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Music in the air: a trio of concert series coming this summer

Diana Jorgenson
Portola Editor

    The summer music season is already in full swing in eastern Plumas. The Feather River Dixieland Jazz Society began its summer concert series May 25 with returning favorites Midnight Rose Jazz Band and Black Tuesday Jazz Band.

    The group holds its Dixieland concerts on the Graeagle Picnic Grounds on Apache Trail, but the weather proved daunting so the concert went inside at the Graeagle Fire Hall. However, the weather was not formidable enough to stop jazz lovers, and nearly a hundred folks showed up, including a sizable contingent from Reno, to dance their shoes away.


    The next concert is scheduled for June 27 at 1 p.m. and will feature Fog City Jazz Band and 20th Century Jazz Band. Admission is $10 at the door to non-members and only $3 to members of the Feather River Dixieland Jazz Society. Children under 12 attend for free.

    The event also features an inexpensive bar, soft drinks, hot dogs and popcorn.

    The Sunday afternoon performances continue July 18 with King Cotton Jazz Band and Dr. Bach and his Jazz Practitioners.

   Cats ‘n’ Jammers Jazz Band and Polly’s Hot Paupers will appear Aug. 15, and the final summer concert will be held Sept. 5, with performances by Jazz City Jazz Band and a return performance by King Cotton Jazz Band.

    The concerts are always a lot of fun and no one is shy about dancing, so plan to attend and bring a visitor. The jazz concert series in a small mountain town might be a surprise to newcomers to the area, but it is a familiar and welcomed entertainment to residents.

    Portola’s Concerts in the Park begin July 9 with a new group called Blue Haven, which is doing its best to keep the blues alive and well. The concert series is held outside in City Park, so bring your own chair or blanket to the informal and free event. Performances begin at 7 p.m.

    Feather River Community Partnership sponsors the event in collaboration with the city of Portola and Plumas Arts. Many of the groups appearing this year are new to the series, and Feather River Community Partnership promises to have more information on individual bands closer to their appearances.

     July 16 brings Sawdust Charlie with gold old-fashioned country rock to the performing stage.

     The MexiCultural Fiesta returns July 23, with Mexican food available to concertgoers. The favorite event is a real extravaganza, complete with piñatas for the kids, and draws a huge crowd.

    The highlight of the evening is a troupe of Mexican folk dancers from the Reno area. The dancers are all under the age of 20 and some of them have been as young as 4 or 5 in years past. They are fully costumed in a variety of ways from folk costumes with swirling skirts to cowboy attire and even Aztec clothing with gold and feathers.

    The Devilles, familiar to local audiences for their funk and soul sound, will appear July 30, and P.A. Test Dummies headlines Aug. 6.

     The final two performances this summer bring new performers to the area: Momentum, high-energy rock, blues and funk, appears Aug. 13, and the Young Country Band will perform country music at the Community Picnic kicking off Railroad Days on Aug. 19.

   Another concert series in the area has been ongoing for decades now: the Music at the Mine series in Sierra City on the other end of the Lakes Basin. Concerts are again held outdoors, this time at the Kentucky Mine Museum grounds on Saturday nights throughout the summer.

    The concert series opened last Saturday with Bourgeois Gypsies. Next performance is July 17 with the big band sound of Swing Fever. Ticket price for that show is $15.

    Mumbo Gumbo brings its unique Zydeco-soul-rock blend back to the mountains July 24. Tickets are priced at $20 for the popular band. The Stardust Cowboys add country western rock to the series July 31. Tickets are $15 each.

     The final performance happens Aug. 7 with Joni Morris performing a tribute to Patsy Cline. Tickets for this show are $20. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m.

    Concertgoers are encouraged to make a night of it and attend the pre-concert barbecue, cooked by Chef Bob Morales, beginning at 6 p.m. Dinner tickets are priced at an additional $15 each.

     For more information and directions to the Kentucky Mine, visit kentuckymine.org.

     The amphitheater at the Kentucky Mine is located amid beautiful mountain scenery, and the setting always enhances the evening’s musical enjoyment.

   All of the concert series boast magical mountain ambiance and great music. When you add in the fact that they are either free or very nominally priced, how can you even resist?

     So, be advised, if you keep your Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays open this summer, you shall have music wherever you go.


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