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As part of its efforts to aid the North Bay’s recovery from the October wildfires, Sonoma State University will welcome country musician Brad Paisley and actress Bonnie Hunt to the Green Music Center this August.

The duo will headline a two-day event called “Thicker Than Smoke,” featuring music and storytelling to allow community members affected by the fires to share their personal experiences of devastation in hopes of assisting with the healing process. All proceeds from ticket sales for the Aug. 3 and 4 benefit weekend will go to a relief fund for first responders who suffered their own losses in the fires.

“From the beginning, the university has been a partner in the healing and the rebuilding that is occurring in Sonoma County,” Judy Sakaki, president of Sonoma State University, said in a statement. “This is a wonderful opportunity for us to come together, to support one another and to share our stories of what happened during those horrific days in October.”

Sonoma County author Brandon Spars will kick off the event by hosting an evening of storytelling on Friday evening, Aug. 3, at the Green Music Center’s Weill Hall. Ten or more local speakers will share their tales of survival and overcoming adversity following the firestorm.

The next night, Paisley and Hunt take over to host an acoustic concert at Weill Hall and its outdoor lawn that will incorporate local stories. First responders and others who suffered losses in the fires are invited to take advantage of 200 free tickets to the event.

“This event is a perfect example of the healing power of the arts, and we are so grateful that this donation will be coming to the foundation nine months after the fires when there remains tremendous unmet needs in the community,” Elizabeth Brown, president and CEO of the Community Foundation Sonoma County that oversees the Resilience Fund, said in the statement. “Continued generosity such as this will allow the foundation to continue helping and healing Sonoma County residents over the next several years of recovery.”

Tickets for the event go on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday and can be purchased at or by calling 866-955-6040.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin Fixler at 707-521-5336 or at On Twitter @kfixler.