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Farewell to Konocti
Thousands attend last show at North Coast's largest music venue in Lake County

  • A near-capacity crowd listens to Rascal Flatts at the last scheduled concert at Konocti Resort on Sunday night. (MARK ARONOFF/ PD)

KELSEYVILLE - The music was country but there were underlying blues as the sun set over the Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa's final outdoor concert Sunday night following years of financial and legal turmoil.

"We're saddened by it. It's a place we'd like to come back to," Gary LeVox, lead singer of Rascal Flatts, said as band members posed with fans before their show.

Fans came from throughout Northern California to see the band play, and they greeted Rascal Flatts with wild cheering.

The 5,000-seat outdoor amphitheater -- the North Coast's largest music venue -- was at near capacity for its final show, on an cool evening at the base of Lake County's Mount Konocti.

A few smaller events are scheduled at the lakeside resort in coming weeks before it closes Nov. 11 unless a buyer materializes. The resort's price tag is $15 million.

"I think it's sad. I really love this place," said Rich Barnett of McKinleyville, who has been coming to Konocti concerts for at least 15 years.

"Our first date was here," said his wife, Carrie.

"I hope people with a lot of money buy this place," said Pam Boyrie of Santa Rosa, who has been attending Konocti concerts for at least 10 years with her husband, Ken. On Sunday, they were accompanied by their son and daughter-in-law.

There has been interest in the resort, and several potential buyers made it to the contract stage but the deals fell through, said Jim Bishop, who works for the resort's court-appointed management company, WhiteStar Advisors.

Several others currently are investigating possibilities, he said. Bishop said he could not disclose any names.

The resort's closure will be a blow to Lake County's economy as well as to music lovers.

It is one of the county's premier tourist attractions and one of the largest private employers, with almost 600 employees, most of them part time or seasonal, according to a 2008 county study.

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