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.


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.

#GivingTuesday: A New Tradition

My Giving Story

Joey Babbitt

By Joey Babbitt
Community Affairs Manager

VolunteersBeing the volunteer coordinator at Stern Grove Festival has been one of the most joyful experiences in my life. I am ashamed to admit that prior to taking this job, I had maybe volunteered once or twice in high school. However, my life changed when I was offered the job and I decided that, in order to better understand what it means to be a good volunteer manager, I would “research” volunteering. I started volunteering with One Brick, the San Francisco SPCA, and a few other local organizations. Volunteering connected me to my community in a way I had never felt before. I was working with like-minded individuals, supporting causes that I cared about, helping organizations fulfill their missions, and becoming a more satisfied and happier person. Each individual who volunteers at Stern Grove Festival has their own reason, and I am constantly inspired by their dedication and stories.

Today, volunteering is one of my favorite hobbies and subjects to talk about (I just became a volunteer ambassador for The San Francisco Bike Coalition, so I literally get to expound on the benefits of volunteering). I strive to improve Stern Grove Festival’s volunteer program, including expanding off-season volunteer activities, which is why I am so proud that we are participating in #GivingTuesday.

#GivingTuesday – A new tradition of generosity

Join the Movement
#GivingTuesday was created in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. The movement was developed as a counter to the focus on consumer spending that accompanies the launch of the holiday shopping season on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Anyone who has witnessed the madness of a 2 a.m. stampede at the mall on Black Friday can tell you that often lost during the “giving season” is the true meaning and spirit of giving.Rather than focus on more spending and buying, #GivingTuesday encourages individuals to engage in philanthropic action on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It doesn’t matter whether you give your time, your money or your voice; #GivingTuesday is a day to acknowledge and celebrate the spirit of giving back to the community.

This #GivingTuesday, on December 2, 2014, Stern Grove Festival is organizing a day of volunteering at Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove. We are inviting community partners, neighbors, and supporters to participate in park beautification activities. Working with San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, volunteers will clear creek beds, weed invasive plant species, prune trees and bushes, and help spruce up this treasured park. It’s a great way to get outside, enjoy the park, meet new people, and give something back to celebrate the spirit of giving.

And, who knows, maybe volunteering can become your newest hobby!


Ben L’Oncle Soul returns to Stern Grove Festival this Sunday, Aug 10, as a guest of Monophonics

Some of you may remember the stellar performance by Ben L’Oncle Soul during Stern Grove Festival’s 74th Season. If you missed it, check out the video here for a glimpse of this French soul star.

We’re excited that Ben will return to Stern Grove Festival as a guest of our local friends, Monophonics on Sunday, August 10. Monophonics is just back from a European tour with Ben and we’re thrilled to welcome them home with this show! Monophonics will hit the stage at 2 p.m., followed by the legendary Darlene Love. Don’t miss it!

“20 Feet From Stardom” Ticket Give-Away

Our frfacebookheader_20feetiends at the historic Balboa Theatre are screening the Oscar-winning documentary, 20 Feet From Stardom, featuring the one and only Darlene Love.

After the movie, enjoy an acoustic set in the lobby with local all-girl group, The She’s. At the theater, you can also enter to win two VIP seats to Darlene Love‘s concert on August 10 at Stern Grove Festival.

The Festival is giving away three pairs of tickets to the movie. We’ll announce the winners on our Facebook page on Wednesday, August 6.

And don’t miss Darlene Love, headlining the concert on Sunday, August 10 at Stern Grove Festival!

Enter to win tickets to the movie screening here: https://a.pgtb.me/WGkgDR.

Click here for Darlene Love’s interview on KQED Forum.



News :: Grove on the Road – coming to a neighborhood near you!

Grove on the Road

Thanks to a grant from The Irvine Foundation and The San Francisco Foundation, Stern Grove Festival is launching a brand new event, Grove on the Road, this spring.

Grove on the Road is a new mobile, pop-up arts and community event, bringing the Festival experience to neighborhoods around the city. Grove on the Road will feature admission-free performances by local artists, hands-on arts workshops, and more.

We’ll be kicking off Grove on the Road on May 4 at Sunday Streets/Bayview with a concert featuring The Family Crest.

On May 17, Grove on the Road makes its way to Cleveland Elementary in the Excelsior neighborhood.

More dates this spring and fall will be announced soon!

News :: Love is Coming to Stern Grove Festival this Summer!

We couldn’t wait until May 1 to tell you!Darlene Love

Hot on the heels of 20 Feet from Stardoms Oscar win for Best Documentary on Sunday night, we are excited to announce that the film’s star and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Darlene Love, will perform this summer at the Grove on August 10.

We hope you’ll join us for the concert to experience her powerhouse vocals and amazing energy.

P.S. You can reserve picnic table seats now for this concert by becoming a Member of Friends of Stern Grove Festival today!