Meet Your Office Yoga Instructor: Michelle McManus

Every Sunday this summer, Stern Grove Festival presents a free yoga class in the West Meadow, thanks to our friends at Office Yoga. This Sunday’s class will be led by instructor Michelle McManus, from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. before the concert with Ziggy Marley & Jennifer Johns. Get to know Michelle and what you can expect from the class this week.

Sessions are beginner and kid friendly. Spare mats available at a first come, first serve basis.

Michelle McManusHow did you start teaching yoga? 

I went through an awful break-up, and at the time, the only thing I knew that I loved to do was practice yoga. I ended up in Stephanie Snyder’s class at Urban Flow serendipitously and by the end of class I knew I had to sign up for her teacher training. After which everything just clicked!

Why yoga? Why not Zumba? Or TRX? 

I practice both yoga and TRX! They are excellent parallels and really support each discipline. Yoga is my first love, though, for the sake of the sacred texts. The sacred texts are the guiding factors to the physical practice of yoga, and they have improved my life beyond description. For a type-A rule follower, they provide just the right amount of guidance, and freedom, in my life.

What do you LOVE MOST about teaching yoga? 

I love the a-ha moments. As soon as a student locks into a pose, or takes a huge sigh, or just softens a little bit more… You can see they’ve found refuge. It’s such a magical moment!

What do you LOVE MOST about teaching Office Yoga? 

Office Yogis are the BEST. They’re always smiling and excited to practice.

What can Stern Grove Festival Yogis expect from your class? 

Movement, breath work, and most importantly, fun times. I’m a high energy teacher—I’ll be sure to perk you up before Ziggy Marley, that’s for sure!

Anything else you would like to share? 

My spirit food is Swiss Chard.

Festival Fashion with Macy’s and Girl and the Bay Blogger Mandana Ansari

Macy'sJoin us at the Impulse Department at Macy’s Union Square on Thursday, June 21 for a shopping party and check out the latest in festival fashion with local blogger Mandana Ansari of Girl and the Bay. Enjoy sips and sweets plus great gift-with-purchase treats!

While you’re there, enter for a chance to win* reserved picnic table seats and parking for you and five of your friends at Stern Grove Festival’s July 1st concert featuring M. Ward and Thao and the Get Down Stay Down.


*No purchase necessary to enter. See store for complete details.

Announcing the Food Truck Line Up for the Summer

Calling all Festival Foodies!

This summer, Stern Grove Festival is rolling in local food trucks every Sunday to round out your picnic in the Grove.

Phat Thai

From samosas to sundaes, falafel to chicken and waffles, tacos to Thai, there’s something to tempt your palate. Stop by the West Meadow at every concert for an array of tasty treats!

You can also visit Tante’s in the Esplanade for classic festival fare like garlic fries, burgers, chicken skewers, and more.


Here’s the food truck line-up for this summer:

June 17, 2018
Curry Up Now, The Waffle Roost, Frozen Kuhsterd

June 24, 2018
Little Green Cyclo, Caribbean Spices, Cochinita, Frozen Kuhsterd

July 1, 2018
Sajj Mediterranean, El Porteño, Humphry Slocombe

July 8, 2018
Phat Thai, Cochinita, Frozen Kuhsterd

July 15, 2018
The Waffle Roost, Curry Up NowTaqueria Angelica’s

July 22, 2018
Sajj Mediterranean, El Porteño

July 29, 2018
Curry Up Now, J-Shack, Frozen Kuhsterd

August 5, 2018
Caribbean Spices, El Porteño, Humphry Slocombe

August 12, 2018
Curry Up Now, J-Shack, Papalote

August 19, 2018
Sajj Mediterranean, The Chairman, Humphry Slocombe

Food trucks are subject to change.

New This Summer – Free Yoga Classes at the Grove

Yoga at the Grove
Every Sunday at Stern Grove Festival

This summer, Stern Grove Festival is excited to announce a new series of free on-site yoga classes, provided by local business Office Yoga.

Office Yoga Building off the Festival’s belief that the arts help strengthen our community, Office Yoga will provide a fun, active opportunity for people to connect with each other, nature, and themselves. Yoga classes in the natural beauty of the Grove are a perfect way to strengthen minds, bodies, and our community. And, as with all of the Festival’s programs, the classes are completely admission-free to the public.

Initially, Festival Executive Director Bob Fiedler approached Office Yoga to develop a plan for Festival staff to help ease stress in the whirlwind of activity leading up to the season. When Maryam Sharifzadeh, CEO of Office Yoga, met with Bob to develop a plan for the staff, they also saw an opportunity to provide free yoga classes for Stern Grove Festival attendees.

Maryam says, “I believe in Stern Grove Festival’s mission of providing affordable events for residents and visitors of San Francisco while also maintaining the cultural reputation of this city. I’m humbled to be collaborating with such a historic event and enhancing the on-site experience through yoga.”

Festival staff have benefited already from Maryam’s stress-relieving classes in our office. We’re excited to collaborate with Maryam and the entire Office Yoga team to share yoga with Festival audiences this summer.


When are the classes?

Yoga classes will be held from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. before each Sunday concert, June 17 – August 19, 2018.

Where are the classes?

The West Meadow at Stern Grove Festival.

Who teaches the classes?

Classes will be taught by certified Office Yoga Instructors and other reputable teachers in the Bay Area:

June 17: Brandi Zorzy

June 24: Michelle McManus

July 1: Raquel Seeley

July 8: Cindy Raspillar

July 15: Neil Wadhawan

July 22: Chelseah Healey & Ege Sanli

July 29: Martin Scott & Ege Sanli

August 5: Betsy Peterson

August 12: Charlotte Birkett

August 19: Maryam Sharifzadeh


Who can participate?

  • Anyone! No prior experience is necessary and all levels and ages are welcome.

What do I need to bring?

  • Please bring your own yoga mat if you can. A limited number of yoga mats will be provided.
  • Comfortable clothes and water.




SGF Playlist :: WOMEX 2015 Highlights

Posted by Judy Tsang, Director of Programming

During my recent travels, I made a stop at this year’s WOMEX conference in Budapest. Every year, WOMEX brings artists, agents, artist managers, and arts presenters from all over the world together; this year, WOMEX hosted over 2,500 delegates from 90 countries over five days of workshops, networking, and band showcases. There are always new and exciting bands to discover (and re-discover) at the conference. Here is a playlist and videos of some of my favorites from this year’s conference.


Three sisters from Israel who combine Yemenite folk singing with electronic dance music.

Tritha Electric
Funk- and rock-infused band fronted by Bengali singer/guitarist Tritha Sinha.

Artist Talk with Talib Kweli and Davey D

Artist Talk with Talib Kweli and Davey D

Talib Kweli and Davey D

Hip-hop artist Talib Kweli gave a pre-concert Artist Talk at Stern Grove Festival on August 16, 2015. Led by KPFA radio host Davey D, the interview explores Kweli’s activism and involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement, his collaboration with legendary MC Rakim, and the challenges of making music as an independent artist. Listen to the interview below.

National Volunteer Week

Joey Babbitt

By Joey Babbitt
Community Affairs Manager

Volunteering offers something for everyone, and a chance to give back to your community in endless ways. As a volunteer I have painted houses with Habitat for Humanity, cooked lasagna for Larkin Street Youth Services, and played with puppies at the SPCA!

At Stern Grove Festival, volunteers do everything from park beautification projects (we have a team from Twitter coming out on Friday this week) to managing the information booth at each concert. If you come to a concert and need assistance, you will most likely be speaking with a volunteer. In fact, as I write this, there is a volunteer in our administrative office helping us put together our spring mailing so that we can announce the 78th Season!

This week is National Volunteer Week and an opportunity to thank everyone who donates their time to support their community. As the volunteer coordinator, I am eternally grateful for the over 500 individuals who donate more than 3,500 hours to help Stern Grove Festival run smoothly and successfully. From corporate groups to retirees, each person contributes their time and skills to make sure that we can present admission-free concerts year after year.


Festival volunteers, Lydia and Cherry

Lydia and Cherry began volunteering with the Festival in middle school in order to fulfill their school credit requirements. More than ten years later, these girls are two of my most dedicated volunteers. They come to every concert and manage the volunteer booth.

When I asked each of them what they enjoy most about working at the Festival, they said almost the same exact thing: “I really enjoy the people I get to interact and work with!” “Everyone there is super friendly and approachable! It’s great to meet new people from diverse backgrounds that I wouldn’t normally have the chance to converse with and be able to connect with them through a common love for the Festival.”

When I asked what their favorite Festival memory is, they also had the same answer (these girls make me so happy): “All the moments at the Festival are my favorite memories!” Lydia elaborated, “I’m just glad that I’ve met so many awesome people through volunteering and I cherish the memories we have all created together.”

Volunteering is a great way to meet like-minded friends, or to bond with current friends while helping support the Festival. Stern Grove Festival would not be possible without the dedication and enthusiasm of people like Cherry and Lydia.

I encourage you to get involved this summer and support your Festival by volunteering. The volunteer registration form will be available on May 1. See you at the Grove!

SGF Playlist :: SXSW 2015 Highlights

Posted by Judy Tsang, Director of Programming

The annual South by South West conference in Austin is a jam-packed six-day whirlwind of great music, great barbecue, and a great time to meet with agents, colleagues, and discover new musical finds.

Here’s a playlist of some of my favorites from this year’s SXSW conference. I hope you discover something you like, too!

Celebrating Rosalie Meyer Stern and Women’s History Month

Rosalie Meyer Stern

Rosalie Meyer Stern

Joey Babbitt

By Joey Babbitt
Community Affairs Manager

March is Women’s History Month and a fitting time to celebrate all of the amazing women who have made Stern Grove Festival the best admission-free concert series in San Francisco. When I first began working at the Festival in 2010, I was inspired by the sheer number of women involved in producing the concerts year after year. Though women are typically under-represented in music production, at Stern Grove Festival women lead in programming, marketing, stage managing, and other areas. I am constantly motivated by all of their ideas, energy, and commitment to accessible performing arts.

But Stern Grove Festival would not have even existed without the vision and determination of one woman in particular: Rosalie Meyer Stern.

The founder of Stern Grove Festival, Rosalie had a lifelong passion for charitable service and the arts. Her dedication to her responsibilities, including helping to raise her six younger siblings, cultivated Mrs. Stern’s gracious sensibility and work ethic. “How many of us make good resolutions but how few have the energy and strength of mind to carry them into execution,” she wrote in her diary in 1895.

She was known as someone who delighted in sharing her ideas and solving problems. From helping to establish the San Francisco Opera Association with Gaetano Merola, to an appointment with the American Red Cross (one of only three women in the country), Mrs. Stern demonstrated her charitable nature. At a time when the country was mired in the Great Depression, she possessed the intelligence and fortitude to lift up the community around her by making the joy of the arts accessible to all (while supporting local working musicians), when she purchased Stern Grove and gave it as a gift to the city.

Sigmund Stern Grove and Stern Grove Festival are living memorials to Mrs. Stern’s passion for philanthropy, art, recreation, and her beloved city of San Francisco. Today, Mrs. Stern’s legacy is palpable every Sunday at Stern Grove Festival. You see it in the families that bring their picnic to a concert, you hear it in the musicians who perform on the stage, and you feel it when you soak in the natural beauty of the Grove. The Festival’s mission still reflects her desire, articulated nearly 80 years ago, to produce “a summer series that is distinctly a forward mark in newness, designed to educate and entertain the public.”

Mrs. Stern was a woman with a generous spirit and clarity of vision and purpose, whose legacy inspires me every day.

As the world celebrates Women’s History Month, what women inspire you?

You can also read more about Stern Grove Festival’s history on our website.