McDonald, Doobies to play relocated music fest

Originally Published on January 21, 2015 by the Sonoma Valley Sun
See the original article here

McIMG_2544The City of Sonoma has approved event producer Bruce Cohn’s plans to move his annual Fall Music Festival from his Glen Ellen winery to the Field of Dreams in downtown Sonoma.

The bill will include The Doobie Brothers, the traditional event headliner that did not appear in 2014, joined by Michael McDonald.

The new location will be the Field of Dreams baseball field, on First Street West, north of the Plaza. “It became clear to us that we had outgrown the winery”, Cohn said.

The space was the home of the erstwhile Sonoma Jazz Plus Festival, last held in 2011.

The renamed Sonoma Music Festival is scheduled for October 2-4, 2015. Tickets will go on sale in February, with a “95476 discount” for locals.

The weekend includes a seated show on Friday night. The venue will include a HopMonk beer garden, an incorporate wineries other than the Cohn label.

Cohn calls the space a more familiar and friendly venue. Because it will be cheaper to build out, there will be “more money for the event beneficiaries.”

“We are excited about the move to downtown Sonoma,” he said.

The planning can begin!

Music festival gets tentative OK to return to Sonoma

Originally published by ELOÍSA RUANO GONZÁLEZ
SONOMA PRESS DEMOCRAT
January 14, 2015, 9:25 AM

See the original article here

Bruce Cohn, longtime manager of The Doobie Brothers, is moving his beloved classic rock music festival back to downtown Sonoma, several blocks from where the event started more than two decades ago.

Cohn received on Wednesday night a preliminary green light from the city’s Community Services and Environment Commission to move the popular weekend concert event to the Field of Dreams park, northwest of the historic Plaza. However, Cohn and his event co-producers, Michael Coats and John Procaccini, must bring back a final plan to the nine-member board for review in June.

It was the last hurdle for organizers to overcome before they could proceed with plans to move the festival back to the quaint town of 11,000 residents, said Cohn, who launched 29 years ago a nonprofit in his namesake to give back to the county where he grew up. He started out with charity golf tournaments but switched over to rock concerts in the early 1990s. The first two concerts were held on a field at Sonoma Valley High School. Graham Nash and Nicolette Larson performed at that event, which made $500, he said.

“We’re going full circle, back to Sonoma,” said Cohn, who’s been holding the concerts ever since at B.R. Cohn Winery, which he founded in Glen Ellen in 1974.

The city’s venue off First Street West will offer more space and makes it more convenient for residents to attend, Cohn said. They won’t have to worry about taking a shuttle to the winery and climbing the hillside to watch the shows, he explained.

“When you’re 65, it’s not so nice,” Cohn said about the climb.

Besides being flat, he said the park also provides more space that could help boost attendance. The festival, which he’ll rename the “Sonoma Music Festival,” is scheduled for Oct. 2-4.

Now in its 29th year, the festival previously drew about 5,000 people each year over the two days. Cohn hopes to extend the concerts to three days and bring in about 3,500 a day.

“I’m really excited about the amount we can make for the charities if we sell out,” he said after Wednesday’s meeting. “That’s what it is about.”

The event has raised $6.5 million for more than 100 local and national veteran organizations and charities, including the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance, Redwood Empire Food Bank and Santa Rosa Memorial Trauma Center. Cohn said it also supported the Fisher House Foundation, a national organization that provides housing for veterans.

Coats said organizers plan to reduce the cost of tickets for local residents to make the event more accessible. However, they haven’t settled on a price, yet.

Cohn said they wanted to move the event because it became too expensive to hold the concerts at the Glen Ellen winery. It cost $100,000 each year to put in tables, chairs and other equipment on a hillside — money that he said can now go to charities.

“We had to build everything,” Cohn explained. “Plus, it’s a lot of wear and tear on the winery (vineyards).”

He added that the winery also lost money because the state required it to close the tasting room during the weekend event.

“That’s a big economic hit to the winery,” said Cohn, who last year passed the reins to his eldest son, Dan Cohn, who was named CEO of the winery.

The event is expected to boost business for local restaurants and shops, as well as bring in additional tax revenue, Sonoma City Manager Carol Giovanatto said. It’ll also bring more exposure to the city, she added.

“It’s internationally known in attendance,” she said. “It gets our name out there.”

However, traffic and noise was raised as a concern by the board on Wednesday, which spent an hour going over concert details and restrictions, including no cars allowed to park on First Street West. Coats said residents will be encouraged to walk or ride their bikes to the event.

The county will be working closely with the city and organizers to make sure the festival doesn’t create a problem, said Susan Gorin, chairwoman of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.

“(We) will be carefully working on noise and parking issues,” Gorin said in a phone interview.

She added, “I think the festival will be embraced by the residents.”

Sonoma Mayor David Cook agreed. He called the move a “big deal” for the city, saying it would fill a void after the popular Jazz Plus festival went away a few years ago. Cook said Cohn’s festival has drawn lots of local residents over the years, and they should expect to see more since concert-goers will no longer have to worry about driving to and from the shows.

“I worry about drinking and driving,” Cook said, adding that he liked the idea about riding a bike or walking to the concerts. “Moving the venue to Sonoma just enhances the festival for our locals.”

He and fellow council members gave their approval last week for the Sonoma Valley Field of Dreams Board to sublease the park to the festival, which previously brought in performers such as Journey, Peter Frampton, Willie Nelson, The Wallflowers and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Cohn said he’s still working on the concert lineup. The Doobie Brothers, who have played at the event for 14 years, are expected to return this year. He said he’s also trying to bring in Ringo Starr.

Cohn plans to release more details next month when tickets are expected to go on sale.

One Step Closer

Originally published by Jason Walsh
SONOMA INDEX-TRIBUNE EDITOR
January 8, 2015, 3:52 PM
See the original article here

The B.R. Cohn Charity Fall Music Festival may be “taking it to the streets” of downtown Sonoma – or a couple blocks north of the Plaza to be exact – as the City Council Wednesday night approved the subleasing of the Field of Dreams for the longstanding autumn event.

Bruce Cohn, of B.R. Cohn Winery and longtime manager of the Doobie Brothers, is petitioning city officials for the rights to move his annual charity music festival to the First Street West recreation area.

Now that the council approved, in a 5 – 0 vote, the subleasing of the Field of Dreams, the matter comes next before the Community Services and Environmental Commission to consider a waiver for certain provisions in the special-events permit that would have to be issued – specifically to the limits of the city’s “noise ordinance,” since the event entails amplified music as late as 10:30 p.m. for both nights.

The festival celebrated its 28th year at Cohn’s Glen Ellen winery last September, but festival officials approached Sonoma City Manager Carole Giovanatto in October as to the possibility of moving the two-day music festival to the city-owned field for financial and logistical purposes.

Cohn says that over the years the festival has raised $6.5 million for local charities, but even more could be donated by the cost saving of staging the festival downtown.

In his petition to the city for use of the Field of Dreams, Cohn wrote that holding the event at the winery has in recent years proven too expensive.

“Build-out costs at the winery coupled with ABC requiring the winery to close for the weekend have made it too costly,” wrote Cohn. “By relocating to the Field of Dreams I can save over $100,000 in production costs which will be able to go directly to the recipients above and beyond what we normally raise.”

Council members raised few objections to the subleasing at the Wednesday meeting; council approval for any sublease is required despite the leasee, the Sonoma Valley Field of Dreams Board, already giving it their stamp of approval.

“This is just the toggle switch that starts the (application) process,” said Councilmember Madolyn Agrimonti about her vote to approve the sublease. “But I have questions (about staging the event at the field).”

The annual music event, which is tentatively scheduled this year for Oct. 2 to 4, has over the years featured some of the biggest names on the festival circuit, including Willie Nelson, Gregg Allman, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bonnie Raitt and the Doobie Brothers.

Last year’s event welcomed Melissa Etheridge, Peter Frampton, Huey Lewis & the News, the Wallflowers and Los Lonely Boys.

In a Dec. 16 letter to City Manager Giovanatto, Sonoma Valley Field of Dreams Board President Richard Goertzen expressed his support for the subleasing of the field to the festival.

“I am very excited about a music festival returning to Sonoma,” said Goertzen.

The Field of Dreams had previously been used for a major music festival in the mid 2000s, when the Sonoma Jazz Plus festival was in its heyday.

While no community members spoke up at the meeting against the sublease, two residents cautioned against repeating any mistakes that may have been made by Sonoma Jazz Plus.

Sonoma resident Fred Allebach cited “substantial community sentiment against the jazz fest” and suggested the city consider the causes of that as it moves forward with the B.R. Cohn Festival.

Jack Wagner, of Sonoma, added that he never attended the jazz festival because tickets were too expensive.

If the festival clears the next hurdle at the CSEC, Cohn says the next steps are to hold “open-house neighbor meetings” to discuss ways to deal with traffic, parking and promoting alternative transportation to the festival.

Cohn also says he’d like to rename the event the Sonoma Music Festival, while producing it under the nonprofit BR Cohn Charity Events.

BR Cohn Fest seeks move to Field of Dreams

Originally published by Jason Walsh
SONOMA INDEX-TRIBUNE EDITOR
January 5, 2015, 5:26PM

See the original article here

Whoa oh oh – Sonoma may “listen to the music” next fall at the Field of Dreams – as Bruce Cohn, longtime Doobie Brothers manager and namesake of B.R. Cohn Winery, is petitioning the City Council for the rights to sublease the First Street West recreation area for his annual charity music festival .

Cohn, whose BR Cohn Charity Fall Music Festival celebrated its 28th year at the Glen Ellen winery last September, approached city officials in October as to the possibility of moving the two-day music festival to the city-owned field just north of the Plaza.

The annual music event, which is tentatively scheduled this year for Oct. 2 to 4, has over the years featured some of the biggest names on the festival circuit, including Willie Nelson, Gregg Allman, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bonnie Raitt and the Doobie Brothers.

Last year’s event welcomed Melissa Etheridge, Peter Frampton, Huey Lewis & the News, the Wallflowers and Los Lonely Boys.

The festival has already received approval from field leasee, the Sonoma Valley Field of Dreams board, but per the lease agreement, the city is required to give final approval to any sublease.

Additionally, the city must approve a waiver for certain provisions in the special-events permit that would have to be issued – specifically to the limits of the city’s “noise ordinance,” since the event entails amplified music as late as 10:30 p.m. for both nights.

In a Dec. 16 letter to Sonoma City Manager Carol Giovanatto, Sonoma Valley Field of Dreams board president Richard Goertzen expressed his support for the subleasing of the field to the festival for “several days prior and after the three day festival.”

“I am very excited about a music festival returning to Sonoma,” said Goertzen. The Field of Dreams had previously been used for a major music festival in the mid-2000s, when the Sonoma Jazz Plus festival was in its heyday.

In his petition to the city for use of the Field of Dreams, Cohn said holding the event at the winery has in recent years proven too expensive.

“Build-out costs at the winery coupled with ABC requiring the winery to close for the weekend have made it too costly,” wrote Cohn. “By relocating to the Field of Dreams I can save over $100,000 in production costs which will be able to go directly to the recipients above and beyond what we normally raise.” Cohn says that over the years, the festival has raised $6.5 million for local charities. If the council approves the sublease, Cohn says the next steps are to hold “open-house neighbor meetings” to discuss ways to deal with traffic, parking and promoting alternative transportation to the festival.

Cohn also says he’d like to rename the event the Sonoma Music Festival, while producing it under the nonprofit BR Cohn Charity Events.

John Waite added to the 2014 line-up

We are proud to announce that John Waite, formerly of the Babys, has been added to both days and also, here’s the real prize, a set during the Friday Sept. 19, auction fundraising dinner. Tickets for the dinner will move fast so get yours now. A little about John:

john_waite“Countless musicians of far lesser accomplishment have probably made similar statements regarding their own personal creative process, but when the confession comes from John Waite – whose been successfully writing, recording and performing some of the most listenable, enduring and appreciated popular music for more than 35 years – one cannot help but both recognize and marvel at the shimmering legacy of this British born rock star.

The ride began when Waite was tapped as bassist and lead vocalist for the Babys who rocketed to Top 20 chart positions with a pair of infections hits, “Isn’t it Time” from the band’s sophomore LP, Broken Heart in 1977 and the monster ballad, “Every Time I Think of You” off 1978’s Head First. But it was the album’s rhythmically aggressive and seductive title track where fans got their first glimpse of the authentic John Waite, a no-holds-barred rock n’ roll performer devoted heart and soul to live performance and making sure every fan in the audience left the concert hall just as elated and exhausted as the band they’d paid to see.

After John Lennon’s assassination, December 9, 1980, a bizarre thing happened during one of those furious Baby’s performances when John was pulled from the stage by an overzealous fan during an encore. The freak event seriously injured his knee and the group disbanded shortly thereafter. From the ashes of the Baby’s, however, rose an abundant and prodigious solo career, ignited by the well-received release, Ignition, that featured the single, “Change,” which rode the AOR charts for weeks in 1982, the year a new cable channel that would alter the course of popular media culture called MTV launched. At the forefront of its early play list was the video for the Holly Knight-penned track that in 1985, was included on the platinum-selling Vision Quest soundtrack.

More…

 

2014 B.R. COHN CHARITY EVENTS FALL MUSIC FESTIVAL WEEKEND

brcohn-logo-web-300

2014 B.R. COHN CHARITY EVENTS

FALL MUSIC FESTIVAL WEEKEND

PRESENTED BY

SONNEN BMW AND THE LISE SONNEN FUND

* * * *

TICKETS ON SALE June 2 for:

CHARITY AUCTION DINNER – FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19th

With James Beard nominee, and award winning Chef Mark Stark

SEPTEMBER 20th and 21st  

MUSIC ACTS FOR SATURDAY AND SUNDAY

Include Peter Frampton, {she will re-appear August 1}, Huey Lewis and The News, Wallflowers, Los Lonely Boys, and More

CELEBRITY GOLF CLASSIC – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22nd

Visit www.brcohnfallfestival.org for Tickets and details

GLEN ELLEN, CA (May 28, 2014) – Philanthropist, and music artist manager Bruce Cohn is very pleased to announce that tickets are on sale to the public June 2nd for the 2014 B.R. Cohn Charity Events Fall Music Festival, Gala Charity Auction Dinner, and the Celebrity Golf Classic presented by Sonnen BMW and the Lise Sonnen Fund. Go to www.brcohnfallfestival.org for tickets and information. Concert dates are Saturday, September 20th and Sunday, September 21st at the B.R. Cohn Winery Amphitheatre.Parking is off-site at the Sonoma Developmental Center and gates open at 10:30am.

Performing this year are: Saturday: {she will re-appear August 1}, the Wallflowers, Los Lonely Boys, Paul Barrere, Fred Tackett, and Kenny Gradney of Little Feat, and The Curly Wolf plus others. Sunday’s line-up includes: Peter Frampton, Huey Lewis & the News, Los Lonely Boys and The Curly Wolf plus others tba.

“I’m very excited about the lineup I’ve been able to put together for this, our 28th year; from the celebrity chef at our auction dinner to the Grammy and Academy Award winning artists appearing on the Festival stage,” enthused Bruce Cohn. “I’m thrilled about the quality of this year’s event and I think our loyal patrons will get more than their money’s worth when they attend this year!”

Grammy winner Peter Frampton remains one of the most celebrated artists and guitarists in rock history. At 16, he was lead singer and guitarist for British band the Herd. At 18, he co-founded one of the first super groups, seminal rock act Humble Pie. His session work includes collaborations with such legendary artists as George Harrison, Harry Nilsson, David Bowie, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ringo Starr, John Entwistle and many others. His fifth solo album, the electrifying Frampton Comes Alive!, is one of the top-selling live records of all time. He was recently inducted in the Musicians Hall of Fame, performed on-stage at the Grammy’s with Ringo Starr and also played an integral part in the 50th anniversary celebration of the Beatles’ arrival in the U.S. by performing on CBS’ “The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute to The Beatles.”

Huey Lewis and The News are truly one of America’s great rock & roll bands. As they enter their 35th year together, their contagious brand of music has outlasted countless trends, and is as fresh today as ever. Formed from two rival Bay Area bands in 1979, they continue to thrill audiences worldwide, selling over 20 million albums in the process, earning them the right to mark their place on the pop history map. These Grammy Award winners have written and performed such classic Top Ten Hits as “Heart of Rock & Roll”, “Stuck With You”, “I Want A New Drug”, “If This Is It”, “Hip To Be Square” “Do You Believe In Love” and “Workin’ For A Livin”. The group also wrote and performed “The Power of Love” and “Back in Time” for the hit film Back To The Future. “The Power of Love,” nominated for an Academy Award, went to #1 on Billboard’s singles chart, and was a smash hit worldwide. As great a recording career as the band has had, there is something extra special about a Huey Lewis & The News live show. They incorporate a variety of musical influences including R&B and soul to create their own unique sound.

As part of the mid-‘90s revival of roots-rock, the Wallflowers held a special connection to one of the original inspirations: vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Jakob Dylan. Though he is the son of a legend, Jakob’s similarities to his father are occasional – in fact, the Wallflowers are more influenced by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers than original ‘60s folk-rock, though lyrically, Jakob remains a close companion to the original Dylan.

Hailing from San Angelo, TX, Los Lonely Boys are a sibling trio whose music draws equally from Rock, Blues, Tex-Mex, Conjunto, and Tejano.Such a combination is shaped by the band’s three brothers: guitarist Henry Garza, bassist JoJo Garza, and drummer Ringo Garza, Jr. The siblings’ father, Ringo Garza, Sr., was a member of another sibling band, the Falcones, who played conjunto music around Texas during the ’70s and ’80s. After that group broke up, Garza went solo, backed by his three sons even before they reached their teens. The family relocated to Nashville in the 1990s, and gradually the sons emerged as a group separate from their father. After moving back to Texas, the boys recorded their debut album, 2003′s Los Lonely Boys, at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales studio in Austin with Nelson sitting in. Epic Records picked the album up for major-label distribution in March 2004, resulting in a high chart placement for the album’s lead single, “Heaven,” as well as a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance the following year. The Boys released their eagerly awaited sophomore album, Sacred, in 2006, and Forgiven followed in 2008.

This year’s festival will be held in the memory of Lise Sonnen, a long-time supporter of the festival and a Cohn family friend. The festival’s olive grove stage will be renamed the Lise Sonnen Memorial Stage. Performers will be announced at a later time.

The popular and lively charity auction and dinner will be held Friday, September 19th at the B.R. Cohn Winery’s 140-year old Olive Grove at 6pm. Tickets are $175 per person. Back by popular demand to prepare the five-course meal will be James Beard nominee, and award winning Chef Mark Stark. Mark’s highly acclaimed restaurants include Bravas, Monti’s, Stark’s Steakhouse, Willi’s Seafood and Willi’s Wine Bar. The fun-filled evening also includes the annual fundraising auction where trips, private dinners, one-of-kind big format wines and autographed guitars are auctioned away for charity.

Tickets for all Fall Festival Weekend events will go on sale June 2nd at www.brcohnfallfestival.org or can be purchased at the B.R. Cohn Winery Tasting Room. Back again, after selling out the past few years, are special on-stage VIP seats that include a meet and greet with performers and fabulous food and wine, all while sitting just feet from the performances. VIP ticket prices range from $350 – $1,000 and general admission tickets are $79 this year with a special two-day pass for $129.

            The celebrity golf tournament returns again to the famed Sonoma Golf Club and will be held on Monday, September 22nd. Registration begins at 8am with a 10am tee-off. Green fees are $275. For more information regarding invitations to the tournament and auction dinner please call 1-800-330-4064 ext. 126 or www.brcohnfallfestival.org.

            Proceeds from this year’s festival will be spread among several charities including: Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, Redwood Empire Food Bank, and Veterans organizations.

            Event sponsors and partners include: Sonnen BMW, the Lise Sonnen Fund, KFOG 104.5/99.7, 107.7 The Bone, KOIT 96.5, KFOX 98.5, the River 97.7, 96.9 The Eagle, Statewide Traffic Safety & Signs, Lagunitas Brewery, Sonoma County Tourism, Sonoma Index-Tribune, Sonoma Chevrolet, The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, GSO, The Flamingo Conference and Resort, GEV Magazine, Stark & Co. Catering, and Grapevine Party Rentals.

B.R. Cohn Winery is located at 15000 Sonoma Highway 12 in Glen Ellen. The tasting room is open daily from 10am – 5pm. Founded in 1984 by Bruce Cohn, the estate winery is known for its critically acclaimed, world-class, ultra-premium cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, pinot noir and award winning gourmet estate olive oils, vinegars and gourmet specialty food products. For more information please call: 1-707-938-4060 or for other information: www.brcohn.com.

# # # #

Media contact: Michael Coats at (707) 935-6203 or michael@coatspr.com or Allison Coats (707) 363-6508 or Allison@coatspr.com

Greetings from your MC (Michael Coats that is)

Greetings Cohn Heads, Here we go again, it’s time to raise some money for charity and have a rocking good time doing it. Get your tickets now (the VIP-wineclub on-sale is going very strong) for this Fall’s big event.  Saturday with {she will re-appear August 1} performing solo will be great, she is the real deal and with the Wallflowers and Los Lonely Boys is a very impressive Saturday and Peter Frampton, Huey Lewis and the News and Los Lonely Boys again on Sunday gets us into WOW territory.  And our friends Paul Barrere, Fred Tackett and Kenny Gradney of Little feat will play both days with newcomers The Curly Wolf which features Grant Benziger of Benziger winery fame. Dinner on Friday night has Mark Stark coming back and he slayed it last year.  Golf on Monday rounds the Sept 19-22 weekend out.

We are excited to see you soon, and need to thank Charlotte Sonnen-Vogt for donating to the cause and we look forward to all the acts that play the Lise Sonnen Memorial Stage in the Grove.

Bruce Cohn honored for charity events

PhilanthropyFlyer-300x296Twenty North Bay businesses and organizations have been selected for the Business Journal’s inaugural Corporate Philanthropy Awards.

“All of us at the Journal congratulate these organizations that contribute significantly to the betterment of the communities we treasure,” said Publisher Brad Bollinger. “It’s amazing there wasn’t something like this already. Perhaps in large measure because of that, we had a very strong response to our call for nominations and an incredible group of recipients.”

The awards are underwritten by Wells Fargo.

The awardees range from large companies with household names to a café that provides free meals to homeless teens putting their lives together. The recipients were selected in four size categories: fewer than 100 employees, 101–500 employees, 501–1,000 and more than 1,001.

“That’s what’s so wonderful about this group of recipients. In aggregate they say, ‘We care about our communities,’” Mr. Bollinger said. “And, individually, whether it is a large organization or a small business, whether it is a high-tech company or a small cafe, it says we ‘will do what what we can.’”

The recipients will be honored at a luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, March 31 at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa. The awardees also will be profiled in a special Business Journal section, “Partners in Philanthropy.”

Reservations for the luncheon can be made at NorthBayBusinessJournal.com. For information, call 707-521-5270. Tickets are $75 each or $625 for a table or eight with a company sign.

Award-winners

Less than 100 employees

  • B.R. Cohn Charity Events
  • Dierk’s Parkside Café and Dierk’s Midtown Café
  • E.R. Sawyer Jewelers
  • The John Jordan Foundation
  • Pisenti & Brinker, LLP, Certified Public Accountants and Advisors
  • The Republic of Tea
  • Sonoma Raceway
  • Summit State Bank

More here…