The sounds of summer: Friday brings the first of four free Point Richmond concerts
on June 8, 2023
It’s official: The free outdoor concert series kicks off Friday, bringing budget-friendly, summertime vibes to Point Richmond.
Point Richmond Music’s beloved concert series is back for another summer jam-packed with live music, food trucks, local art, face painting, and dancing in streets. At 5:30 p.m., bring your lawn chairs to the corner of Washington Avenue and Park Place in historic downtown Point Richmond for the first of four free concerts on the second Friday of each month.
“People should go to the summer concert series if they enjoy live music, if they’re looking for a community connection, if they’d like to be able to appreciate Richmond and its culture and community spirit in a way they haven’t before,” said Christina Zirker, Point Richmond Music board member.
Whether you’re coming for a family night out, a summertime dance session, or a chance to sit down with a beer and a taco from Maya Taqueria’s food truck, you can count on a crowd each month enjoying live music on summer nights. The concerts are kid and dog friendly, as well as wheelchair accessible. While there are some chairs in the triangle park and at restaurants, seating is limited, so don’t forget your folding chairs.
Opening the concert series is Mandolin Manny & Friends, a modern bluegrass band that draws from many eclectic genres while staying rooted in bluegrass tradition; and I ko Yaya, a New Orleans zydeco band.
“I’m very excited. This probably will be our biggest gig ever,” said Manny Kaminer, whose Mandolin Manny & Friends is performing at the festival for the first time. “What I hope is that people just enjoy the music and maybe dance a little bit, listen to the words, bring their kids, and have fun.”
Playing music ranging from country blues to flamenco to R&B, each concert features two bands with hour-long performances at 5:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. Blü Egyptian and Barrio Manouche will play the second concert on July 14; Paper Birds and Howell Devine will perform on Aug. 11; and Lady Bianca and Soji Sai Afrobeat will wrap up the series on Sept. 8.
“We like to have a nice diversity of genres of music throughout the season, so you can expect something different musically each time,” Zirker said.
In its 21st year, Point Richmond Music’s free summer concert series is a veritable Richmond tradition. After canceling all 2020 and 2021 shows and following up with a limited, but well-attended, 2022 season, this year is the festival’s first full season post-COVID-19. Local businesses had to make it through the pandemic without free live music drawing the crowds and customers.
“There’s huge benefits to everybody, you know, the musicians, the listeners, the businesses that are involved. And making it a free event is, I think, crucial to making that really be truly beneficial for everyone,” Kaminer said.
It’s important to Point Richmond Music that the concerts are free and inclusive community events. Zirker, a volunteer, fundraises throughout the year to pay the musicians and keep the event going.
“You don’t need to buy a ticket, you don’t need to RSVP, you don’t need to be on a special list,” she said. “It’s really just like a street party for the community.”
More information is at pointrichmondmusic.org.
(Top photo courtesy of Bruce Kaplan and Midjourney Al)
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