Tropical Vibrations at Menlo Summerfest -- Festival Ups the Ante Bigtime on the Music
Saturday After-Hours Concert Returns! Petty Theft Headlines the Cool Down Concert, 5-7 p.m.
Live music fans will be pumped up to hear that festival organizers are making a major statement and turning up the heat in a big way with Tropical Vibrations, the vastly improved musical showcase for Menlo Summerfest, coming up July 15-16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park.
Music lovers will be treated to a tropical island paradise with two full days of dynamite live music from the Bay Area’s best bands performing on stage and street throughout the bustling downtown for Menlo Park’s big summer shindig.
“Musically, this year is a quantum leap in quality with the return of the popular Saturday After-Hours Cool Down Concert, our significantly upgraded Soundwaves Stage in Fremont Park plus we added a second stage, the Aloha Stage at El Camino,” says festival entertainment director Steve Bajor of Team Pro Event. “The festival is all about tropical summer fun and that’s the way we booked the entertainment. We have a nice flow of tropical sounds from surf music to hot rod music to big band. Also, we have the real deal Cuban band with the great Fito Reinoso; his salsa is absolutely off the hook.”
Tapping into the festive, tropical sound, the Aloha Stage is being added to showcase several island-inspired entertainers. “We’ll put our steel drums and surf band there, as well as ukulele entertainment and Polynesian dancers. We’re making it fresh and exciting,” Bajor said.
Pacific Soul Band
Mitch Woods & his Rocket 88's
SOUNDWAVES STAGE IN FREMONT PARK
Pacific Soul Band, a 10-piece powerhouse of talent, will rock you to the core with funk, old school rock, pop, Top 40 tunes. This Bay Area family band is mentored by musicians of Earth, Wind & Fire and Sheila E.
Saturday’s Summerfest Cool Down Concert is back, this year featuring Petty Theft, the Bay Area’s premiere Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers cover band. Enjoy free falling with these sensational performers with legions of devoted fans up and down the west coast. The Cool Down Concert runs from 5-7 p.m.
Press your zoot suit and shine up your swing dancing shoes for Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88's. They bringing the swinging little big bands of the late ‘40s and early ‘50s to life with jumpin’ n’ jivin’, shoutin’ n’ honkin’, pumpin’ n’ poundin’!
Pankind’s lyrical steel drum music will transport you to a paradise where you’ll imagine your toes in the sand and an umbrella drink in your hand. Let your cares drift far away with their beautiful, fanciful beats.
The Houserockers, a 10-piece rock & soul band from Los Gatos, will close out the show with two solid hours of high energy rock. Stomp your feet, bang your head, scream if you need to, this band, named “Best Cover Band in the Bay Area” by KFOX Radio’s Last Band Standing contest, has seen it all. Air guitarists are welcome.
From urban Havana grooves to timba, Cuban-born Felix “Fito” Reinoso and his 7-piece band set the perfect mood for this summertime celebration. Fito’s beautiful voice has been compared to the late and beloved Beny More. Prepare to be inspired.
Nothing says summer like the infectious twangy tones of surf music. Brought to you by the Reefriders from Pacifica, you’ll have a blast twisting and grooving to Pipeline, Misirlou, Wipeout and other classics.
ALOHA STAGE AT EL CAMINO REAL
AHAmele is the music ensemble from the Academy of Hawaiian Arts in Oakland, CA. They incorporate upbeat strums, ipu rhythms, 'ukulele picking, and sweet vocal singing parts to their Hawaiian music arrangements for a unique sound.
Pumehana O’Hula performs various hula numbers with the use of implements plus Maori entertainment and some dances from the island of Tahiti. A highlight is audience participation as their performers love to teach attendees hula dance.
Kawailehua Hula Ohana shares the beauty and color of Polynesian culture through its dance and music. Their performances consist of both Hula and Tahitian dance and music with 20+ dancers/drummers/singers.
Chapman Stick wizard Bob Culbertson has teamed up with drummer Rick Alegria to form Stickdrum one of the most dynamic music duos in entertainment today. Featuring diverse styles from Jazz, Celtic, Beatles and progressive Rock, Cause and Affect brings a unique and entertaining sound to each show.
Hiram Bell was born and raised on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. “Where I grew up,” he says, “a ukulele was sitting in the corner of everyone’s house, and everyone would be strumming. He is a self-taught uke player and performs in clubs, festivals, and jam sessions, and he has released two albums of his music: Sound Waves and Santa Cruz Uke Club Presents Hiram Bell."
Nemenzo Dance Studio is truly a hidden gem in the Bay Area. This is THE group to learn about Tahitian dance and culture. They are extremely authentic from terminology to dance moves and routines to music and drumming.
Catch some great hip-hop moves and more when For The Love of Dance hits the stage. The amazing dancers teach ballet, jazz, tap, and other styles of dance. They’re a family owned, family-friendly studio that teaches children and adults at all levels of ability.
Learn to dance Salsa and Bachata at Summerfest with Mambonova Dance Company. Their talented performers dance in instructional classes, in clubs, at dance congresses, and we even travel together around the USA to improve our dance skills.
Located in Menlo Park, Dance Expressions offers dance classes for students from age 3 to young adults with all levels of ability. Founded by Maryanne Fernandez-Richardson and Danielle Fernandez, Dance Expressions strives to create a positive, upbeat, and inspiring learning environment where students can express themselves, be creative, and fall in love with the amazing art of dance!
While you’re perusing the sights and delights, listen for these street musicians scattered throughout the festivities:
John Clarke’s Spanish-influenced acoustic nylon-string guitar playing is something to behold. The talented strummer makes his beautiful and complex Spanish and Latin American pieces look effortless.
Like Italy? You’ll love the romantic acoustic repertoire of HeartStrings Music. The fabulous duo, Al Fabrizio on mandolin and Hugo Wainzinger on guitar, have masterfully captured the essence of love.
Soloist Bob Culbertson has been playing the Chapman Stick for 30 years and has sold over 100,000 albums. The intriguing 10 to 12-string instrument bears both guitar and bass elements. By tapping the strings, Culbertson creates vibrations that produce a captivating blend of melodies, bass and chords in the style of light jazz with folk and blues flavor.
Ralph Longshore aka the Man in White is a nationally known performance artist. He entertains audiences of all ages with his fun-filled, interactive performances where he stands still as a statue until a crowd gathers and brings him to life. While you enjoy his guitar playing and songs, Christa, a professional face painter, can add whimsy to your children’s cute faces.
SOUNDWAVES STAGE (FREMONT PARK)
Saturday, July 15
|1 PM||Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88's|
|3 PM||Pacific Soul Band|
|5 PM||Petty Theft|
Sunday, July 16
|12 PM||The Reefriders|
|2 PM||Fito Reinoso|
|4 PM||The Houserockers|
ALOHA STAGE (EL CAMINO REAL)
Saturday, July 15
|11 AM||AHAmele, ukulele ensemble|
|11:45 AM||Pu Mahana O’Hula, Tahitian dancers|
|1 PM||Pankind, steel drums|
|2:45 PM||Dance Expressions|
|4 PM||Stickdrum, stick music duo|
Sunday, July 16
|12 PM||Kawailehua Hula Ohana, traditional hula|
|1 PM||Nemenzo Dance Studio, Tahitian dance and drummers|
|1:30 PM||Hiram Bell, ukulele|
|2 PM||The Reefriders, surf band|
|3:45 PM||For the Love of Dance, hip hop|
|4:30 PM||Mambonova Dance Company|
STREET MUSICIAN LOCATIONS (Both Days)
|Man in White|