By Valerie Heimerich
Sacramento is home to a thriving community of musicians and other artists, and there are many opportunities to support and encourage their talents. Weekends at the Fox & Goose Public House bring an eclectic collection of live bands playing music of every type and era, including jazz, rock, electric blues, reggae, rockabilly, Tex-Mex and folk.
Concerts In The Park (CITP)
Cesar Chavez Plaza
910 I St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
This free annual music festival is held each Friday from early May through late July. The weekly concerts are from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., offering live entertainment to a cumulative seasonal audience of more than 75,000 guests. The iconic series is as much a cultural and community event as it is an opportunity to support local musicians and DJs. With an extensive array of food trucks, cold beer, contests, activities with local artists, after-party locations and more, the concerts are a popular place for get-togethers with friends and family. Musical performances cover a wide variety of genres, including R&B, funk, ska punk, rock, hip hop, Americana, EDM, country and synth pop. The series has featured Sac-town bands like the SAMMIE-award winning rock/funk/reggae group Arden Park Roots and rising hip hop artists Hobo Johnson and the Lovemakers.
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2220 Tanzanite Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95834
Since debuting in 2015, First Festival has grown into a huge, multiple-stage event held throughout the first weekend in May. The focus then and now is on local bands, singers, songwriters and other area musicians, but the festival also features comedy, art installations, food, brews and many other activities. Truly creative and talented musicians perform in genres including acid jazz, rock, reggae, indie pop, hip hop, hard rock, experimental pop, garage rock, punk rock, funk pop, roots rock, R&B, jangle jazz, power folk, folk Americana, retro futuristic, post hardcore, EDM/house, soul and more.
Second Saturday Art Walk
Located between H and Q Streets
Sacramento, CA 95814
The second Saturday of each month brings an opportunity to experience local musicians, some experienced professionals and some still working out the kinks. Streets in Midtown Sacramento are closed off for the free, high energy street fair; galleries are open for the perusal of unique art pieces, restaurants, vendors, bars and shops offer special deals and wandering performance artists are the norm. Music is at the core of the experience, with live bands and singers performing on multiple stages. Walking around the festival offers a near continual segue from thrash metal to blue grass, from salsa to hip hop. One unique example of the value of supporting local musicians is The College Fund Street Band, young siblings literally working to raise money for their education. The band initially performed at Second Saturday with a ukulele and drum, fronted by then 9-year-old Leland Fong singing with awkward charm and a pop-idol’s swagger. Currently ranging in age from 10 to 22 years, the polished and talented band has now performed on TV shows, at Dodgers Stadium, AT&T Park, weddings and corporate events.
Fox & Goose Public House
1001 R St.
Sacramento, CA 95811
A Sacramento landmark, Fox & Goose has offered English grub, pints of ale and performances by local musicians since 1975. The convivial and intimate space includes entertainment on most evenings, including the longest running Open Mic in town and a boisterous Pub Quiz. One night per week includes Northern Soul dance music, an English take on 1960’s Motown, played alongside patrons’ lively cornhole games, while other evenings feature acoustic singer-songwriter performances, jam sessions or DJ-hosted soul, funk and old school music. Weekends bring an eclectic collection of live bands playing music of every type and era, including jazz, rock, electric blues, reggae, rockabilly, Tex-Mex and folk.
The Press Club
2030 P St.
Sacramento, CA 95811
The Press Club is a hot spot for local and national musicians, with live bands and DJ-hosted dance parties seven days a week. Genres include rock, punk, surf, hip hop, reggae and even disco, with live performances from trash-rockers The Alamos, 90s alt-rock from Teenage Dirtbag, Juliet Company and Punch Out, punk rockers Koss For Concern, Las Pulgas and The Krylons, and electronic post-punk by Skeleton Hands.