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.


SGF News :: The Doobie Brothers Headline at The Big Picnic on June 14

The Doobie Brothers and The California Honeydrops

We’re excited to announce that rock legends The Doobie Brothers will perform at The Big Picnic opening day celebration at Stern Grove Festival on June 14, 2015. Local blues group The California Honeydrops will open the show.

Click here for more information about The Big Picnic.

SGF Alumni: 57th Annual GRAMMY Nominees

What do Darlene Love, Kenny Barron, Sergio Mendes, and Anoushka Shankar have in common? They’ve all performed at Stern Grove Festival and they’re all nominated for a GRAMMY this year.

We’ll be tuned into the 57th Annual GRAMMYs ceremony on Sunday to see which Festival alums will take home awards (we’ve got a lock on the Best World Music Album category, as all five of the nominees are Festival alums).

Here’s the full list of Festival alum nominees for this year’s GRAMMY’s:

Best R&B Performance
(Performed at Stern Grove Festival in 2001)
Photo by Stuart Brinin
Best R&B Album
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
(Performed at Stern Grove Festival in 2011)
Photo by Scott Wall
Best Improvised Jazz Solo
The Eye Of The Hurricane
Kenny Barron, soloist
(Performed at Stern Grove Festival in 2002)
Kenny BarronPhoto by Stuart Brinin
Best Jazz Instrumental Album
Enjoy the View
Bobby Hutcherson, David Sanborn, Joey DeFrancesco Featuring Billy Hart
(Performed at Stern Grove Festival in 1995 and 1987) 
Best Latin Pop Album
Lila Downs, Niña Pastori and Soledad
(Performed at Stern Grove Festival in 2004)
liladownsPhoto by Stuart Brinin
Best Tropical Latin Album
El Asunto
Totó La Momposina
(Performed at Stern Grove Festival in 2002)
totoPhoto by Stuart Brinin
Best World Music Album
Toumani & Sidiki
Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté
(Performed at Stern Grove Festival in 2011 with AfroCubism)
Toumani DiabatePhoto by Scott Wall
Best World Music Album

Angelique Kidjo
(Performed at Stern Grove Festival in 2010)
anqeliquekidjoPhoto by Scott Wall
Best World Music Album
Our World In Song

Wu Man, Luis Conte & Daniel Ho
(Performed at Stern Grove Festival in 2000)
danielhoPhoto by Stuart Brinin
Best World Music Album

Sergio Mendes
(Performed at Stern Grove Festival in 2014)
sergiomendesPhoto by Scott Wall
Best World Music Album
Traces Of You

Anoushka Shankar
(Performed at Stern Grove Festival in 2007)
anoushkashankarPhoto by Scott Wall
Best Classical Solo Vocal Album
Virtuoso Rossini Arias
Lawrence Brownlee
(Performed at Stern Grove Festival in 2006)
lbrownleePhoto by Scott Wall
Best Classical Compendium
Mike Marshall & The Turtle Island Quartet
(Performed at Stern Grove Festival in 2003)
Turtle Island QuartetPhoto by Stuart Brinin
Best Music Film
20 Feet From Stardom
Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer & Judith Hill, Morgan Neville, video director; Gil Friesen & Caitrin Rogers, video producers
(Performed at Stern Grove Festival in 2014)
Darlene LovePhoto by Scott Wall

SGF Playlist :: APAP NYC 2014 Picks

Posted by Judy Tsang, Director of Programming

Every January, hundreds of arts presenters, agents and artists make the trek to New York City for the Association of Performing Arts Presenters’ annual conference. It’s a great opportunity for us to meet with our colleagues from around the country. And it’s a great way to check out talented artists who might one day perform for you on the stage at Stern Grove Festival.

Here’s a playlist of some of my favorites from this year’s conference. Enjoy!

Neneh Cherry

Neneh Cherry


Postmodern Jukebox

Postmodern Jukebox