The Goleta community gathers once a year beneath the shady trees that line the historic Stow House for the annual Music at the Ranch Tuesday Evening Concert Series, which kicked off this week with Spencer the Gardener and will continue through Aug. 19.
The free six-week event, sponsored by the Goleta Valley Historical Society, is back for its eighth consecutive year to the delight of thousands of local residents. Last year's event drew about 7,000 residents, with a similar turnout expected this year.
Spencer the Gardener lead singer Spencer Barnitz said the concert series is one of the highlights of his year. His band has performed at several Stow House concerts and was featured at the very first series.
“There's something super cool about this concert series and Stow House,” he said. “You look around and it's absolutely beautiful. It has a super old-fashioned vibe to it.”
Upcoming bands will include Donna Greene & The Roadhouse Daddies on July 22, Area 51 on July 29 and Salsa fusion band Mezcal Martini on Aug. 5. Hungry concertgoers can also enjoy the barbecue of Georgia's Smokehouse food trucks, which will be present for every event.
Since being saved from development in the 1960s, the Stow House has been center of Goleta history and culture.
Dacia Harwood, events coordinator for the Stow House, said she originally conceived of the concert series back in 2006 as a way to draw local residents together.
“We don't generate much income from this; for us it's all about creating community and giving people a reason to come here and enjoy this historical property,” she said. “When the series started, local bands would donate their time and sound systems — now we have our own sound engineers and crew.”
Local resident Nancy Naretto said Music at the Ranch has become a family tradition for her family, which has come to every concert series since its inception.
“We pack a dinner every Tuesday and sit under the same tree and enjoy the music — whether we've heard of the band or not,” she said with a laugh.
Visitors enjoyed barbecue in the shade as bandmates shuffled aboard the stage in preparation for the show.
Guitarist Gary Sangenitto wore a seemingly irrepressible grin during sound check as he tuned his guitar while looking out at the crowd.
“Being here and seeing all these people really makes me happy to be a part of the Goleta family," he said.
The concert series will take place every Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 304 N. Los Carneros Road at Rancho La Patera & Stow House in Goleta. All proceeds will go to the Goleta Valley Historical Society.
For a full concert schedule, visit the Stow House website by clicking here.