AS THE SUN moved closer to the horizon and began to hide behind the clouds, the breeze over Victory Park turned chilly — a bit of an unusual weather for June in Stockton, one would say.

But that did not stop the young and old rock lovers, friends and strangers alike from meeting in front of the stage and breaking out some moves as the Summit Band played Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock.”

Concerts in the Park have returned to Stockton’s Victory Park for summer for the 71st year.

Taylor Mancebo, left, and Katya Trouser move to the music in front of the Victory Park stage as the Summit Band performs during the June 7 opening event of the Concerts in the Park series in Stockton. (Harika Maddala/Bay City News/Catchlight Local)

The concert series was founded in 1952 by the Stockton Musicians’ Association and the City of Stockton. It is currently organized by a nonprofit charitable trust chaired by David Silva, bringing local bands to Stockton for free performances.


Here is the remaining 2023 schedule for free concerts at Victory Park. Performances run from 6 to 8 p.m. each Wednesday through Aug. 23:

June 14: RBX
June 21: Network
June 28: Sabrosito
July 5: Valley Concert Band
July 12: Blowbacks
July 19: Mayday
July 26: Nick Elwood Band
Aug. 2: Gary Don Ricks and The Would Be Famous Band
Aug. 9: Gary Bohannon Band
Aug. 16: Stockton Garage Big Band
Aug. 23: Mike Torres Band

“The whole idea was a free concert series for the community,” Silva said. “It’s a family event, you know, everyone comes out, they bring a picnic lunch, they bring your chairs, they sit back, and they listen to some great music.”

The majority of the bands that have played at the concerts through the years have all been bands that started locally, in Stockton. The event now also has bands come in from the Bay Area and parts of Los Angeles.

The Summit Band once again opened the concert series, as they paid tribute to the founder of the Eagles, Glenn Frey with a performance of “Already Gone,” before proceeding to cover rock hits by Elton John, Elvis Presley and the Eagles among others for two hours.

“Who among the audience has walked in the streets of Memphis here?” asked Daniel Spediacci, the band’s lead singer, as the audience showed off their hands. “You can’t talk about Memphis without playing an Elvis song,” he added as the band started playing Presley’s “Suspicious Minds.”

The June 7 concert with Summit Band kicked off a 12-week series of free concerts at Victory Park that will take place every Wednesday through Aug. 23. All performances are scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. More information is available on the Visit Stockton website.

Harika Maddala is a photojournalist based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. They are a Report for America corps member and a CatchLight Local Fellow.