Goo Goo Dolls coming to RP July 30
By Nick Walden / Towns Correspondent
The Grammy award winning rock band, the Goo Goo Dolls, will be in Rohnert Park July 30 for the grand opening of a new 3,000-seat outdoor venue at the Sonoma Mountain Village Event Center.
It will be located in the former Agilent campus that has been redeveloped by Codding Enterprises. After it opens, the Event Center will become one of the county’s largest music venues.
SOMO Concerts, the brainchild of legendary Bay Area music veterans Lee Smith and Morty Wiggins, will bring the Goo Goo Dolls to town. Smith was president and Wiggins vice president of Bill Graham Presents.
The idea for an outdoor venue came up in January, said Gerard Giudice, who will direct the Event Center in addition to running his Sally Tomatoes restaurant.
“I was talking with Steve Parish of the Grateful Dead, a guy who is a good friend of mine, about getting musical acts for my small stage here at Sally Tomatoes,” Giudice said. “Steve told me about this guy I had to meet, a booking agent. So he set up a meeting here with Morty.”
Wiggins looked out the window to the large, open space between the buildings at Sonoma Mountain Village and said he could put on a great concert out there.
“Now we have a legendary Bill Graham promoter coming to Rohnert Park to put on shows here,” said Giudice.
Wiggins, who also was general manager of A&M Records, now heads Second Octave Talent, a Petaluma-based booking agency and artist management company. Smith heads Prescient Entertainment, which promotes performing arts events at Mountain Winery in Saratoga.
“You know the Green Music Center is great,” Wiggins said with a grin. “I really like what they are doing over there, but we are going to be doing rock shows here.”
From Smith’s perspective, the Event Center has a lot to offer. It is large enough to book nationally and internationally-known artists, the location is comfortable, there is ample free parking, and the venue is located in the heart of Sonoma County.
A 1,200-square-foot stage will be located on the south side of the space. Seating will be mostly general admission with spaces for blankets and low back chairs, creating a social atmosphere with room for dancing and mingling.
VIP seats will be up front, along with a separate VIP area to the side of the stage with bar, food and rest rooms. General admission patrons can buy food and drinks inside the Event Center. Bands will play only until 10 p.m., due to the local noise ordinance.
“We are hoping to get three shows in this season,” said Wiggins. “Next year we are hoping to do 20 shows…or maybe more.”
The Goo Goo Dolls will perform at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 30. Tickets are $51, $71 VIP and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, June 27, at SOMOconcerts.com or Sally Tomatoes, 1100 Valley House Drive.
Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings will bring their R&B to the Event Center for its second outdoor concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21. Tickets are already on sale at $38.50, $58.50 VIP.
“It should be really exciting,” said Wiggins. “The chance to see the Goo Goo Dolls or Sharon Jones in this type of setting … those are going to be some great shows.”