The Stern Grove Festival Lineup this Summer is Amazing (and Still Free)
Stern Grove is a San Francisco summer tradition that is going on its 79th year. For the past 78 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 19 to Aug. 21, 2016, you'll hear these diverse musical artists:
June 19 - Janelle Monae and Midtown Social
The Big Picnic, An Opening Day Benefit and Concert kicks off the 79th Season with a ticketed benefit party at 11 a.m., followed by an admission-free concert at 2 p.m. A captivating performer, Monae is known for her powerhouse R&B vocals and dynamic stage prescence. San Francisco-based group Midtown Social performs high-energy funk, rock, gospel and "California Soul" influenced by everyone from Sly and the Family Stone to Tower of Power.
June 26 – George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic and Bayonics
George Clinton's career is marked by more than 40 R&B hit singles (including three number one hits) and three platinum albums. For more than a decade, Bayonics have been performing a unique blend of hip-hop, raggae, Latin and funk music.
July 3 – Hieroglyphics and Dance Crews Mix'd Ingrdnts and Golden State Breakers
A driving force in modern day hip-hop, Oakland-based Hieroglyphics is a collective of artists whose lyric-driven sound is infused with jazzy, funky beats. Mix'd Ingrdnts is a Bay Area-based, all-female dance collective performing hip-hop, ballet, house and breakdancing. Golden State Breakers, a group of B-boys from Northern California, perform breakdancing primarily on the court of the Golden State Warriors.
July 10 – 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 17 – Joan Osborne's Soul Revue and John Brothers Piano Company
Seven-time Grammy nominee Joan Osborne Soul Revue pays tribute to some of the biggest R&B, soul and Motown hits off time such as "Midnight Train to Georgia" and "Ain't No Sunshine." John Brothers Piano Company performs a mix of early jazz, classical and blues.
July 24 – Julieta Venegas and La Misa Negra
Julieta Venegas over the course of her 20-year career has accrued a string of successful bands and albums and both American and Latin Grammy nominations and awards. The Oakland-based group La Misa Negra specializes in mid-20th century style Cumbia and Afro-Columbian dance hits.
July 31 – 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.
Aug. 7 – The O'Jays and MJ's Brass Boppers
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's, The O'Jays are one of the most popular and longest-running soul bands to come out of Philadelphia. Their 50-year career produced dozens of top albums and hits such as "Love Train." MJ's Brass Boppers swinging and singing brass-line is the Bay Area's only New Orleans-style brass band whose founding members were born and raised in NOLA.
Aug. 14 – Atomic Bomb! The Music of William Onyeabor - Jamie Lidell, Luke Jenner, Money Mark, Sinkane, and More and Afrolicious
Atomic Bomb is a rotating line-up of musicians who pay tribute to the futuristic, synth-heavy electronic Afro-funk of an underground legend, West African synth pioneer, William Onyeabor. Jamie Lidell, Luke Jenner ((The Rapture), Money Mark, Sinkane and more will perform. Local club favorite Afrolicious is a collective of dynamic and skilled funk, soul and electronic musicians who perform a combination of soulful vocals, funky bass and lively horns and beats.
Aug. 21 - The New Pornographers and Astronauts, etc.
A Canadian indie pop group, The New Pornographers have achieved critical success with the release of six studio albums since their 2000 debut. Anthony Ferrano of Astronauts, etc. is the touring keyboardist for Toro Y Moi and the front man for Oakland-based Astronauts, Inc.
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