The 2.52-mile Sonoma Raceway road course and drag strip could soon be the future home to the newest music festival in the Bay Area after owners submitted a bid to host a four-day event that could rival Outside Lands and Napa’s BottleRock.
According to SFGate, the former Sears Point and Infineon raceway situated at the juncture of Highway 37 and Highway 121 seeks approval from Sonoma County officials for a major music festival that would be held in the spring or fall. Capacity would be capped at 55,000 attendees per day, including up to 6,000 on-site campers who would stay overnight on the 1,600 acre raceway. In addition to music, the music festival could feature multiple stages for comedians as well as spotlights on local artists and other vendors.
Up to this point, Sonoma Raceway has been solely a race-driven venue, holding a half-dozen big race events each year including the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR race in June that draws appropriately 100,000 visitors. Some of the current concerns about the festival plans include the added noise and traffic in the rural area. In an effort to help the local community, owners of the raceway pledge to donate a minimum of $200,000 each year to local nonprofits.
The owners group’s application to change their use permit was submitted in November and the county is searching for a firm to conduct an environmental impact report, a process that typically takes roughly two years. The final step in the process would be to obtain approval for the plan from the county Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. If all goes smoothly, the first concert could happen as soon as the summer of 2017.