Downtown is the place to be for summer of music |

Downtown is the place to be for summer of music

Ronni Hannaman
Set against the backdrop of the historic downtown mansions, music will be heard on almost every street corner during the Annual Taste of Downtown, July 22.
Ronni Hannaman |

This extreme weather conditions of this past winter have us all looking toward summer when, we hope, the weather is more consistent and the sun shines upon us almost every day.

The summers in Carson City are becoming ever more eventful with the sounds of music just about on every street corner and in every lounge. We’re going to be musically spoiled again as free concerts continue to be announced. These concerts will get us off our backyard lounge chairs and socializing in friendly concert venues, mostly located in the downtown core.

There’ll be plenty of paid music venues, too, in Reno, Lake Tahoe and the Carson Valley. And, don’t forget Virginia City rocks on weekends throughout the year as the Comstock Cowboys continue to entertain at the famed Bucket of Blood.

The free venues have been in the planning stages since the first of the year. Elinor and David Bugli coordinate the annual Jazz Festival — this year Aug. 4-21 — and it takes at least 30 volunteers, possibly more, to oversee the details of all the venues. Elinor Bugli estimates at least 650 plus hours are dedicated to the planning and execution of the 18-day event.

Those who love Jazz — and beyond — will be hearing tunes all over town. This year, two new extraordinary events will be added to the Jazz Festival lineup at the Brewery Arts Center (BAC). The Hohner Harmonica Traveling Roadshow, featuring nationally acclaimed Ronnie Shellist, will entertain with local musicians and teach the art of the harmonica on Aug. 6.

On Aug. 17, the multi-Instrumentalist Todd Greene, the one-man band of World Music, will talk, demonstrate and perform on 25 instruments, sharing the history of each. What a delight for kids who may want to learn how to play a musical instrument.

Elinor writes, “Jazz & Beyond is presented by the Mile High Jazz Band Association with support from Carson City. Almost all the events are admission free, although donations are welcome. Without volunteers and city and state grants, this festival couldn’t happen.” The overall budget is approximately $28,500 — 25 percent of which comes through a city grant.

The always anticipated and sold-out Taste of Downtown, sponsored by Advocates to End Domestic Violence, will take place on July 22. Advocates director Lisa Lee has released tickets early this year stating, “With renovations of downtown, I am sure we will attract more people than normal.”

She anticipates the event to be sold out and “the most exciting Taste of Downtown to date.” It takes about 175 volunteers to create this signature event. If you haven’t seen your friends or neighbors in the past year, expect to run into them at the Taste of Downtown!

If you loved sitting under the stars last summer enjoying the variety of free concerts presented by the Brewery Arts Association through the generous grant of the Levitt Foundation, rejoice! The series is coming back this year thanks to a $25,000 matching grant. Carson City is one of 15 cities nationwide to be chosen for this honor.

Quoting from the BAC grant application, the BAC is “creating one of those unique shared experiences that actually create community, bringing 800-1200 audience members to each performance to the heart of Carson City to enjoy free, live music and community.” As Mayor Robert Crowell keeps reiterating every chance he can, “We are a community in the truest sense of the word.” The first concert on June 23 will feature everyone’s favorite band, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

While the Taste of Downtown, Jazz & Beyond Festival and the BAC Levitt AMP series are the cornerstones of downtown music this year, there are some other major events planned as well.

The BAC will hold paid venues including the Concert Under the Stars on July 12 to benefit the Greenhouse Project. Be sure to check out their website or this newspaper.

The second annual Epic Rides event on June 16 will feature the Four Peaks Music Festival, and of course, who doesn’t love the CTR Rockabilly Riot to take place at Mills Park, June 22-25.

There are so many chances to get out and tap your fingers and toes and most won’t cost you a penny. Most events are family-oriented, so grab the entire family and enjoy our newly minted city to its fullest!

For more information on all these events and so many more, be sure to log on to the Chamber’s Community Calendar at