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First SOMO Concert viewed as success

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014 | Posted by
(photo courtesy of Mike DeWald and SOMO Concerts)

(photo courtesy of Mike DeWald and SOMO Concerts)


The first show of the new SOMO Concerts series went off without a hitch last Wednesday night at the Sonoma Mountain Village Event Center. Located in the Sonoma Mountain Village, the 3000-seat outdoor venue played host to the well-known rock group The Goo Goo Dolls along with local opening act Girls+Boys.

As a venue, the SOMO Event Center is certainly unique in Sonoma County. In many ways the former Agilent campus has a great structure to handle large crowds as the production facility had thousands of employees.

Parking was readily available with the multiple lots allowing easy traffic flow from the two entrances. The box office and entrance areas moved quickly getting guests into the concert area.



The concert-space itself is a combination of grass and cement which provided a lot of room for people to set-up low back chairs and blankets. With food and drinks readily available for both general admission and VIP guests, who had their own seating section and service area, people seemed to get settled in quickly.

The event felt a lot like a Friday night market or a concert in Julliard Park. Prior to the opening act there was a lot of milling around, conversation and socializing. People set-up chairs and seating in orderly rows with walking space between them without guidance. As Girls+Boys performed as the opening act the crowd appreciatively cheered and enjoyed the late evening sun peeking over the buildings.

When it was remarked to Gerard Giudice, who is the Event Center Director, about how polite and orderly the concert-goers were he quickly quipped, “What do you expect, it’s Rohnert Park!”

googoodollsFor a while the event was a very casual affair, and then suddenly it wasn’t. People refreshed drinks and talked as roadies adjusted the stage. Then, with little warning or fanfare, the Goo Goo Dolls took to the stage and the event quickly became a rock show.

Even then it was a very polite and relaxed crowd with people giving each other space while still getting up close and personal to the stage.

With only about a month to promote the show Morty Wiggins, legendary Bay Area music veteran and one of people behind the SOMO Concerts concept, had his work cut out for him.

“We had a very appreciative crowd. Everyone in attendance generally had a good time,” said Wiggins after the event.

Even with ticket sales at 1500 of the 3000 seats available, the concert was viewed as a success.

Adrianna Roome, who works for Wiggins’ Second Octave Talent agency, said that they met all of their production and customer appreciation goals for the event and the Goo Goo Dolls were happy; items which are all paramount for an organizer.

Roome, Wiggins and other SOMO Concerts personnel were on hand during the event listening to feedback and making notes on ways to improve the venue for the next show, but were happy with how things turned out.

“One-hundred percent of the feedback was extremely positive,” said Roome. “The show sounded great and the venue looked beautiful. It worked like we envisioned it!”

The crowd, which included a wide demographic from teenagers, families and silver-haired grandparents dancing to Slide, seemed appreciative of the entire event as there were smiling, happy faces everywhere you looked.

Partway through their set front-man Johnny Rzeznik said it best when he told the crowd, “It’s just a perfect summer night.”

Next up for the SOMO Concert Series is Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings who will be performing on Thursday, August 21 at 7:30 p.m. One of the most-played artists on local station KRSH, they play R&B style music with a funk-soul sound reminiscent of the late-60’s and early-70’s.

Opening for Sharon Jones will be Gaby Moreno, a Latin Grammy Award Winning-artist for Best New Artist in 2013 who has shared the stage with Bono, Johnny Lang and Andrea Bocelli.

Tickets for Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings are $38.50 for general and $58.50 for VIP. They are available through SOMOconerts.com or at Sally Tomatoes, located at 1100 Valley House Drive. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the show starting at 7:30 p.m.

The SOMO Village is located in the southeastern area of Rohnert Park, just behind M-section.


  • Beth Rothmuller

    The layout is very awkward. VIP section next to a stack of speakers so you are deaf for the next 2 days. General admission is low chairs only but when headliner comes on, then everyone stands and chairs are in the way. With the average age of attendees over 50, there should be better seating – not everyone can sit in low seats. Of course you can always sit in the beer garden with the drunkards but again banners, tents and signs are in the way of seeing the band. And the largest grassy area to sit on is directly behind the sound and light guys so you can’t see there too. Needs immediate improvement. Concert was great – venue not so much.

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Nick Walden is our Rohnert Park + Cotati correspondent.
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