Tuesday in the Plaza
CELLPHONE A concert-goer in Healdsburg captures the moment in this image from a 2023 Tuesday in the Plaza. (Photo by Cynthia Glassell)

Familiar faces, new bands and old friends will fill the Healdsburg Plaza on Tuesday nights from 6-8pm for the 2024 season of free concerts, Tuesdays in the Plaza, presented by the city’s Community Services Department. 

The weekly summer concerts at the downtown Plaza provide an eclectic and unusual line-up of bands to please a wide array of musical interests. Though previous Tuesdays have emphasized the aging boomer crowd (formerly described as “the brie-and-chardonnay crowd”), the bands have become increasingly diverse with the passing years.

This summer will feature three bands with a Latin flavor, six overt tribute bands, three bands that might be called “rock” and two country-styled outfits. But now that Charlie Musselwhite has left Sonoma for Coahoma County, blues is a no-show on the Tuesday stage, though reggae continues to make its token annual appearance.

An appetizing assortment of food vendors will pop up on the Plaza Street side of the event, including Lola’s Market, Rose’s Burgers & Brats, Healdsburger, Nellie’s Oysters, K&B Elixirs and Dino’s Greek Food Truck. Several will be on hand to offer locally sourced food in various styles for sale starting at 5pm, with the music beginning at 6pm.

Attendees are encouraged to ride bicycles to the Plaza, where the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition will have a “bike valet” service to check in and store bikes in a secure location for the duration of the evening concert. To retrieve a bike, the user hands in the check tag and the bike is returned.

This year’s musical talent includes:

May 28: Foreverland is a Michael Jackson tribute, but given the Gloved One’s lengthy career and stylistic range, they fill the stage with members, memories and no fewer than three lead vocalists to carry the tunes. 

June 4: Grupo Café Canela frequently plays in the Bay Area, though their website claims they’re from the Southland, Kern County in particular. They play Latin rock and “the music of Selena,” the Queen of Tejano.

June 11: Casual Country has a rotating list of musicians, always in support of Craig MacArthur and David Simon-Baker. They lead live and studio bands that pay homage to everyone from Neil Young to the Beach Boys, but they’ll doubtless lean toward Nashville and Austin for this gig.

June 18: MJ’s Brass Boppers is this summer’s entry from the Healdsburg Jazz Festival, which will be in the midst of its annual celebration. Founding member Michael Jones, a.k.a. MJ, is joined by 10 or so other musicians who predominantly play brass—sousaphone, trumpets, trombones and saxophones.

June 25: Los Caminantes de Humberto Navarro is an immersion in the popular ranchera music style of Northern Mexico and the border region, performed by a six-piece dance band. The group is named for the Mexican drummer and bandleader who died in 2011.

July 2: The Sorentinos mark another return to the Healdsburg Plaza, where they often play original music by singer-songwriter Danny Sorentino and significant covers. Founded in 1985, their repertoire is wide-ranging and their roots in Sonoma County run deep.

July 9: Sam Grisman Project is fresh off a gig at Cosmico in Guerneville. They call their music “newgrass,” and are upfront about their dedication to the music of spiritual father Jerry Garcia and biological father David Grisman, whose bluegrass forays are legendary.

July 16 Fleetwood Macramé is the second overt tribute band in this year’s Plaza line-up, with its members taking on the personas of the British hit-makers. They, too, have played in Healdsburg recently, at Coyote Sonoma as recently as April of this year.

July 23: Assembly of Dust is an American rock band built around Strangefolk frontman and co-founder Reid Genauer. Their influences include Steely Dan, the Band, J.J. Cale and Little Feat. Cool name, too.

July 30: Steve Pile is a well-known local musician with roots in Alaska, Texas and Sonoma County—and he recently played with Ghana’s Jali Bakary at TEDx Sonoma County. For this gig he channels Beatle George Harrison, making this another tribute show.

Aug. 6: Anthony Arya Band promises Americana Rock, a big bucket that the former contestant on NBC’s The Voice fills with “Dylanesque folksy lyricism.” Many of his shows are in the Santa Cruz area, so Healdsburg is a journey for the young talent.

Aug. 13: Grupo Valle de Santiago is another Latin rock band with an emphasis on “cumbia,” the Colombian song style Rocio La Dama de la Cumbia has inoculated Healdsburg with during her three appearances.

Aug. 20: IrieFuse (say it fast), a San Francisco-based reggae band, backs up touring musicians such as Barrington Levy, Yellowman and Don Carlos while building their own following.

Aug. 27: New Moon on Monday ends the summer 2024 Tuesdays in the Plaza season with another tribute, this time to Duran Duran. In fact the band’s name is that of a single from the British New Wave band, at their height in the 1980s.

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Christian Kallen has called Healdsburg home for over 30 years. A former travel writer and web producer, he has worked with Microsoft, Yahoo, MSNBC and other media companies, usually in an editorial capacity. He started reporting locally in 2008, moving from Patch to the Sonoma Index-Tribune to the Kenwood Press before joining the Healdsburg Tribune in 2022.


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