It’s no secret where Area 51 will be July 26. The popular Santa Barbara cover band is scheduled to play its ninth year in a row at the Goleta Valley Historical Society’s (GVHS) outdoor concert series, Music at the Ranch. “It’s one of the funnest gigs I play all year,” said Area 51 lead singer Michael Andrews of the family-friendly event that hits all the right notes.
The series, which runs on Tuesday evenings July 12-August 16, came about as a way to entice visitors to the beautiful Stow House grounds during the weekdays, when attendance was typically light. “The Music at the Ranch started out as a four-week series and was designed to bring people to our historic gathering place on the off days,” explained Dacia Harwood, events coordinator for GVHS, of the series beginning. “Now 1,000-2,000 people turn out for each concert, and it runs for six weeks. This year is an especially gratifying year for the GVHS, too, since we’re celebrating the organization’s 50-year anniversary.”
Since its inception, the community has been an integral part of the series, said Harwood. “Our benefactors, bands, and volunteers have helped build a tradition, a charming tradition. Neighboring families walk or bike to the park, and there’s a real sense of community. Last year someone even brought a bubble machine for the kids, and someone else brought Hula-Hoops.”
In addition to Area 51, five other bands will be taking the stage throughout the series’ run: The Nombres (July 12), King Bee (July 19), Mezcal Martini (Aug. 2), Ventucky String Band (Aug. 9), and Tony Ybarra (Aug. 16). Bringing a picnic is encouraged, although there will be rotating food trucks on-site each Tuesday, including Shrimp vs. Chef (July 12), Georgia’s Smokehouse (July 26), Heat Culinary (Aug. 2 and 9), and Mony’s Tacos (Aug. 16), and beer and wine for sale, too. Bring blankets, low-backed chairs, and your dancing shoes to the festivities that, as past concertgoer Dawn Nelson noted, “are guaranteed to leave you clapping for more.”
For more information, see goletahistory.org.