Sounds of summer

Summertime music: When the nightlife wakes up a little early and goes outside to play.

Photo By David Robert

The nightlife’s mama called and told it, “It’s a beautiful day—get your butt outside and play.” In the summertime, music is not restrained to late-night smoky bars and clubs. It plays around you as you laze in the grass by the river. It’s absorbed into a park’s hillside. It accompanies you as you shop for local veggies at the farmers market or as you lounge poolside, cocktail in hand.

Welcome to RN&R’s primer to the best spots to catch outdoor music this season.

Wingfield Park

Corner of Arlington Avenue and W. First Street;

To toot our own horn a bit, RN&R’s been putting on the free Friday night concert series Rollin’ on the River for 11 years now. Los Straitjackets kick it off in Wingfield Park on June 9 with their instrumental rock. Following weeks bring The Iguanas in from New Orleans, Latin rockers Los Mocosos, roots rock artist Roger Len Smith and guitarists Coco Montoya and Johnny A. Wrapping it up July 28 is blues man Charlie Musselwhite.

Bring a blanket or lawn chair unless you want to stand or sit in the grass. Food and drinks are available at each concert. All shows begin at 5:30 p.m. with a local opening act.

The folks at Artown have lined up some great, mostly local, mostly free, talent to play at Wingfield in July. There’s a theatrical Mozart concert mixing actors with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra on July 3. Other highlights include Masterworks Chorale, the Sierra Nevada Ballet, “Pops on the River”, comedian/musician Michael Lauziere, jazz septet Los Hombres Calientes, Nevada Opera, a “Drum, Dance and Digeridoo” festival, and DBR and the Mission.

Bartley Ranch Park Amphitheater

6000 Bartley Ranch Road, 828-6642

This outdoor amphitheater is set back against a south Reno hillside within Bartley Ranch Park. Big-name acts continue to be drawn to the relatively small, 400-seat venue, where great acoustics come from the stage, and the proximity of the audience to the performers gives it all a cozy feel.

This summer’s lineup is as impressive as ever, beginning June 17 with alt-country singer-songwriter Todd Snider and ending Sept. 23 with the rockabilly of the Blasters. In between are 13 other performances including Ricky Skaggs, Greg Brown, Bruce Hornsby, Kris Kristofferson, Rodney Crowell and Shawn Colvin, Randy Newman, Big Head Todd & the Monsters with Toad the Wet Sprocket, Ani Difranco and others. Prices range from $25-$60.

The Beethoven at Bartley event throughout July hosts the Great Basin Brass Quintet, the Poulenc Trio, Argenta and the Brazilian Guitar Quartet. Other performers in July include Bella Voce, the Hickman Brass, the Silver Dollar Chorus and Cuban dance orchestra Pink Martini. These shows range from $5-$45.

Sparks Hometown Farmers’ Market and Great Basin Brewery

846 Victorian Ave., 355-7711

Photo By David Robert

While buying natural honey, organic zucchini and all that other stuff at the farmers’ market, be sure to stop by the Great Basin Brewery for their free outdoor concerts held during the Thursday farmers’ markets through August 24. Opening bands go on at 5 p.m., with the main act at 7 p.m. The Outpsyders, an alt-country band from Lake Tahoe begins the series on June 15. Bay Area rockers Luce, new-jam band Frame of Mind, local favorites Sol Jibe, classic rock group Bad Neighbors, funky jazz/hip-hop/jam band Native Root, the bluesy Trey Stone Band and Blue Turtle Seduction are tentatively scheduled to round out the Thursday series.

There’s also outdoor music on Friday and Saturday nights.

Reno Hilton Outdoor Amphitheater

2500 E. Second St., 789-2285

The Hilton’s Outdoor Amphitheater seats 8,500 people and is usually one of the biggest outdoor venues of the year. The series is a bit smaller this year because the Reno Hilton is in the middle of a sales transition to become the Grand Sierra Resort. So far, there are only two bands scheduled for outdoor concerts this summer: INXS on June 9 and Lynyrd Skynyrd on Aug. 19. Entertainment director Chris Christiansen says a total of six outdoor concerts are expected before the season’s end in September.

Harrah’s on the Plaza

219 N. Center St, 786-3232

Harrah’s free summer concert series officially kicks off on July 1 with Briefcase Full of Blues. The concerts on the plaza are free and feature mostly local and regional acts. Music tends to coincide with local events. For example, rock ‘n’ roll and oldies bands like Shake Rattle & Roll are booked for Hot August Nights.

Harveys Outdoor Concert Series

Hwy. 50 at Stateline Avenue, 588-2411

The Harveys outdoor concert series at Lake Tahoe draws some of the bigger-named acts to the area (with prices to match). See the calendar section for the lineup.

Sands Regency

345 N. Arlington Ave., 348-2200

Cool blue pool. No-host bar. Jazz and blues artists playing right next to you. Free admission. Not a bad way to spend a summer evening. A new lineup of jazz artists play every Sunday in July from 6 to 8 p.m. Take a dip with the Reno Blues Society every Wednesday in July at 5 p.m. with “Blues by the Pool.”