In the summertime, music fans are always looking for places where they can rock and roll in the open air, and this season, they have two brand-new choices.
Next Wednesday, the Sonoma Mountain Village Event Center, a new 3,000-seat amphitheater in Rohnert Park, opens with a live performance by the Goo Goo Dolls.
And on Aug. 16, the venerable Hoberg’s Resort & Spa, atop Cobb Mountain in Lake County, launches a new era under new ownership, with its outdoor “Heroes of Woodstock” concert.
Celebrating the 45th anniversary of the original Woodstock festival on upstate New York, the Hoberg’s event will feature Country Joe McDonald, Jefferson Starship, Canned Heat, Big Brother and the Holding Company and more.
At Sonoma Mountain Village, the Goo Goo Dolls show kicks off the new “SOMO Concerts” series, run by Morty Wiggins and Lee Smith, two former vice-presidents of Bill Graham Presents who went on to other big jobs in concert promotion and the recording industry.
Smith became chairman of Live Nation before starting his own company, Prescient Entertainment in San Francisco. Wiggins served as A&M Records’ general manager, headed Tower Records’ western devision and then founded his own Second Octave concert promotion and talent management agency in Petaluma.
The summer series in Sonoma continues Aug. 21 with a dance concert starring Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, and Wiggins is working on a third concert for the season, with a much larger schedule expected next year.
While there are already outdoor concert venues at the Green Music Center and elsewhere in Sonoma County, Wiggins sees a niche for the Sonoma Mountain Village venue, on the former Agilent computer industry campus recently redeveloped by Codding Enterprises.
“I think there’s a hole here for classic rock concerts and more alternative, younger acts,” Wiggins said. “We want to book country and pop music, too. This will be more of a social, casual space — more of a party place.”
Quite naturally, the Woodstock anniversary event at Hoberg’s in Lake County will take on a festival atmosphere, said Dan Nelson, business development manager for Lake County Partners, which bought the resort in April.
The Aug. 16 event marks the grand reopening of the hotel, with a new spa and the first 15 of 200 planned rooms, Nelson said. The concert will be held on a former baseball field, set up with VIP seating near the stage for 275 people, plus room for 2,600 more people to sit on the ground. (Bring low lawn chairs or cushions.)
Elvin Bishop will perform Aug. 17 at a follow-up “Summer of Love” concert, with plans for 30 to 40 shows next summer, when the rest of the hotel’s rooms will be open.
“It’s our intention to present concerts almost every week next season,” Nelson said.
Nelson chose a Woodstock theme for the resort’s reopening for a logical —and personal — reason.
“I produced the 40th anniversary of Woodstock show in Bethel, N.Y.,” he said. “I decided that with my relationship with the talent, it was only natural to bring them here for the grand opening.”
Here are the details for the inaugural shows at both of Sonoma County’s new outdoor venues:
The Goo Goo Dolls will perform at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Sonoma Mountain Village Event Center, 1100 Valley House Drive, Rohnert Park. $51-$71. 707-795-3550, somoconcerts.eventbrite.com.