Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre

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Jefferson Airplane performing at the Fantasy Fair

The Sidney B. Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre, also known as the Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre or simply the Mountain Theatre, is a 4,000-seat open-air venue in Mount Tamalpais State Park, in Marin County, California, United States.


A large crowd at Cushing Memorial Amphitheater

Beginning in 1913 Mount Tamalpais had hosted theatrical performances known as Mountain Plays in a natural amphitheatre setting 2,000 feet above sea level. John C. Catlin became the first president of the Mountain Play Association and financed its first play in the Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre in 1913.[1]

In the first two decades the performances were accessed by hiking or riding the winding Mount Tamalpais and Muir Woods Railway.[2] The railway was led by businessman Sidney B. Cushing and, in 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps began construction of a 4,000-seat stone amphitheater that was named the Sidney B. Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre in his honor.[3][4] The amphitheatre was constructed by the corps using massive serpentine rocks.[2] In 1967 the venue hosted the two-day Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival, widely considered the first outdoor rock festival ever held during the Summer of Love.[5] It hosts theatrical productions each year in the spring.

In response to the California State Parks budget crisis, on June 21, 2013, the Tamalpais Conservation Club[6] hosted a benefit concert, Mount Tam Jam,[7] produced by Michael Nash. This eight-hour festival resulted in a sell-out crowd under perfect weather conditions. The musical lineup included CAKE, Galactic, Taj Mahal, Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Review, and Danny Click and the Hell Yeahs.[8]

Sound Summit[edit]

In 2014, Michael Nash formed Roots & Branches Conservancy and since 2015 has produced Sound Summit at the Amphitheatre, raising $200,000 for Mount Tamalpais State Park.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30] The Sound Summit 2015 lineup included Tedeschi Trucks Band, Dr. John & The Nite Trippers, The Mother Hips, Portland Cello Project, The Mother Truckers, and Caroline Sky. Sound Summit 2016 featured Wilco, Los Lobos, Bill Frisell & Guitar In The Space Age, The Stone Foxes, and Matt Jaffe. Sound Summit 2017 celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Magic Mountain Festival with performances by Bob Weir and Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Stone Foxes, Vetiver, and the Printz Dance Project. The Sound Summit 2018 featured jazz icon Herbie Hancock, Grace Potter, Bob Weir, Nikki Lane, Con Brio, and Amelia Einhorn. The event took a rest in 2019, and it was postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The following year, Sound Summit 2021 returned to a joyful and jubilant crowd with performances by Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Father John Misty, Allah-Las, Cha Wa, Teal Collins, and Ray & Paul Holmberg.

Panoramic view of the amphitheater

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Neal Hotelling (30 Aug 2019). "Mayoral questions included feeding a horse, beer and censorship" (PDF). Carmel Pine Cone. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. p. 22. Retrieved 2022-04-27.
  2. ^ a b "Mountain Play: History". Mountain Play Association. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  3. ^ "Mount Tamalpais State Park CCC Features". State of California. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  4. ^ Liberatore, Paul (April 12, 2008). "Veterans of 75-year-old Civilian Conservation Corps honored at Mountain Theater". Marin Independent Journal. Archived from the original on 14 November 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  5. ^ Lomas, Mark. "Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival". Marin History. Marin Independent Journal. Archived from the original on 21 April 2009. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  6. ^ "Casino: Cabaret Club im Vergleich".
  7. ^ "Mount Tam Jam 6/22/13 - Galactic, CAKE, Taj Mahal Trio, Mike Farris & Roseland Rhythm Revue, Danny Click & The Hell Yeahs!".
  8. ^ "Rock returns to Mount Tamalpais at the first, and maybe not the last, Tam Jam". Archived from the original on 2013-06-26. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
  9. ^ "FAQ - Sound Summit".
  10. ^ "Gallery - Archives - Sound Summit".
  11. ^ "Sound Summit & Beyond!". ROOTS & BRANCHES CONSERVANCY.
  12. ^ "Donate - Sound Summit".
  13. ^ "Sponsorship - Sound Summit".
  14. ^ "Roots & Branches Conservancy Archives".
  15. ^ "Rock 'n' roll returns to Mount Tamalpais this summer with 'Sound Summit'". 17 July 2015.
  16. ^ "Sound Summit 2017: A Benefit for The Mountain". Eventbrite.
  17. ^ "501c3Lookup - ROOTS & BRANCHES CONSERVANCY". 501c3Lookup.
  18. ^ "Roots & Branches Conservancy in San Francisco, California (CA) -".
  19. ^ "Sound Summit: A Benefit for The Mountain Nabs Wilco, Los Lobos & More for Sept. 17 Concert on Mt. Tam". Enjoy Mill Valley. 28 June 2016.
  20. ^ "Sound Summit Announces 2017 Lineup". 19 June 2017.
  21. ^ "Sound Summit- Visit Marin 2017".
  22. ^ "Sound Summit: A Benefit for the Mountain". 18 August 2016.
  23. ^ "Ride Your Bike/Volunteer: Sound Summit on Mt TamMCBC". 15 August 2016.
  24. ^ "State Parks Supporters Nab Eclectic Lineup for Mount Tam Jam Benefit". 6 May 2013.
  25. ^ KHSU Staff (9 June 2017). "Interview: Halimah The Dreamah in the Summer of Love".
  26. ^ "Mount Tam Jam to present diverse lineup". 19 June 2013.
  27. ^ "Tritone Artist Management :: Mobile Production Pro".
  28. ^ "Michael Nash (5)". Discogs.
  29. ^ "The Summer Of Love van 1967". 27 February 2017.
  30. ^ Bohannon, Kim Weir, Sarah. "Up The Road: Summer Of Love".

Coordinates: 37°54′46″N 122°36′32″W / 37.91278°N 122.60889°W / 37.91278; -122.60889