The Bay Area's Indian summer is unkind to children. Just as the school year is starting up again, the region gets its best weather and outdoor event offerings begin to dwindle.
But it's not too late for the fifth annual Tricycle Music Fest, which begins this week in San Mateo County and The City.
Brainiacs at the San Mateo and San Francisco public libraries are joining forces to present eight weeks of free, kid-friendly rock 'n' roll concerts, with one tricycle raffled off at each concert.
Opening Saturday in The City and Sunday on the Peninsula, the festival lineup includes nine award-winning acts from across the country — including Grammy holders and bluegrass harmonizers the Okee Dokee Brothers — appearing at more than two dozen libraries.
The high-energy band The Not-Its inaugurate the weekend. Known for pop-tastic rock 'n' roll tunes, the band is fronted by Sarah Shannon (formerly of Velocity Girl), who favors bright pink petticoats and bedazzled Converse. Guitarists Danny Adamson and Thomas P. Baidsen raise eyebrows with their buoyant, mile-high split-kicks that would make even the bounciest emo band jealous.
"Music unites us all. For young children, musical experiences, including singing and dancing, are essential to build early literacy skills. It's thrilling to work with San Mateo County Library to engage even more families through music at the library," said Christy Estrovitz, early literacy coordinator for the San Francisco Public Library.
The festival's acts, many headed by professional musicians, play "kindie" music — indie-style rock 'n' roll made for children. It's more complex, fun, sophisticated and entertaining than the Raffi-esque fare often reserved for kids. For example, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based duo The Pop Ups (playing Oct. 19-20) incorporate Michel Gondry-style cardboard scenery and puppetry antics into their show.
The festival's second weekend features the Corner Laughers, a four-piece band that uses ukuleles, guitars, keyboards, handbells and drums.
Additional performers include The Hipwaders, Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band (a higher-pitched She & Him), the Jenny Lewis-esque Cat Doorman, Alison Faith Levy and Aaron Nigel Smith.
IF YOU GOTricycle Music Fest
Where: San Francisco and San Mateo libraries
When: Saturdays through Oct. 27
Contact: (650) 591-8286, www.smcl.org/tricycle
11 a.m. Saturday: Mission Branch, 300 Bartlett St., S.F.
3 p.m. Saturday: Portola Branch, 380 Bacon St., S.F.
11 a.m. Sunday: Mission Blue Center, 475 Mission Blue Drive, Brisbane
2 p.m. Sunday: Belmont Library, 1110 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont