SGF News :: The Big Picnic Artists Announced

The Festival’s 77th Season will kick-off on June 22, 2014 with The Big Picnic. Smokey Robinson

Today, we are excited to announce the artists performing will be R&B legends Smokey Robinson and Patti Austin. While this will be be Patti Austin’s second time performing at Stern Grove Festival, it’s the first time we’ve had Motown great Smokey Robinson and we can’t wait to see his performance!

Smokey founded the singing group, The Miracles, as a high school student in Detroit. They were Berry Gordy’s first vocal group and brought Gordy and his fledgling Motown Records their first #1 hit on the R&B singles chart with Shop Around. In the ensuing years, Robinson served as Motown producer, talent scout and songwriter, credited for writing or co-writing such classics as My Girl, The Tracks of My Tears, I Second that Emotion, The Tears of a Clown, Ooo Baby Baby and You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me. Robinson went solo in 1972 and continued to write and produce hit singles including Just to See Her, Cruisin’ and Being with You. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, is a Kennedy Center Honoree, a member of the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, a recipient of the National Medal of Arts Award from the President of the U.S. and the Grammy Living Legend Award. Robinson will also release a duets LP later this year.

Patti AustinGrammy award-winner Patti Austin first performed at Stern Grove Festival in 1998 with opening act The Johnny Otis Show. She has made 19 solo albums, crossing all musical genres from R&B to Jazz, Pop to Big Band. She made her stage debut at age four at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem with her godmother the great Dinah Washington. During the 1970s, she was a much sought after session singer backing everyone from Paul Simon, Cat Stevens and James Brown to Joe Cocker, Bette Midler, Roberta Flack, Luther Vandross and Diana Ross. She reached a wider audience in the 1980’s as a featured performer on a series of albums with Quincy Jones including his best-selling Stuff We Like, the Grammy award-winning The Dude and From Q with Love, Volumes 1 & 2. Austin’s chart-topping hits include Do You Love Me, How Do You Keep the Music Playing and Baby Come to Me with James Ingram with whom she has recorded a soon to be released duets album.

The Big Picnic is the signature annual fundraising event benefiting Stern Grove Festival and its mission to present admission-free concerts and outreach programs to the people of the Bay Area. The concert, beginning at 2:00 pm, is admission-free and open to the public. The Big Picnic Party is a ticketed event, taking place at 11:30 a.m. prior to the concert at Stern Grove Festival.

For more information about The Big Picnic:
www.sterngrove.org/thebigpicnic