Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the summer 2014 edition of Tahoe Magazine, which is available now in the Lake Tahoe and Truckee region.
Washington state has the Gorge Amphitheatre, Colorado has Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Lake Tahoe has, well, Lake Tahoe.
While the concert venues around the lake can’t match the capacity of those well-known amphitheaters, Lake Tahoe provides one of the most scenic backdrops for live music in the world.
Numerous bars and restaurants offer music on their decks throughout Tahoe’s warmer months, Sand Harbor State Park features musical performances in addition to its world-renowned Shakespeare festival and the Valhalla Art, Music & Theatre Festival offers plenty of opportunities for your ears at the South Shore.
Three outdoor summer concert series around the lake also offer free music along with the opportunity to dip your toes in the water.
At the South Shore, the Live at Lakeview summer concert series takes place every Thursday during the summer at the recently remodeled El Dorado Beach on the 3200 block of Lake Tahoe Boulevard.
Now in its third year, the summer concert series has become the go-to place to connect with friends while soaking up the sun and appreciating Lake Tahoe’s never-gets-old beauty.
Rob Giustina, owner of On Course Events and organizer of the Live at Lakeview series, described the events as “the community celebrating the community.” Hundreds of people from all walks of life make it out to the free concerts each week.
“I’ve been here my whole life and I’ve never seen it come together like Thursday nights,” Giustina said.
The events aren’t just for locals though. The beer garden, food vendors, live music and crystal blue water are just as welcoming to visitors.
“When you travel, the best place you go is where the locals are,” Giustina said.
The concerts run from June 26 to Aug. 28. They start about 4:30 p.m. and run until about 8:30 p.m. Giustina strives to get a mix of musical styles throughout the summer. Blues, Latin, bluegrass, rock and electronic music will all have their place at the Live at Lakeview series this summer. One of this year’s shows will also feature local favorites Lavish Green, who made their return from a hiatus at last years Live at Lakeview series. More information is available at http://liveatlakeview.com .
At the northern end of the lake, two outdoor summer concert series also inspire a community feel and an enticing experience to anyone looking to soak up the good times Lake Tahoe has to offer.
Music on the Beach takes place at Kings Beach State Recreation Area Friday evenings starting June 27. The area is located near the 8400 block of North Lake Boulevard in Kings Beach. More information is available at www.facebook.com/northtahoe .
Like Live at Lakeview, the music series tries to feature a variety of styles, said Joy Doyle, executive director of the North Tahoe Business Association.
“We try to feature a variety of genres and we try to feature predominantly local favorites or local up-and-comers,” Doyle said.
Beach chairs are the preferred seating at the recreation area. Kings Beach offers a music venue where people are “literally right on the sand, right on the water,” Doyle said.
“We just have a wonderful local vibe,” she added.
To the west, the long-running Concerts at Commons Beach series in Tahoe City also has the warmth of a community picnic. Dave Wilderotter, a North Shore business owner who sits on the board of the music series, said he likes to cruise around talking with friends and seeing who brought the best food to the events.
“You sit in the back and you talk the whole time, or you sit in the front and you dance the whole time,” Wilderotter said.
Naturally, food and beverages are also available for purchase at the event, which celebrates its 10th year in 2014. The concerts provide a great cap to the weekend and are often able to attract well-known performers who made an appearance at another venue Saturday night.
Organizers shoot for a mix of local and touring acts. Performers Peter Joseph Burtt and the King Tide, Mumbo Gumbo, New Monsoon, SambaDá and Joy and Madness are among acts scheduled this summer.
Like the other music events at Lake Tahoe, the Concerts at Commons Beach feature kayakers paddling just offshore, boats anchoring to get a better view, people tossing Frisbees back and forth, kids running off steam and more than a few smiles.
“It’s such a nice Sunday afternoon event,” Wilderotter said.
The Concerts at Commons Beach begin June 22 and run every Sunday through Aug. 31. The shows typically start at 4 p.m. More information is available at www.concertsatcommonsbeach.com .
While the Sierra Nevada offers an astonishing variety of outdoor activities in summer, few are as quintessentially Tahoe as kicking back, relaxing your senses and soaking it all in with a little music to guide your way.
“I think it’s going to be a pretty exciting summer,” Wilderotter said.
“When you travel, the best place you go is where the locals are.”
owner, On Course Events