Stern Grove Festival announces its 2019 free concert lineup

This week, the Stern Grove Festival revealed the diverse lineup for its 82nd summer season, which kicks off on June 16 and will run each Sunday through August 18.

Touted as “San Francisco’s original outdoor music festival," the admission-free concert series spotlights artists ranging from jazz to hip-hop to classical to indie rock. The 10-week series takes place in the outdoor amphitheater at Sigmund Stern Grove in the Sunset, with each concert commencing at 2 p.m.

The season opener will feature Grammy-winning hip-hop trio Digable Planets, best known for their 1993 crossover hit “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat).” Oakland-based Latin hip-hop group Bang Data will open the show. 

Other notable performers spotlighted this year include Los Van Van (June 23), which is considered one of the most important bands in 20th century Cuban music, and Mitski (July 14), the Japanese-American singer-songwriter whose 2018 album Be the Cowboy was named one of the best of the year by NPR and Pitchfork. 

Banda Sin Nombre will open for Los Van Van on June 23. | Photo: Banda Sin Nombre/Facebook

Other weekends will include reggae beats with Toots and the Maytals, big-band sounds from Pink Martini and a throwback British takeover, courtesy of the Psychedelic Furs and James. The San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Ballet will both return for their annual performances. 

For families, the Festival will once again offer the Kids Days interactive arts education program, with dance lessons and other arts activities available for free with advance registration. Yoga in the Grove events will also precede each concert of the season, starting at noon.

In a change this year, the Grove's annual fundraiser, the Big Picnic Party, will take place before the final concert of the series, instead of serving as the season opener.

The party will start at noon on August 18, two hours before the final concert featuring the Isley Brothers, known for iconic hits "Shout," "Twist and Shout" and "It's Your Thing," and for a catalogue that is allegedly the most sampled in the history of hip-hop. 

The Isley Brothers. | Photo: The Isley Brothers/Facebook

Also available this year is the Picnic Table Lottery. The lottery allows members of the public to enter to win picnic-table seating for any of the concerts in the series, except for the closing performance by The Isley Brothers. Entries will be accepted through June 1.

For those who don't win a table, seats can be purchased in packages of five, with each seat running $100 (including complimentary wine, beer, water, and juices). Parking passes are available for an additional fee.

Here's the full 2019 Stern Grove Festival concert line-up:

June 16: Digable Planets, Bang Data
June 23: Los Van Van, Banda Sin Nombre
June 30: Galactic, Baby & the Luvies
July 7: San Francisco Symphony
July 14: Mitski, Madeline Kenney
July 21: Toots and the Maytals, Lee Fields and the Expressions
July 28: San Francisco Ballet
August 4: The Psychedelic Furs, James
August 11: Pink Martini, Barrio Manouche
August 18: The Isley Brothers      

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