Summer sounds: Heavenly Village’s free concert series begins | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Summer sounds: Heavenly Village’s free concert series begins

Memorial Day weekend marks the start of a newer South Shore tradition that began five years ago: the Heavenly Village Summer Concert Series. The events, which last through Labor Day, are held every Friday and Saturday (with a Sunday bonus over holidays) and showcase the talents of both regional and national musicians.

"A lot of these bands are bigger names. These are bands that are playing in the casinos and whatnot. A couple of the bands have actually opened for headlining acts," noted Dreu Murin, whose company Dreu Murin Productions produces the shows alongside The Shops at Heavenly Village.

Of the 15 acts that are scheduled to make a combined total of just over 30 appearances in the village this summer, most hail from locations in the western United States such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Reno.

"There's a lot of local talent in that village, but they're playing there on a daily basis in front of the restaurants — in front of Gunbarrel, in front of Base Camp and in front of Azul," Murin said of the music scene in Heavenly Village, which welcomes Tahoe-based artists daily throughout the year.

"They always have local talent out there, so what we try to do is let local talent shine every single day, but also bring in some music and some entertainers from out of the area that people haven't seen before. Add a little bit of variation and freshness there."

The concert series has grown in size each year — what began with merely five shows held on a stage riser is now a grand production with rotating locations and other improvements, and which draws upwards of 500 people each night.

"We've enhanced overall production and added a bunch of lighting elements. We've brought in more out-of-town acts this year," Murin explained, adding that he now receives calls from national acts wanting to play the series.

"Our ultimate goal is to expand the series to have one or two big, well-known headliners every single year."

Apart from being Lake Tahoe's largest free summer concert series, what also sets the Heavenly Village events apart from other seasonal entertainment is its family-friendly environment.

"You don't have to worry about some of the issues you have at other venues around town, like pot smoking. There's none of that — it's really clean family fun and we get great responses from tourists and locals alike," Murin said.

Steel Breeze ('70s-'90s rock), Jake's Garage (hits from the '70s through present day) and Left of Centre (country and rock) kick off the summer series this weekend, May 26-28, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Concerts are held either between Gunbarrel Tavern and Fire + Ice, or in front of Azul Latin Kitchen. A complete schedule for the Heavenly Village Summer Concert Series is available online at http://www.theshopsatheavenly.com. Each show begins at 5:30 p.m.