Chilly redwood entertainment brings music to warm the soul

redwoodgrove
Melanie Jimenez/Staff

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During the chilly summer evenings in the East Bay area, families and students alike search for local and affordable activities. The UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley offers some sought-after local entertainment for these long weeknights. Every Thursday throughout the summer, the Botanical Gardens’ Redwood Grove hosts a variety of concerts to enliven the Berkeley community.

The events showcase a mix of bluegrass, folk, classical and rock music at a small venue surrounded by breathtaking redwoods. These redwoods carry the music upward and around, creating a one-of-a-kind musical experience. The concerts make for an affordable time as well, with tickets ranging from $10 to $20 and all profits going toward the nonprofit research of various plants at the garden and museum for UC Berkeley.

The entrancing redwoods create an almost haunting setting and atmosphere. Mellow music and a diverse audience made July 3’s performance an ideal addition to the already peaceful environment. The Botanical Gardens welcomed folk music artists Alela Diane and the duo Yesway to perform in last week’s lineup.

Yesway opened the evening with its mellifluous vocals played against the overwhelmingly lofty redwood background. Yesway, made up of Emily Ritz and Kacey Johansing, only sang a few of its songs before a small intermission. With plenty of smiles, the two continuously included comments of how great of an ending that performing at the Redwood Grove has been for their small tour.

Singer-songwriter Diane gave a low-key performance and told The Daily Californian that she was excited to do this concert and spend time near her childhood home in Northern California. Diane also mentioned this was her first time performing this type of outdoor concert surrounded by redwoods. As a new mom, Diane warmly dedicated her song “Oh! My Mama” to all the mothers in the family-filled audience as her final song of the evening. Diane’s earnest lyrics and euphonious voice blended well with Yesway’s harmonies as the artists vocalized melodies serene enough to match the tranquil setting.

The concerts take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. every Thursday until the end of August. With a few friends, homemade food and maybe some blankets, the Redwood Grove concerts perfect the cool summer nights of Berkeley, with most of the thanks given to the bewitching scenery.

Contact Melanie Jimenez at [email protected].

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