Stern Grove Festival announces 2012 Concerts
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May 1, 2012
For immediate release
media contact: Anne Abrams

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Stern Grove Festival


Introducing The Big Picnic — A Benefit and Concert
Opening Day June 24

San Francisco….May 1, 2012 – San Francisco’s original music festival, Stern Grove Festival, announced today its 75th Season of admission-free concerts, Sundays at 2:00 p.m. from June 24 through August 26, 2012 at Sigmund Stern Grove, located at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco. This landmark summer season features a mix of performers as diverse as the city it calls home. This summer’s 10-week concerts series features an array of pop and jazz music greats, including Anita Baker, Sheila E, Al Jarreau, OK Go, Ozomatli, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Meshell Ndegeocelloas well as the City’s three classical institutions—the San Francisco Symphony, Ballet and Opera. Stern Grove Festival is the only venue in the world where all three of these renowned cultural institutions perform every summer, completely admission-free.

Every summer for 75 years, Stern Grove Festival fulfills its long-standing mission to make the arts accessible to all with its presentation of stellar performing arts events in one of the country’s most beautiful natural settings, completely free of admission.

Stern Grove Festival’s 75th Season is presented by Target and made possible with support from Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, The Hewlett Foundation, Parkmerced, AT&T, Sutter Health, Wells Fargo, The Koret Foundation, the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Levi Strauss Foundation, Recology, PG&E, Bank of the West, Capital Guardian, Bulgari, Joie de Vivre Hotels, Layer Cake Wines, Anchor Brewing, and media sponsors the San Francisco Examiner and KPIX - CBS 5, KBCW - The CW 44 Cable 12. Stern Grove Festival is presented in collaboration with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department and Commission.


June 24 –  The Big Picnic Benefit and Concert Starring
Anita Baker
The Family Stone and Glide Ensemble

To mark this milestone year, Stern Grove Festival will inaugurate a new tradition–The Big Picnic, An Opening Day Benefit and Concert to launch the summer season. This special event begins with a benefit party followed by the admission-free concert featuring Anita Baker, The Family Stone, and Glide Ensemble. These three acts, well known for getting the audience out of their seats, will set the tone for a dynamic summer at Stern Grove Festival.

Glide Ensemble, a San Francisco institution, opens the concert with an inspiring blend of gospel, jazz, blues, pop, and soul. The Family Stone, featuring Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees and original founding members of Sly & The Family StoneCynthia Robinson, Jerry Martini, and Greg Errico, continues the soul-stirring music with their funk-infused sound. And to close the day, Stern Grove Festival is proud to present Anita Baker—multiple GRAMMY winner, composer, producer, and all-around superstar, this R&B legend is known for her hit-making sound and smooth vocals.TheGrove
This performance is dedicated to the memory of Rosalie M. Stern, donor of Stern Grove to San Francisco and founder of the Stern Grove Festival Association. Concert Sponsors are Sutter Health, Parkmerced, Wells Fargo, PG&E, Bulgari, Northern Trust, AT&T, Recology, and Sonoma County Visitors Center. Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Vitale.

July 1 –  Preservation Hall Jazz Band and The Stone Foxes

It is particularly fitting to have the acclaimed Preservation Hall Jazz Band return to Stern Grove Festival with the sounds of the Big Easy. Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been a significant part of Stern Grove Festival throughout the years and generations of San Franciscans have fond memories of their concerts. This summer’s performance will feature a special commissioned piece celebrating Stern Grove Festival’s 75th year.

Continuing the Bay Area connection for this concert, local San Francisco band The Stone Foxes open the afternoon with their roadhouse-ready blues and rock sound. Founded in 2005, the band’s gritty sound has won them fans throughout the Bay Area.
Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Rex.

July 8 – San Francisco Symphony with
Music Director and Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas

and Members of the SFS Chorus

Stern Grove Festival is proud to present what promises to be an extraordinary performance with the San Francisco Symphony. For the first time in over ten years, SFS Music Director and Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas will conduct a concert in the Grove, also featuring members of the SFS Chorus. The histories of Stern Grove Festival and the San Francisco Symphony have been linked since June 1932 when the Symphony performed the first-ever concert at the Grove. This summer’s program, part of the Symphony’s centennial season and marking Stern Grove’s 75th anniversary, will feature Beethoven’s timeless masterpiece, Symphony No. 9, among other works. To mark this milestone, KDFC Radio, 90.3 FM will broadcast this July 8 concert live, further underscoring how performances at Stern Grove Festival are accessible to everyone.
This performance is dedicated to the memory of Rhoda H. Goldman, Festival Chair from 1968 to 1996. Concert sponsored by Sutter Health, Sonoma County Visitors Center, Galleria Park Hotel, and Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Rex.

July 15 – Nitin Sawhney and Meshell Ndegeocello

A producer, composer, DJ, multi-instrumentalist and all-around Renaissance man Nitin Sawhney brings cross-cultural cool to the Grove. One of the most talented and recognized producers and songwriters within the British electronic and fusion music scene, Nitin Sawhney is also a respected actor, writer, and scriptwriter.
Also performing is singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello with her eclectic blend of folk, jazz, hip-hop, funk, and rock. Since hitting the Billboard charts with a cover of “Wild Night” with John Mellencamp, Meshell has received ten GRAMMY nominations, performed around the world, and collaborated with artists ranging from Madonna and Basement Jaxx to The Blind Boys of Alabama.

Hotel Sponsor is Kabuki Springs and Spa.

July 22 – The E Family Featuring Pete, Sheila E, Juan and
Peter Michael Escovedo

Featuring the first family of Bay Area Latin music, The E Family brings the beat in this one-of-a-kind performance featuring the Pete Escovedo Orchestra, The E Family Band with Pete, Juan, Peter Michael, and Sheila E, and a special performance by Sheila E.
Concert Sponsor is Parkmerced and Hotel Sponsor is Kabuki Springs and Spa.

July 29 – San Francisco Ballet

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 and exuberance, San Francisco Ballet is one of the premier ballet companies in America.
Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Tomo and Kabuki Springs and Spa.

August 5 – Ozomatli and SMOD

Latin alternative rockers Ozomatli return to Stern Grove Festival with their high-energy, danceable blend of hip-hop, rock, and modern Latin sounds. A Festival favorite, the group will also present a kid-friendly performance at KidStage at noon before the concert.
From Mali, the trio SMOD opens the afternoon with a hip-hop hybrid of West African vocal styles, old school rapping, and modern beats. Their debut album, produced and recorded with international star Manu Chao, was released in 2010 in France
Concert Sponsor is AT&T and Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Carlton. Media sponsor is SF Weekly.     

August 12 – Al Jarreau and the George Duke Trio and
Mara Hruby

Re-creating a legendary San Francisco recording session, Al Jarreau and The George Duke Trio reunite for an afternoon of jazz classics.

Jarreau’s career started in San Francisco, where he performed with the George Duke Trio as the house band at the Half/Note jazz club, leading to the 1965 album, "Al Jarreau and the George Duke Trio- Live At The Half/Note." Since then, with fans worldwide, Jarreau has racked up seven GRAMMY nominations and scores of international music awards for his signature vocal stylings.

Born in San Rafael, George Duke was a mainstay on the 1960’s San Francisco jazz scene and studied at the Conservatory of Music. A respected musician, song-writer, music director, and producer, Duke has worked with greats like Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, and Dizzy Gillespie and contemporary R&B artists like Jeffrey Osbourne, Gladys Knight, and Anita Baker.

Opening the afternoon and rounding out the Bay Area focus of this concert is Oakland-based neo-soul singer Mara Hruby, a fast-rising star with a smooth, jazzy vocal sound and a singular style. After performing as a dancer and singer backing other Bay Area artists, she recently released her debut EP, "From Her Eyes."
Concert Sponsor is Parkmerced and Hotel Sponsor is Galleria Park Hotel.

August 19 – San Francisco Opera

Stern Grove Festival is proud to welcome back the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. The afternoon’s program features soprano Leah Crocetto, tenor Michael Fabiano, and more soloists performing a selection of operatic favorites.
This performance is dedicated to the memory of Elise S. Haas, Festival Chair from 1956 to 1968. Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Vitale.
August 26 – OK Go and The Family Crest

okgo_wcrowd_hiresKnown for their viral videos and quirky sound, alternative rockers OK Go close the 75th Season in celebratory style. At the forefront of an emerging class of creative entrepreneurs making art in both digital and physical spaces, the GRAMMY-nominated group’s self-directed videos have been viewed over 150 million times on YouTube. Their most recent video, which debuted during the Super Bowl, received 200 million hits in less than 24 hours the next day.

San Francisco indie orchestral collective, The Family Crest, opens the afternoon with their fusion of rock, classical, folk, and jazz. Their debut LP, "The Village," was pre-released at SXSW this year and will be released nationally this summer.

Concert Sponsor is Parkmerced, AT&T, and Sonoma County Visitors Center. Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Tomo.


  • All concerts begin at 2:00 p.m. at Sigmund Stern Grove, located at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard (in San Francisco’s Sunset/Parkside district).

  • All Stern Grove Festival events are ADMISSION-FREE; no tickets are required.

  • Stern Grove is accessible by MUNI bus and metro lines and concertgoers are encouraged to use public transportation. A free bike valet service is provided at Stern Grove Festival. There is no parking provided at Stern Grove Festival.

  • Concertgoers are encouraged to arrive early for the best lawn seating and may bring picnics, low beach chairs, and ground covers. Tall chairs, beach umbrellas, and pets are prohibited in Stern Grove during concerts. Blankets and groundcovers are restricted in size to 8x10 feet due to space limitations. Unoccupied blankets are subject to removal. Designated benches are reserved for seniors over the age of 65 and disabled persons with one guest until 30 minutes prior to concert time. To ensure the safety and comfort of patrons at each performance, the concert meadow will be closed to further entry if capacity is reached.  Patrons are not guaranteed seating in the meadow. Picnic table seating can be reserved through a membership in Friends of Stern Grove Festival.

  • Free shuttle service within the Grove is provided to seniors and disabled patrons and a drop-off area is located at the entrance to the park at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard. A limited number of handicapped parking spaces are available at the 19th Avenue and Slat Boulevard entrance to the park.

  • Picnics are welcome and food and drinks are available from the Grove Café. Festival merchandise and artist CDs are for sale at the Festival Shop.

  • Sigmund Stern Grove is a 33-acre recreation area with meadows, picnic facilities, hiking trails, and a lake. The audience is advised to come prepared for both sun and fog.  

  • Download Festival attendance tips here.         

  • Click here for information on how to support Stern Grove Festival.

Check out Stern Grove Festival concert videos.

More information online Stern Grove Festival, on Facebook or by calling (415) 252-6252.

Stern Grove Through the Years

  • More than six million plus people have attended
  • 750 plus performances in 75 years
  • 1847—Stern Grove site homesteaded by Alfred Greene and his wife
  • 1871—Alfred Greene’s nephew, George, plants the first eucalyptus trees
  • 1892—Alfred Greene built the “Trocadero Inn,” a suburban resort
  • 1931—Rosalie Meyer Stern purchased the Grove and gave it as a gift to the City of San Francisco in memory of her husband, Sigmund.
  • June 4, 1932—Stern Grove was dedicated
  • June 19, 1932—Gaetano Merola conducted The San Francisco Symphony: Wagner: Overture to Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg, Saint-Saens: Violin Concerto (2nd Movement) with Jascha Veissi on violin, Bizet: L’Arlesienne Suite No 2, Borodin: In the steps of Central Asia, Strauss: Blue Danube Waltz
  • 1938—Stern Grove Festival Association Founded
  • July 10th 1938—first concert of inaugural season with the Bay Region Symphony led by Walker Herbert
Media Contact:
Anne Abrams

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