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How time flies when you’re having fun.

The beloved and always-anticipated Margrit Mondavi Summer Concert Series celebrates its 50th season over five consecutive Saturdays, June 29 through July 27.

The 2019 series lineup, booked in association with BottleRock Presents, includes:

June 29: Opening the series, is the eight-member, band, St. Paul and the Broken Bones from Birmingham, Alabama. “Heart, soul and flair with a well-worn sound buoyed by strong, fresh song writing” wrote Bob Bollen of NPR. Special guest is singer/songwriter Langhorne Slim & The Law on guitar, banjo and harmonica. Fireworks end the evening.

July 6: U.K.-bred, four-piece rock band, The Struts, is known for a sound with deep grooves and inventive textures, and a glam-rock revamp that’s unabashedly fun. With special guest the Cleveland, Ohio, blues-rock band Welshly Arms.

July 13: Electronic world music duo, Thievery Corporation, perform their diverse dub ethos and aesthetic style mixing elements of dub, acid jazz, reggae, Indian classical, Middle Eastern, hip hop, electronica and Brazilian. Special guest is Royal Jelly Jive, a soul-rock band from San Francisco.

July 20: Mexican classical guitar duo, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, blend metal, jazz and Hispanic roots music in their unmistakable, acoustic style. “At times, it was hard to believe this sheer rhythmic force all came from just two guitars.”-The Independent UK (London2016). A special guest is soon to be announced.

July 27: Matt Nathanson, whose work is a blend of folk and rock ‘n’ roll music, has evolved into one of the most applauded songwriters and engaging performers on the music scene. Special guest is Tyrone Wells, a singer/songwriter from Spokane, Washington.

The vision behind the music

Margrit Mondavi was always ahead of her time — in her love for the visual and sculptural arts, in her culinary creativity, for all things wine, as a “fashionista” and for generously supporting the arts community. She was also a maverick when it came to music. She had a particular sweet spot for jazz — and was involved in booking musical icons from Ella Fitzgerald to Dizzie Gillespie to Ray Charles and Tony Bennett.

The genesis of the annual music series was, as legend has it, the result of a conversation between Margrit and her husband Robert. According to Kathy Magner, a 23-year veteran of the Robert Mondavi Winery and Series’ organizer for 10, the exchange went something like this:

“You have a beautiful lawn. You should host concerts,” said Margrit. And Robert replied: “Don’t talk about it, just do it.”

“The purpose of the concerts,” Magner said, “is to invite the community to the winery to enjoy wine, food and music in a way that gives back. All proceeds from this year’s ticket sales, a projected $10,000, will be donated to the Napa Valley Unified School District’s music programs.”

“In its long history, Robert Mondavi Winery has donated over $2.5 million to Napa Valley-based charitable music organizations through this series. In fact, in 2017, the summer event was renamed the Margrit Mondavi Summer Concert Series to pay homage to her and what is now a 50-year tradition – one I am personally proud to continue.”

Ticket options to the concerts include general admission (access to the main lawn in front of the stage); reserve patio (assigned seats on the patio adjacent to the Vineyard Room); and dinner tickets (wine reception in To Kalon Cellar followed by dinner with wine pairings in To Kalon Vineyard and elevated seating).

Policy changes that will be implemented this year.

“To ensure the safety of our guests,” Magner said, “outside food and beverages (including water) are no longer permitted to be brought into the concerts. Guests are encouraged to bring empty water bottles and fill them at complimentary water stations within the venue. Robert Mondavi Winery Wines and food from local vendors will be available for purchase, as in previous years.” (At press time, vendors include A16, Neapolitan pizzas, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream plus others to be added.)

“As for other accessories,” Magner continued, “coolers are no longer permitted and bags/purses cannot be larger than 14 inches by 11 by 5 inches (or 30 linear inches in total), and cannot have more than one singular pocket or opening.

“Again, to ensure the safety of all attendees, all bags will be subject to inspection upon entry. We sincerely thank everyone for their understanding and cooperation as we strive to make our concerts as safe as possible for everyone.”

Margrit Mondavi rarely missed attending a concert season, and many people felt they knew her on a first-name basis through those charming and often humorous welcomes she gave from the stage. A gracious hostess to all who attended, she became great friends with many of the artists who performed over the years. The series that now carries her name is alive and strong, thanks to a conversation that blossomed into a musical feast under the summer stars.

The Robert Mondavi Winery is at 7801 St. Helena Highway in Oakville. Doors open at 5 p.m. with performances at 7 p.m. For tickets and additional information, visit concerts@robertmondaviwinery.com.

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Evy Warshawski is co-founder/director of E & M Presents. Contact her at eandmpresents.org.

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