If it's summer in Bakersfield, it's time for Concerts by the Fountain.
The free concert series returned to The Marketplace last week and will continue with shows every Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. through Aug. 29.
The series has been going on in Bakersfield for 23 years, said Ashley Morales, center marketing manager at Donahue Schriber, which owns The Marketplace.
"The concert series (was) established to introduce The Marketplace Bakersfield as the newest shopping center in the area," Morales wrote in an email. "With its success, it has now become a summer tradition and a great event that brings the community together year after year."
Performing each week will be local bands from all genres, from R&B and funk to jazz and rock.
This week, Blonde Faith will take the stage. The five-piece band performs classic rock, R&B and blues, with both male and female vocals. The band has been together for 11 years but each member has been playing music for more than 35 years.
"The Concerts by the Fountain and all community concerts are awesome and so much fun," said Tamera Mahan, lead vocalist of Blonde Faith. "It gives local entertainers the opportunity to have a one-on-one musical experience with all ages of music and entertainment lovers. We enjoy performing at clubs and private parties but this gives us an opportunity to bring the joy of music to everyone in our community."
While at The Marketplace for the concerts, guests can grab something to eat from one of the restaurants in the shopping center, like Toro Sushi-Bar-Grill, Tahoe Joe’s Famous Steakhouse or Mama Tosca’s Ristorante Italiano, or shop at stores like Charming Charlie, Victoria's or Williams-Sonoma.
Those attending the concerts can get coupons and a chance to win gift cards by visiting the guest services table in the courtyard.
"Over the years, it has grown to be much more than just a concert — it is truly a community gathering that attendees can look forward to each week of the summer," Morales said.
Mahan said the concerts are a win-win-win situation, benefiting local bands, businesses and residents.
"It is very important to help and support local businesses to thrive, and we feel concerts like this help to do just that," she said. "We support our community whole-heartedly and in turn appreciate the support of concert goers."