Stern Grove Festival celebrates 80th season

The San Francisco Symphony photographed during a previous Stern Grove Festival – courtesy Stern Grove Festival

The Stern Grove Festival, San Francisco’s traditional summer celebration of music and dance, opens at Sigmund Stern Grove on Sunday, June 25, this year celebrating its 80th season. The line-up features some favorite artists making a return visit, as well as a host of others, some of whom will be performing original pieces commissioned by the Festival for this event.

Kool and the Gang

There is, as ever, a wonderfully diverse range of artists – from R&B group Kool & The Gang, to Eric Burdon with his powerful and distinctive voice, and the Malian and African music of Amadou & Mariam. Ibibio Sound Machine presents its combination of West African funk, disco, modern post-punk and electro music and  there’s R&B and reggae group WAR.


R&B and reggae group WAR

Moon Hooch are known for their dance-oriented percussion- and saxophone-based music;  the Kev Choice Ensemble has a repertoire ranging from classical to jazz, as well as soul, rock and hip-hop;  and Mavis Staples has been performing a repertoire which includes gospel, soul, folk, pop, R&B, blues, rock and hip-hop over the past 60 years.

Latin music comes from Mexican group Los Ángeles Azules, exponents of Colombian cumbia music, who are are joined by singer, songwriter and fellow countryman Jay de la Cueva, by Ximena Sariñana – also from Mexico – and the Brazilian Girls, with their combination of reggae, jazz and bossa nova.

Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco

Local artists include Oakland-based Quinn DeVeaux, with his offering of R&B, modern soul and blues, and Fantastic Negrito – also from Oakland – the blues guitarist and singer who won this year’s GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Blues Album for his debut release The Last Days of Oakland. Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers bring back memories of the music of California in the 70s with their blend of rock, country, blues and folk. The Stone Foxes have their own particular style of rock, contributing to the Summer of Love anniversary being celebrated in San Francisco this season, Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco celebrate their 25th anniversary this season, and there’s Malo – a San Francisco-based group led by vocalist Arcelio Garcia Jr and guitarist Jorge Santana.

Fantastic Negrito

And for those whose passions in life are the classics and ballet, we have the Festival’s two classical partners – the San Francisco Symphony, and San Francisco Ballet.

On July 9, the Symphony, led by Director of Summer Concerts, Edwin Outwater, presents a program of popular works, with guest artists soprano Jana McIntyre and baritone Hadleigh Adams. It includes selections from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, his Jupiter Symphony, music from Bizet’s Carmen, an arrangement – by Edwin Outwater – of Edith Piaf songs, and Ravel’s lovely La Valse. Conductor Outwater will be taking part in the pre-concert Artist Talk at Stern Grove’s Trocadero Clubhouse at 12:00 noon.

San Francisco Ballet will perform works from its classical and contemporary repertoire

San Francisco Ballet – Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson – performs a mix of classical and contemporary works from its current repertoire on July 30, and members of the company will also be participating in the Artist Talk at 12:00 noon in the Trocadero Clubhouse prior to the performance.

The Stern Grove Festival concerts are all admission free. Taking place at Sigmund Stern Grove, corner 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard, they run every Sunday, from June 25 to August 27, and start at 2:00 pm. For more information, visit the Stern Grove Festival website.

Source:  Stern Grove Festival

All photographs courtesy of Stern Grove Festival

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