Todd Grove Park, the smell of barbeque, the afternoon breeze, laughter and dancing, music drifting through the trees. Nothing says summer for inland Mendocino County like Ukiah’s Concert in the Park Series. This year, after two years of a community tradition stunted by COVID-19, Ukiah’s annual concert series is back, bigger and fresher than ever, to celebrate its 30th year.
Mendocino County raised Carter Grissom is the promoter and talent buyer for Concerts in the Park. He remembers going to Concerts in the Park with his family as a child, and then as a teenager with his friends, and then performing in the concert series with his band Top Shelf, and now he finds himself curating a Ukiah tradition he loves.
The COVID-19 pandemic canceled all of the concerts in 2020 and only four of the normal six shows were held in 2021. 2022 marks the full return of the beloved concert series and the 30th anniversary of the event.
As concert organizers’ considered their approach to the 30th year of Concerts in the Park, Grissom told us they saw it as a “new era.” They sought to retain the vision of Spencer Brewer, the visionary that began Concerts in the Park while bringing new life to the series forced into hiatus by the pandemic.
The line-up of bands and musicians was designed to honor the sounds that brought Concerts in the Park to life, while simultaneously bringing newer artists to invite younger audiences to make the concert series part of their summer tradition. Grissom is particularly excited for this year’s line-up because of the increase in local bands showcasing the talent of Mendocino County’s musicians.
Concerts in the Park organizers recruited Mendocino County-based artist Danza Davis to bring a new look to the event’s posters, banners, promotional materials, and the backdrop of the concert stage. Grissom said Davis’s nature-scapes capture the spirit of the series evoking the outdoors, celebration, and community.
Organizers revisioned the stage and concert grounds this year, bringing more banners and flags building upon the festival atmosphere of the series.
Artists range from the Latin hip-hop of Ozomatli to the soulful, party funk of Con Brio, attendees ready to back put their boogie shows back on will not be disappointed.
Grissom invites all to get ready for a series bigger and better than ever. After the last two years, “it’s time we get back in the groove.”