The Stern Grove Festival Lineup this Summer is Amazing
Stern Grove is a San Francisco summer tradition that is going on its 80th year. For the past 79 summers, visitors and locals have seen legendary performances in the music industry in one of the most beautiful backdrops in the city for free. Yes, you read that right. That's no misprint. They've released their lineup for the upcoming year and it is eclectic and engaging, filled with some surprises and some traditional picks. Every Sunday from June 25 to Aug. 27, 2017, you'll hear these diverse musical artists:
June 25 - Kool & The Gang
The Big Picnic, An Opening Day Benefit and Concert kicks off the 80th season with a ticketed benefit party at 11:30 a.m., followed by an admission-free concert at 2 p.m. Kool & the Gang have sold more than 70 million records worldwide through three decades and greatly influenced today's music. San Francisco's own bluesy, soulful singer and guitarist Quinn DeVeaux blends New Orleans soul and early blues with contagious dance rhythms.
July 2 – Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers and Fantastic Negrito
Soulful local singer, musician and songwriter Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers blend rock, country, blues and folk into an original sound. Oakland blues guitarist and singer Fantastic Negrito takes the stage on the heels of his GRAMMY win for Best Contemporary Blues Album this year.
July 9 – San Francisco Symphony - Edwin Outwater, Conductor
San Francisco Symphony returns to Stern Grove Festival with conductor Edwin Outwater performing an afternoon of "American Landscapes," a tribute to the National Park Service centennial. The program includes three Americana selections by John Williams, Ferde Grofe's "Grand Canyon" Suite and Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Opus 95, "From the New World." Outwater is Director of Summer Concerts at the San Francisco Symphony, the Music Director of Ontario’s Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and regularly guest conducts the Chicago and New World Symphonies.
July 16 – Eric Burdon & The Animals and The Stone Foxes
Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Eric Burdon & The Animals perform their powerful blues-rock, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of San Francisco's Summer of Love. Native San Franciscans The Stone Foxes return to Stern Grove Festival with their straight-ahead, foot-stomping rock and roll and a new song that they will perform especially for the festival.
July 23 – Los Ángeles Azules Featuring Jay de la Cueva and Ximena Sariñana and Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco
Mexican musical group Los Ángeles Azules perform cumbia sonidera, a fusion of 1950/60s cumbia and electronic music. They will share the stage with Moderatto frontman Jay de la Cueva and GRAMMY-nominated singer Ximena Sariñana. Ensambles Ballet Folklório de San Francisco return to the Stern Grove Festival stage and celebrate their 25-year anniversary of preserving Mexican Folklorio Dance. To mark the special occasion, they will perform a new dance piece.
July 30 – San Francisco Ballet – Helgi Tomasson, Artistic Director
San Francisco Ballet returns to Stern Grove Festival with artists of the Company performing a selection of works from their current repertory.
August 6 – Amadou & Mariam and Ibibio Sound Machine
Amadou & Mariam are a GRAMMY-nominated duo from Mali whose unique “Afro-blues” sound has landed them at Coachella and Glastonbury, and opening for bands such as Coldplay and the Scissor Sisters. Fronted by London-born Nigerian singer Eno Williams, Ibibio Sound Machine is a clash of African and electronic elements inspired by the golden era of West African funk, disco, modern post-punk, and electro.
Aug. 13 – WAR and Malo
Musical melting pot WAR became a permanent part of America’s musical landscape as one of the first successful bands to fuse rock, jazz, Latin, and R&B, creating hits such as “Low Rider,” "Spill The Wine," and “Why Can’t We Be Friends?" San Francisco natives Malo are pioneers of the Latin rock that defined the 1970s, hitting it big with their signature tune “Suavecito.”
Aug. 20 – Brazilian Girls and Moon Hooch
Hailing from New York City, GRAMMY-nominated group Brazilian Girls are a dance floor-friendly and eclectic blend of electronic dance music reflecting styles as diverse as reggae, jazz, bossa nova, reggae, and lounge. Explosive horn and percussion trio Moon Hooch first gained a following busking in the New York city subway, but have since moved on to much larger stages with their modern-day jazz fusion.
Aug. 27 - Mavis Staples and the Kev Choice Ensemble
With a career spanning 60+ years, powerhouse vocalist Mavis Staples crosses easily between gospel, soul, folk, pop, R&B, blues, rock, and hip-hop. From the Delta-inflected gospel sound she helped create with her father and The Staples Singers, to her recent Kennedy Center Honor and collaborations with Arcade Fire and Gorillaz, Staples is a truly iconic American artist. Kev Choice Ensemble is a jazz/hip-hop/funk band led by Oakland-based pianist, emcee, producer, and music historian Kev Choice.
NOTE: All concerts begin at 2 p.m. at Sigmund Stern Grove, located at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard (in San Francisco’s Sunset/Parkside district) and are admission free; no tickets are required. Admittance is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Photo via Stern Grove Festival