Two new outdoor music venues open

  • Sonoma Mountain Village concert venue in Rohnert Park is being built in preparation for their GooGoo Dolls concert on July 30, 2014. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

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.

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