Late May in Concord has long signaled the kickoff of the annual Music and Market series at Todos Santos Plaza; a live music event that has been part of the city's culture now for well over two decades.

The live music event that gets the capacity crowd up and dancing is in its 26th year, attracting people regardless of the genre of music that reflects the diversity of the crowd.

"It's been one of those events that has become part of Concord's public life ... The scene just itself is so fun and healthy that just coming here lifts your spirits," says longtime Oceanworks Productions producer Jim Ocean.

Ocean also noting the presence of the popular farmers market that is the perimeter of the concert venue.

"People come here for the scene."

Local sponsors and donations from prior year concertgoers keep the synergy going.

The concert season starts Thursday, May 22, with a performance by Concord High's Jazz Ensemble.

The consistently crowd-pleasing series features returning artists such as the Beatles-inspired Sun Kings on June 19, to honor the 50th anniversary of the British Invasion.

And, concert doubleheader Da Island Way and Dakila features Polynesian dance in addition to song. Ocean describes Dakila's sound as Latin rock with a Filipino twist.

"We want to share an exotic mix of entertainment from the retro San Francisco Filipino-infused Latin rock music to the cultural dances from the South Pacific, giving rise to the cultural diversity evident in our community," said band leader David Bustamante, who regenerated the group after a 40-year-hiatus.


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Crowds can also look forward to bands and artists performing tributes to Michael Jackson, the music of Chicago, Johnny Cash and more, as well as the sounds of Americana, and '60s and '70s hits.

Tuesday Night Blues also returns in July, with a finale performance by Concord's own Annie Sampson.

"The summer shows are a touchstone for the people of Concord to palpably feel their community, and a window for people outside of Concord to see it beautifully expressed," Ocean has noted.

if you go
WHAT: Thursday Music & Market series kicks off with the Concord High Jazz Ensemble
WHEN: Concerts 6:30-8 p.m. Thursdays, May 22-Sept. 11; farmers market 4-8 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 23
WHERE: Todos Santos Plaza, Willow Pass Road at Grant Street, downtown Concord
INFORMATION: Visit www.concordfirst.org for a complete summer schedule