Palo Alto Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - June 17, 2011

Songs for the outdoors

Free al fresco concerts in Palo Alto include World Music Day, Twilight series

by Rebecca Wallace

World Music Day is coming back to Palo Alto for the third year on June 19. This time, the dance floor's a lot bigger.

During the free outdoor music festival, musicians of many genres play on sidewalks, corners and plazas in the University Avenue area. Now the city has decided to make more room on the street, too.

"For the last two years, numerous attendees have requested that the city close University Avenue for this event," Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa said in a press release. Sidewalks, it seems, will not be as packed as in years past.

The event is from 3 to 7:30 p.m. on Father's Day, with the main drag closed between Cowper and High streets from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

About 50 acts are set to play as part of an international tradition. The outdoor Fete de la Musique festival started in France in 1982 and spread to other countries; Palo Alto Human Relations Commissioner Claude Ezran started the local version in 2009. Here, World Music Day is now organized by the Palo Alto Recreation Foundation, and attracted some 10,000 attendees last year, according to the city. Sponsors include the Palo Alto Weekly.

Musicians set to perform this year include: Singing Wood Marimba, playing music from Zimbabwe; BuffaloChip, with acoustic roots music; the tenor banjo/accordion singing duo Plink and Plunk; The Altos Brass quintet; country singer Hannah Allison; opera singer Catherine Vincenti; Alex Nee, playing indie folk, reggae and punk; rock/pop musician Johnny Law; blues musician Mike Annuzzi; and Chinese pop musician Weimin Ding. For more, go to pamusicday.org.

The City of Palo Alto's other big free summer music event is its Twilight Concert Series. Shows are scheduled from July 2 through Aug. 20, at city parks and on California Avenue, starting at 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays.

This year's lineup is: the Travis Air Force Base Band of the Golden West, July 2, Rinconada Park; Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums playing jump blues, swing and jazz, July 9, California Avenue; '70s rock band Moonalice, July 23, Rinconada Park, 777 Embarcadero Road; Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble Pellejo Seco, July 30, Rinconada Park; Celtic folk rock band Tempest, Aug. 6, Mitchell Park, 600 E. Meadow Drive; Beatles cover band The Sun Kings, Aug. 13, Mitchell Park; and various Bay Area teen bands, Aug. 20, Mitchell Park.

Details are at cityofpaloalto.org.

Also in Palo Alto is the free Summerfest at Stanford Shopping Center. The nonprofit SFJAZZ brings acts to Clock Tower Plaza near Neiman Marcus on Thursdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. through Aug. 18.

The series features the Stanford Jazz Workshop Faculty All-Stars on June 23. Other performers include the jazz-funk-soul quartet Times 4 on July 21 and the French Gypsy jazz ensemble Le Jazz Hot Quartet on Aug. 18. Go to sfjazz.org/sfjazz-summerfest.

Palo Alto's Town & Country Village shopping center at 855 El Camino Real has a free outdoor series as well. Weekly shows on Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. start with the Jules Broussard Band romantic ballads, jazz and Big Band on July 6 and end with the rock tribute band Double Take on July 27. Go to tandcvillage.com.

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