World Music Day returned to Palo Alto for the third year on Sunday (June 19). This time, the dance floor was a lot bigger.
During the free outdoor music festival, musicians of many genres played on sidewalks, corners and plazas in the University Avenue area. This year the city decided to make more room on the street, too.
"I'm very please by the way it turned out," organizer Claude Ezran said. "Everyone seemed to enjoy the event; it was very well-attended."
The event was 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.
"It's not only a celebration of music and of musicians but it's a great community-building event as well, with people meeting their friends and neighbors while discovering new music," Ezran said.
Ezran said the closure of University Avenue for the festival was a success and that the "businesses were booming."
About 50 acts performed 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 included the Palo Alto Weekly.
More information is at World Music Day.
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 16, 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. Information is at
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. Information at tandcvillage.com.