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The Stern Grove Festival

Large crowd at outdoor concert

The 73rd Stern Grove Festival in 2010

The biggest and brightest names in music. One festival. The Stern Grove Festival brings you live performances and a vibrant atmosphere few events can match.

A month-long celebration

The festival takes place in the summer, with a free concert taking place at the park on Sundays at 2 pm. The shows are well attended, lasting two to three hours on average.

Bring the whole gang and have a good time. There’s something for everyone at Stern Grove, with the festival presenting a diverse group of performers each year. Past performers include San Francisco Symphony, Kool & the Gang, Lucinda Williams, and Ximena Sariñana. Best of all, admission is free.

The concert series traditionally takes place in Sigmund Grove Stern, an outdoor amphitheater at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard. Founded in 1938, the festival has been providing world-class entertainment for over 80 years.

Attendees are allowed to bring their own chairs and blankets. An on-site café sells snacks and drinks, but you can bring your own food to the event. You can also bring booze to shows at the West and Concert meadows.

Bring a jacket – expect cool temperatures, with the venue being closer to the Pacific.

There are designated areas for dogs at Sigmund Stern Grove, but keep in mind that your pets won’t be allowed into the concert seating area itself. Moreover, concert-goers aren’t allowed to take photos or videos during the event.

The Big Picnic

The festival kicks off with the Big Picnic each year. This annual fundraiser takes place right before the opening concert, from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm. The opening concert is often the biggest and most exciting one in the season. Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis, so come early. Buying tickets to the Big Picnic is also one way of getting sure seats.

Proceeds from the Big Picnic will cover the festival’s expenses for the next season and help keep the event free for everyone. Support the Stern Grove Festival – the picnic gives you access to a seated party with a catered lunch menu.

The organizers also accept check donations. Click here for more information.

Better yet, sign up as a volunteer. Work behind the scenes and find out how a music festival like Stern Grove is put together. Meet new people and expand your social circles – over 800 volunteers make the festival possible each year. Individuals of all ages may join.

Get updates on the festival. Sign up for their newsletter here.

Similar events

  • Union Square Live – Catch cultural performances at Union Square from April to October.
  • Union Street Festival – Enjoy live music, delicious food, and merchant booths. The Union Street Festival opens San Francisco’s summer festival season, so don’t miss the excitement.
  • Yerba Buena Gardens Festival – Watch live performances and join cultural programs at this summer-long festival. There’s live entertainment most days of the week from May to October.
  • North Beach Street Festival – This family-friendly SF festival features great music, delectable street food, and fun activities for kids.

Click here for more SF festivals and events.