competition, judged by the likes of Iggy Pop and Chrissie Hynde. Pat Simmons Jr., son of Doobie Brothers’ vocalist Pat Simmons, rounds out Saturday’s lineup.
Sunday, Sept. 22, the ladies take to the limelight. During the wave of female musicians that swelled in the 1970s, few had the staying power of Heart, who masterminded addictive pop numbers like “Crazy on You” and “Barracuda.” But sisters Nancy and Ann Wilson didn’t just bring a pretty face and a nice melody; their musical prowess proved it had weight, snagging four Grammy nominations throughout their career. Their danceable catalogue includes anthems like “Alone,” “Wild Child” and “I Want You So Bad,” which they’ll bring to the BR Cohn stage.
Sunday will also include another set by the Doobie Brothers; proceeded by the Gin Blossoms, who came to fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a time when hair metal met grunge music. Their break-out 1992 album “New Miserable Experience” held spots on the music charts for three straight years thanks to their most memorable songs “Hey Jealousy,” “Allison Road” and “Found Out About You.” Johnston and Simmons, Jr. also return for Sunday’s showcase.
Tickets to the Fall Music Festival are $89 for general admission or $350 for VIP access with preferred seating, two drink tickets and a Wine Country buffet by Stark and Co. For serious music lovers, there are the side-stage ($550) and on-stage ($1,000) experience tickets, providing a seat just steps from the musicians themselves. On-stage ticket holders also get a meet and greet with performers.
The weekend of charitable events kicks off on Friday, Sept. 20, with the Charity Auction Dinner prepared by Chef Mark Stark. Set under the 140-year-old olive grove at BR Cohn Winery, the gourmet meal will be followed by a fundraising auction with one-of-a-kind trips, autographed guitars and more. The night ends with an acoustic musical performance by Pablo Cruise. Dinner tickets are $175.
The weekend culminates with a Celebrity Gold Classic on Monday, Sept. 23, at the Sonoma Golf Club. Registration is $275 and includes a logo t-shirt and a boxed lunch.
Proceeds from this year’s BR Cohn Festival will benefit Redwood Empire Food Bank, the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, the Guardsmen and Wounded Warriors.
For tickets or more details, visit brcohn.com.