Quinn DeVeaux with “Down in the Grove” Commission

If you ask any one of our Festival patrons at random, chances are that they’ve been attending admission-free concerts at Stern Grove Festival for years — maybe even decades. The same goes for many of our local performers like singer/songwriter Quinn DeVeaux, the opening act for this summer’s Big Picnic Concert, who returns to the Grove.

“Playing at Stern Grove is such a pleasure. I’m happy to be doing it again,” says Quinn. “I love performing with trees — it’s like you have an extra thousand audiences members.”

Since his 2011 performance at the Grove, DeVeaux has released not one, but two albums that perfectly express his old-timey soul and blue beat music – but with a modern kick. He’s bound to play a number of these tunes at his upcoming performance when he opens for Kool & the Gang at Stern Grove Festival’s Big Picnic Concert on June 25, as well as his brand new, never-before-heard song, “Down in the Grove”, produced as part of this season’s Local Artist Commission Series.

We met with Quinn to hear about his life as a musician in the Bay Area and his creative process behind the new piece, as well as learn what inspires him as a musician and what has helped craft his sound since his last Stern Grove Festival performance.

“I continue to be influenced by the amazing musicians around me,” says Quinn. “New stuff blows through me and I catch some it and meld it into my style. I’ve started to explore more funky rhythms and slower tunes. I’ve gotten very much into Bill Withers and his churning groove-based songs. Also Al Green, and that smooth haunting quality he has.  I turn it all into Blue Beat!”

Watch the below interview to learn all about Mr. Quinn DeVeaux, set on the foreground of “Shame”, a new song off his upcoming record. Stay tuned to the end to hear a clip of the unfinished “Down in the Grove”.

RSVP for this admission-free concert on Facebook and learn more at sterngrove.org.

Interplay – Midtown Social

Following Stern Grove Festival’s founding mission to support local artists, for the second season in a row the Festival presents ten brand new works of art as part of our local artist commission series, “Interplay: In Concert with Nature”.

When we first invited local SoMa-based “California soul” band Midtown Social to participate in this season’s commission series, they hit the ground running. Bouncing ideas off each other, the nine-piece group came up with “Home”, a dreamy hit with heavy bass and percussion that draws various aspects of nature to mind. It’s a perfect match with what Stern Grove Festival represents: an eclectic mix of sounds coming together in harmony with the outdoors.

“We’ve been asked to do commissions before”, says Midtown Social drummer, RJ Julia. “But this is really fantastic because we get to interpret a beautiful space and what it means to us as a collective.”

Watch below for a preview of the song and to learn more about Midtown Social and their creative process.

Catch Midtown Social on Sunday, June 19th for the debut of “Home” when the group opens for Janelle Monáe and we kick off the Festival’s 79th Season!

Midtown Social is: Aaron Joseph (Keys, Lead Vocals), Kisura Nyoto (Lead Vocals), RJ Julia (Drums), Rory Matthews (Guitar), Sarah Rice (Bass), Adam Rubinger (Percussion), Lydia Eyssallenne (Violin), Whitney Moses (Backing Vocals), and Teddy Raven (Saxophone/Flute).