There isn’t a desperate need for special events to help inspire a trip to the Monterey Bay Area.
Between the surf in Santa Cruz, the marine creature magic at Monterey Bay Aquarium (see the big debut event below), the shopping and wine-sipping in Carmel, the produce of Salinas Valley and the spiritual power of Big Sur — each of them world-class in their own right — plenty of draws await year-round.
But it’s nice to have some added springtime motivation.
Here appear some for the month of April, in chronological order.
Featured Photo: Monterey Bay Aquarium courtesy of Francis Taylor
Monterey Outdoor Market
The storybook setting that is the Custom House Plaza, adjacent to the famous Fisherman’s Wharf — and its worthy whale-watching and restaurant options — plays host to dozens of artisans, specialty foodstuffs and live music. Historic Old Monterey and the gorgeous Recreation Trail rimming the Monterey Bay also await nearby.
More info: brotherspromotions.com
Smoked Out Spring BBQ at Monterey Fairgrounds
The hip-hop lineup will spark attendance on its own. E-40, Too Short, Mozzy, P-Lo, Ramirez, Merkules, DaBoii, Jay Worthy, RBL Posse, Conejo, Vel The Wonder and more all perform. But there’s more where that came from, including comic hosts Marcella Arugello and Chris Riggins, special guests Nagio Bealum and Drea Meyers, craft beer, an assortment of barbecue and other various vendors, all assembling on the spacious and scenic fairgrounds lawns.
More info: montereycountyfair.com
Los Lobos at Rio Theatre
The East Los Angeles legends Los Lobos return to Surf City to deliver an oversize serving of their uncanny alchemy of rock, norteña, punk, folk, Tex-Mex, soul and blues. Rio’s promotional intel describes their multi-Grammy-Award-winning super powers as well as anyone: “For all the trailblazing musical acts who’ve emerged from Los Angeles, very few embody the city’s wildly eclectic spirit more wholeheartedly than Los Lobos,” it reads. “Over the last five decades, the East L.A.-bred band has made an indelible mark on music history.”
More info: riotheatre.com
Into the Deep: Exploring Our Undiscovered Ocean Grand Opening
Every so often the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s special exhibits prove so special that they become permanent. That may be the case with this latest addition, a dip into the wonders of Earth’s largest living space and most mysterious habitats, “Into the Deep: Exploring Our Undiscovered Ocean.” Today marks the debut of the collaborative exhibition, developed with the Aquarium’s research and technology partner Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Fathom that.
More info: montereybayaquarium.org
Aoife O'Donovan at Sunset Center
Grammy award-winning O’Donovan rides three critically-acclaimed solo albums, founding-member cred with the bands I’m With Her and Crooked Still, and, perhaps most impressively, props for her work as the featured vocalist on The Goat Rodeo Sessions with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile. Many know her from work on “A Prairie Home Companion,” few from this show will ever forget her performance.
More info: sunsetcenter.org
Lindsey Buckingham at Golden State Theatre
The singer, musician, songwriter and producer made his fame with Fleetwood Mac. But the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has had a notable solo career behind six studio albums and three live ones. For this show at the timeless Golden State, he’ll feature the stunning fingerpicking style that made him one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
More info: goldenstatetheatre.com
Easter Eggstravaganza at Monterey Fairgrounds
All kids 12 and under are welcome to report, basket in tow, for the free egg hunt (RSVP requested). The ’Ganza pairs with a coloring contest open to young artists in three age categories: 5 and under, 6 to 8 and 9 to 12, with winners receiving an Easter basket stuffed with treats. Entries are due to the Fairgrounds office by April 8.
More info: montereycountyfair.com
Charley Crockett at The Catalyst
Charley Crockett enjoys a stage presence well beyond his youthful years. The blues-country-Americana singer, guitarist and songwriter has released five albums since 2015, with his most recent, Lil G.L.’s Blue Bonanza, hitting The Top 10 in the US Billboard Blues Albums chart.
More info: catalystclub.com
Santa Cruz Mineral, Fossil, Gem & Jewelry Show
Santa Cruz Civic Center hosts exhibitors from across the country for a tradition approaching its 60th annual. All the titular elements figure in, featuring masters of procuring, arranging, engraving, cutting, polishing and appreciating a number of the Earth’s mineral wonders. Rock identification tables, stone-cutting demos, cabochon workshops, lectures and a kids’ fluorescent mineral dark room all make for a rockhound rock show.
More info: scrockngem.org
James Back and Julian Rhee at Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium and Mello Center
April 30-May 1
Santa Cruz Symphony brings a powerhouse performance with its fourth concert of the year, Kaleidoscopes, appearing at two Monterey Bay standout venues over two nights. The intrigue includes Julian Rhee on violin, James Baik on cello, Joseph Seton debuting The Aptos Sound Project and a special Mussorgsky-Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition presentation.
More info: santacruzsymphony.org