Ten can’t-miss concerts this summer at Lake Tahoe-Truckee

Popa Chubby, a blues icon whose real name is Theodore Joseph “Ted” Horowitz, performs at Squaw Valley this summer. Photo: Creative Commons

From big-time Grammy performances warranting big-ticket prices to local hole-in-the-wall musical acts where the only cover is what you pony up for a beer while shaking your hips to the beat, the Truckee-Tahoe music scene has — as cliché as it is to say — something for just about anybody.

For starters, the Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series is back for another year at Harveys Outdoor Amphitheater on the South Shore, with the likes of Pentatonix, Miranda Lambert, Steve Miller Band, Dave Matthews Band and other world-renowned acts comprising a loaded lineup for 2019.


READ MORE IN TAHOE MAGAZINE: This story is included in the 2019 Summer edition of Tahoe Magazine, a specialty publication of the Sierra Nevada Media Group. The magazine is on newsstands now across Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Reno. Or, go here to read the digital version!


But that’s just the tip of the musical iceberg when it comes to outdoor music at Truckee-Tahoe. Nearly every afternoon/evening during the high summer season features an outdoor concert of some sort. If you’re new to the region, here’s a quick run-down of the big ones you definitely should check out at least once:

• Tuesdays: Bluesdays at Squaw Valley, 6-8:30 p.m. June 11 to September 3

• Wednesdays: Music in the Park at the Truckee Amphitheater, 6:30-8:30 p.m. June 19 to Aug. 28

• Thursdays: Truckee Thursdays in Downtown Truckee, 5-8:30 p.m. June 13 to Aug. 29

• Thursdays: Live at Lakeview at Lakeview Commons in South Lake Tahoe, 4:30-8:30 p.m. June 20 to Aug. 29

• Fridays: Music on the Beach in Kings Beach, 6-8:30 p.m. June 28 to Aug. 30

• Sundays: Concerts at Commons Beach in Tahoe City, 4-7 p.m. June 16 to Sept. 1

You won’t find big-time acts like Phish (which performed at Harveys last summer) or Bob Dylan (2009 and 2010) at these longtime weekly events, but you will find solid mid-tier music — oh, and did we mention they’re all free?

Trey Anastasio of Phish belts out a tune during one of the band’s two-night performances at the 2018 Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series at Harveys in Stateline. Photo: Ming Poon Photography

Of course, music isn’t just relegated to the outdoors. There are plenty of indoor venues spattered across the region that offer all sorts of musical tastes for, you guessed it, just about anybody. Remember, Google is your friend. Just search “Music in Tahoe” and start planning, remembering that some concerts are free, and others are not.

Of course, we’re here to guide you if you accidentally dropped your phone in the lake. Trust us, we’ve been there.

Below are Tahoe Magazine’s Top 10 concerts to check out this summer. So go ahead — have a brew, shake your hips and have a great time!

June 14 — Tim McGraw

Harveys Outdoor Amphitheater, Stateline
Tim McGraw plays Harveys Outdoor Arena in July 2016. He returns June 14 this year. Photo: Jim Grant

The country music icon kicks off the 2019 Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series in style. There’s not much we can say about this multi-platinum recording office that the likes of Rolling Stone and others haven’t written already, so we’ll just say that you’ll like it, you’ll love it — and you’ll surely want some more of it.

June 19 — The Novelists

Valhalla Boathouse Theatre, South Lake Tahoe
The Novelists perform June 19 at the Valhalla Boathouse Theatre in South Lake Tahoe. Contributed photo

Hailing from Reno, The Novelists are a four-part folk/pop group who showcase cliffhanger storytelling and signature four-part harmonies in a high-energy show that combines original songs with classic rock covers. The concert is one of many musical offerings planned this summer by Valhalla Tahoe.

June 26 — Lost Whiskey Engine

Truckee Amphitheater, Truckee
Lost Whiskey Engine hails from Truckee and was started in 2013 by brothers Sean and Conor McAlindin, and Mick Melvin. Photo: Facebook

Lost Whiskey Engine will help you find yourself. The band hails from Truckee and was started in 2013 by brothers Sean and Conor McAlindin, and Mick Melvin. Lost Whiskey Engine describes itself as a collective of “progressive acoustic musicians” rooted in traditional folk, bluegrass and free-form jam rock.”

July 5 — Woodie & the Longboards

Summer Concert on the Green, Tahoe Donner
Beach Boys tribute band Woodie & the Longboards performs at Tahoe Donner this summer. Contributed photo

The 9th annual Summer Concert on the Green at Tahoe Donner is one of the region’s best family-friendly events. This year, Woodie & the Longboards — a tribute to the Beach Boys — takes the stage for day one of the two-night event, sure to wow crowds with songs from the breezy California era of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

July 19 — Above & Beyond

Wanderlust Festival, Squaw Valley
Above & Beyond are an English electronic music group consisting of Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness, and Paavo Siljamäki. Photo: Creative Commons

Wanderlust brings the world’s biggest names in yoga together for four days of spiritual sanctuary. But it’s not all about being one with nature; there’s also music to help you become one with your melodic soul. This year’s festival is highlighted by Above & Beyond, one of the world’s leading electronic music acts.

July 24 — Reel Big Fish

Crystal Bay Casino, Crystal Bay
Reel Big Fish performs at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz on March 27, 2008. The band performs this summer in Crystal Bay. Photo: Creative Commons

Remember what we said about indoor venues? The Crown Room at the CBC on Tahoe’s North Shore is an indoor musical masterpiece, providing concert-goers with some of the best acoustics you’ll ever hear. So why not “sell out,” “have (yourself) a beer,” and enjoy some ‘90s nos-ska-lgia with Reel Big Fish?

Aug. 11 — Poor Man’s Whiskey

Concerts at Commons Beach, Tahoe City
Poor Man’s Whiskey will be one of several bands performing at Commons Beach this summer. Photo: Facebook

It’s not often you get to drink in live music with sparkling Lake Tahoe serving as your beach-boogie backdrop. This summer, check out Poor Man’s Whiskey, known for, among other things, its performance of “Dark Side of the Moonshine” — a bluegrass/americana take of the classic Pink Floyd album.

Aug. 16 — Sneaky Creatures

Music on the Beach, Kings Beach
Sneaky Creatures, which hails from Kings Beach, will perform in front of a home-town crowd this summer. Photo: Facebook

This band that hails from Kings Beach describes itself as “a mischievous alt-gypsy swing septet” that employs an “unusual blend of rock, jazz and dixieland funk.” The band’s even been known to break out some … wait for it … “electro-swing rocka-folky jazz-a-billy hip hop circus music.” Count us in!

Aug. 24 — Luke Bryan

Harveys Outdoor Amphitheater, Stateline
Luke Bryan will perform at Harveys Outdoor Arena on Sunday, Aug. 25. Photo: Jim Wright

OK, we’re back at the Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series, because it’s seriously tough to not include all these acts. Luke Bryan is a country music megastar who’s sure to serenade the Tahoe night sky with his classic hits. When it comes to Luke at the Lake, well, we “don’t want this night to end,” either.

Sept. 3 — Popa Chubby

Bluesdays, Squaw Valley
Popa Chubby, a blues icon whose real name is Theodore Joseph “Ted” Horowitz, performs at Squaw Valley this summer. Photo: Creative Commons

The Tuesday after Labor Day is basically like any Monday after a Tahoe summer weekend — we’d much rather keep playing than start working. So celebrate the last Bluesdays concert of the season at Squaw with Popa Chubby, a blues icon whose real name, in case you’re wondering, is Theodore Joseph “Ted” Horowitz.

Share this: