OAKLAND -- This September kicks off another season of Sundays in the Redwoods, the popular concert series at Woodminster Amphitheater.

It's the eighth year for the fall outdoor show, which is run by the Oakland Parks and Recreation Department. The city hopes the four-date series will again draw a diverse and dedicated crowd to the historic concert space.

"We try to book folks that will hopefully sell it out," said Karis Griffith, who manages the project for the department. "That's always the goal."

The series has been around for nearly a decade but needed some time to develop an identity and a following.

"It took us about five years to find an audience," Griffith said.

Now it's so popular that two of the four dates have already sold out. But there are still seats available for the first two shows. Sept. 22 will showcase popular jazz group Hiroshima as well as singer-songwriter Vivian Green and Dos Four, a Cuban reggaeton rapper. Sept. 29 brings smooth jazz singer Bobby Caldwell sharing the bill with local jazz soul singer Valerie Troutt and saxaphonist Ric Alexander.

The sold-out shows include, on Oct. 6 Eric Benét, an R&B singer known also for being the brother of actor Lisa Benét and the former husband of actress Halle Berry. The other sold-out date hosts singer Lalah Hathaway, who is performing on Oct. 13 with Kindred the Family Soul.

The sold-out dates are a testament to how successful the series has become.


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"This is the first year we sold out before our show started," Griffith said.

Previously the series had one additional date, featuring the Oakland East Bay Symphony. Griffith said the symphony was not available this year but the tradition is planned to continue next year.

According to Griffith, the thought behind the programming is to rely on popular styles that they know will keep the core crowd of Sundays in the Redwoods fans but also introduce a few new things each year, without scaring anyone off.

"As we have built it now, we know we have an audience," she said.

Griffith said that she's excited about all the performers this year, but admits that her mind is on making everything go well rather than on enjoying the concerts.

"I hardly ever get a chance to see them," she said.

If you go
What: Sundays in the Redwoods
Where: Woodminster Amphitheater, 3300 Joaquin Miller Road
When: Sept. 22, Sept. 29, Oct. 6, Oct. 13
Tickets: $14; VIP table for eight: $288; mailing fee for tickets, $2
Information: 510-238-3052 or www.sundaysintheredwoods.com