The Stern Grove Festival Lineup this Summer is Amazing
Stern Grove is a San Francisco summer tradition that is going on its 81st year. For the past 80 summers, visitors and locals have seen legendary performances in one of the most beautiful spots in the city for free. Yes, you read that right.
The Stern Grove Festival has released their lineup for the upcoming season of Sunday concerts, happening June 17 to Aug. 19, 2018, and it includes traditional picks and newly commission material. Here’s a list of the artists coming to Stern Grove:
June 17: Peabo Bryson and Jeffrey Osborne
The Big Picnic, An Opening Day Benefit and Concert, kicks off the 81st season with a ticketed benefit party at noon followed by an admission-free concert at 2 p.m. Tickets for the benefit party are available on Stern Grove’s website. One of the premier male vocalists in contemporary music, Peabo Bryson is a GRAMMY Award winner and has been called the “Pavarotti of soul singers” by The New York Times music critic Jon Pareles. Jeffrey Osborne's solo career has brought him four GRAMMY Award nominations, and five gold and platinum albums.
June 24: Ziggy Marley and Flavia Coelho
As much as he upholds a family tradition that began with his father Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley has blazed his own trail as an acclaimed artist providing the soundtrack to real revolution. After eight records with The Melody Makers and three GRAMMY Awards, Marley launched a legendary solo career in 2003 and proceeded to garner GRAMMY Awards in 2006, 2013, 2014 and 2016. Raised in Rio de Janeiro but residing in Paris, Flavia Coelho delivers a summer cocktail of samba, bossa nova, Brazilian rap, reggae and ragga with a playful confidence. The daughter of a hairdresser for drag queens, she discovered her voice by singing the songs of Diana Ross, Nina Hagen and the divas of Brazilian pop.
July 1: M. Ward and Thao and the Get Down Stay Down
Recording artist M. Ward has released a string of acclaimed solo albums in addition to five LPs with Zooey Deschanel in their duo, She & Him. His latest album, “More Rain,” is a nod by the lauded singer-songwriter and producer to his perennially damp adopted home of Portland. Much of Thao’s latest album, “A Man Alive,” is danceable and vibrant while focusing on her relationship with her father who drifted in and out of her family’s lives.
July 8: Mexican Institute of Sound with Special Guests and GINKGOA
The Mexican Institute of Sound is the project name of DJ and producer Camilo Lara. A native of Mexico City, Lara is known for his work as a music consultant for the Pixar movie, Coco. At Stern Grove Festival, the Mexican Institute of Sound's performance will have an array of special guest artists such as Latin GRAMMY-nominated accordionist Celso Piña, vocalist Denise Gutierrez (Hello Seahorse), and guitarist Paco Huidobro (Fobia). Featuring the duo of Nicolle Rochelle and Antoine Chatenet, GINKGOA was discovered at the renowned French festival Les Francofolies, where the duo won the prize for Favorite Group. From pop to the swing of old New York with a mix of electro French beats, GINKGOA have only one goal: to make generations of people dance, sway and sing.
July 15: Anoushka Shankar, Land of Gold and Han Han
A singular figure in the Indian classical and progressive global music scenes, Anoushka Shankar is a sitar player and composer. The first Indian artist to perform at the GRAMMY Awards, Shankar has garnered several prestigious honors including five GRAMMY Award nominations. Her latest album, “Land of Gold,” is her personal response to the humanitarian trauma of displaced people fleeing conflict and poverty. A registered nurse by day and hip-hop star by night, Filipina-Canadian Han Han raps about her immigrant experience on her self-titled debut album, “HanHan.” Her performance at Stern Grove Festival will be her U.S. debut and will feature a new work in collaboration with the local Barangay Dance Company, commissioned by Stern Grove Festival.
July 22: San Francisco Symphony
The San Francisco Symphony returns for its annual summer performance at Stern Grove Festival. Since its inaugural concert in 1938, the San Francisco Symphony has graced the Festival stage, offering world-class performances every year for free to the public. An Emmy Award and multi-GRAMMY® Award winning orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony is led by Musicl Director Michael Tilson Thomas. For the performance at Stern Grove Festival, the San Francisco Symphony features one of the finest young conductors to emerge from the United States in recent seasons, Jayce Ogren.
July 29: San Francisco Ballet with Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson
Led by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson, San Francisco Ballet returns to Stern Grove Festival with artists of the Company performing a selection of works from their current repertory. Renowned for its incomparable level of innovation, the San Francisco Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies—not to mention the longest-running—in the United States. San Francisco Ballet now presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally.
August 5: Femi Kuti and The Positive Force and Sol Development
The heart and soul of modern Afrobeat, Kuti’s father created the style and took it to the world, inspiring people with insistent dance beats and lyrics bristling with political statements. As a spokesperson for UNICEF's crusade for the rights of children and an advocate for HIV/AIDS education and prevention, Kuti is recognized as a community leader and an inspiration for African resistance to economic hardship. Led by MC, spoken word poet, activist, and educator Karega Bailey, Oakland ensemble Sol Development performs a blend of hip-hop, jazz, and soul grooves.
August 12: Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes and The Humidors
Only a few artists in history have been capable of defining an entire era in pop music. Ronnie Spector is one of those artists. She is the embodiment of the heart, soul and passion of female rock n' roll in the 1960s. To this day, no one has surpassed Spector’s powerful trademark vocals and gutsy attitude. Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Spector and the Ronettes are distinguished across the globe for many classic hits including "Be My Baby." Hailing from the Bay Area, the eight-piece funk unit The Humidors features Andre Cruz's heartfelt vocals and vintage R&B rhythms. Having shared the stage with acts such as Dumpstaphunk, The New Mastersounds, The Meters' Leo Nocentelli, Shuggie Otis and the late, great Bernie Worrell, The Humidors are in their element on stage.
August 19: The Revolution and Big Blu Soul Revue
Most commonly known as the band behind music icon Prince, The Revolution merges funk, rock n' roll, rhythm and blues, pop and psychedelic genres. Considered to be one of the most successful music acts of all time, The Revolution has achieved two number-one Billboard 200 albums (Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day), multiple Top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and has won three GRAMMY® Awards, as well as three American Music Awards. Having performed at such famed Bay Area venues as Yoshi's and the Boom Room, Big Blu Soul Revue bring the soul of San Francisco to every live performance with their '60s and '70s funk and R&B-inspired sound.
NOTE: All concerts begin at 2 p.m. at Sigmund Stern Grove, located at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard (in San Francisco’s Sunset neighborhood) and are admission free; no tickets are required. Admittance is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Photo courtesy Stern Grove Festival