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On behalf of Ownership, Management and the entire Staff at Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa, it is with great sadness that we announce the Resort has been closed, and an era has ended!!!! We are proud of the legacy that has been created over the last 20 years, as well as the 50 year history under the ownership of U.A. Local 38 Plumbers & Pipefitters Union.
We would like to thank our legions of Fans, Members and Clientle, for their support and patronage, during this incredible journey! It is our hope that the Resort will be sold and re-opened soon, and that we will have the good fortune, to serve you once again in the near future!
For more information on the Resort or for inquiries from interested parties concerning a potential sale/acquisition of the property, please feel free to contact Greg Bennett, President & General Manager, Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa, at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct at 707-279-6601.
Rocking the lake Konocti Harbor comes of age as music venue
Joe Selvin, Chronicle Staff Writer
Kelseyville, Lake County -- 'It's all rock 'n' roll,' shouted the driver, as his bus lurched around another sharp corner. 'Everybody get friendly.'
He careered around the far reaches of Konocti Harbor Resort, collecting passengers wherever they stood and taking them to the amphitheater. Pink Floyd blared from the speakers as people squeezed into the bus. The party was already happening.
Five hours later, an hour after the Huey Lewis and the News concert ended, the party was still happening. A raucous crowd of nearly 500 jammed the bar in the lodge, laughing, dancing, drinking, rocking out at the world's only rock 'n' roll holiday camp.
For 12 years, under the guidance of General Manager Greg Bennett, the 260- room resort on the edge of Clear Lake has slowly but steadily grown into a player on the Northern California concert scene. Don Henley, Linda Ronstadt, Tim McGraw, Chris Isaak, among others, will headline this summer's outdoor season -- all of them also Shoreline Amphitheatre or Chronicle Pavilion at Concord headliners this year, except McGraw, who chose Konocti for his sole Northern California appearance. Konocti is no longer a rock 'n' roll graveyard, presenting Leon Russell and the Marshall Tucker Band.
'The shows have been the driving force in our success,' Bennett said.
Bennett is a lifelong resort operator whose previous posts include Vail, Colo., and Jackson Hole, Wy. Blond, balding and goateed, with biceps bulging under the pushed-back sleeves of his Konocti Harbor polo shirt, Bennett has the tanned, athletic look that goes with the job. When he first came to Konocti, an operation owned by the pension fund of the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Local 38, there no showroom.
Bennett's ambition was to make Konocti a 'premier destination resort.' The place now books 60 to 70 shows a year -- both in the 1,000-seat lodge showroom and a scenic 5,000-capacity hillside amphitheater with a sweeping view of the lake. The resort
also has a marina, spa and the Konocti Princess, a paddle-wheeler for sunset lake cruises. Music plays in the background everywhere. When Bennett has a hot concert, he doesn't just sell out every room in his hotel, he sells out every hotel room in the county. The problem is that Lake County is a long way from Monte Carlo.
A GREAT CROSS SECTION
Backstage after the concert, Frank Beringer, one of the elder statesmen of the Napa Valley, was talking about buying a house nearby and moving over the mountain range from Pope Valley. His son, Mark Beringer, was hanging out backstage, too. The Huey Lewis concert last month marked this year's first Winemaker's Dinner at Konocti, not that the Beringers attended. In the patio behind Haven Clubhouse, concertgoers dined on roast beef and sampled the wares of five Lake County wineries. One group of Napa Valley wine snobs were enjoying themselves immensely, when a member of their party returned with more glasses of Lake County's finest. 'Are we done making fun yet?' she asked.
Located on 140 acres beneath Mount Konocti on the south shore of the largest natural lake in California, Konocti was mapped out by union President Joe Mazzola, the old-style labor leader who bought the property in 1959 and built a few cabins on the lakefront so union members could enjoy low-cost vacations.
Mazzola died in 1989 at 72 in a car crash on the winding roads near Konocti. His portrait gazes across the hotel lobby.
When Bennett arrived in April 1990, he found a run-down resort, badly in need of a face-lift. He slowly expanded the concerts, enlarging the 350-seat showroom first to 600 and then to 1,000 seats. It is now called the Joe Mazzola Classic Concert Showroom. He tried an outdoor concert on an old softball field in 1996. There was little more than plastic folding chairs on some grass. 'But, y'know, there was some business there,' Bennett said.
He built a makeshift amphitheater on the bluff above the lake with a jaw- dropping panorama as the stage's backdrop. Within a couple of years, he paved the lot, installed stadium seating and opened the Konocti Field Amphitheater.
'It's a long process to establish a profile that a Lake Tahoe or Monterey has,' he said.
THE TOP-GROSSING SMALL VENUE
But Bennett has clearly inveigled himself onto the U.S. music-business map - - Konocti is the top-grossing small venue in the country, according to Performance magazine.
For Bay Area acts, Konocti is like playing their backyard. Lewis made the 2 1/2-hour drive home to Marin County after the show.
For acts crisscrossing the country, there is nothing else like Konocti. Last year, country star Alan Jackson, who returns to the lake July 26, arrived the day before he started his tour to take a wave-runner out on the lake. Brooks and Dunn have four days off scheduled at the resort after their show next month, a kind of midtour mini-vacation.
'We encourage them,' Bennett said. 'We hope they fall in love with the place.'
KONOCTI HARBOR RESORT: Yes appears at 6:45 p.m. Friday (tickets: $59-$39), Linda Ronstadt performs Nelson Riddle classics with the Skywalker Orchestra at 6:45 p.m. Saturday (tickets: $69-$49). Konocti Field Amphitheater, Konocti Resort and Spa, 8727 Soda Bay Rd., Kelseyville. Call (800) 660-5253 LAKE or visit www.konoctiharbor.com.
E-mail Joel Selvin at email@example.com.