New Works Debut this Summer with “Interplay: In Concert with Nature”

A series of artist commissions returns this summer at Stern Grove Festival

Part of Stern Grove Festival’s founding mission is to provide paid performing opportunities for local artists. The Festival is also a place for local artists to connect and interact with their community in an intimate and admission-free setting.

This summer, Stern Grove Festival continues this legacy with its local artist commission series. Ten local artists performing this summer will debut new works during the 79th Season. Using the the theme, “Interplay: In Concert with Nature” as a point of departure, artists will craft these new works inspired by the unique “interplay” between performance, nature, and the audience.

Fans can look forward to new works in hip-hop music and dance, funk, Afro-Colombian, synth pop, and more from the following local artists:

Keep up with the Festival’s blog and connect with us on Facebook for a glimpse behind the scenes as the artists work on these new pieces.


Midtown Social






Mix’d Ingrdnts


Golden State Breakers


John Brothers Piano Company


La Misa Negra

MJ's Brass Boppers

MJ’s Brass Boppers




Astronauts, etc.

Playlist :: Stern Grove Festival’s 79th Season Line-Up

Welcome to Stern Grove Festival’s 79th season! This year, the admission-free concert line-up features some big names like king of funk George Clinton, the GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY-winning Julieta Venegas, and the Bay Area’s own groundbreaking hip hop collective Hieroglpyhics. These major artists are accompanied by a ring of impressive local performers, from the Mission District’s nightclub-turned-big-band, Afrolicious, to the swinging styles of John Brothers Piano Company, who got their start (literally) in train stations and on street corners around the Bay Area.

“Aside from the diversity and world class talent that we’ll be having on our stage this summer, I’m proud that we’re highlighting local artists each week,” says Judy Tsang, Director of Programming for Stern Grove Festival. “The Bay Area is full of talent and we should all get to know and support the artists who live here.”

In addition to the artists and bands shared in the 79th Season’s Spotify Playlist below are three incredible dance groups: the world-famous San Francisco Ballet (performing 7/31), the all-girl dance group Mix’d Ingrdnts (7/3), and the b-boys of the Golden State Breakers (7/3).

Please visit Stern Grove Festival’s concert page for a complete list of and further information on the performing artists of the 79th season, or visit any of the Artist Pages below:

June 19
Janelle Monáe
Midtown Social

June 26
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic

July 3
Mix’d Ingrdnts
Golden State Breakers

July 10
San Francisco Symphony

July 17
Joan Osborne’s Soul Revue
John Brothers Piano Company

July 24
Julieta Venegas
La Misa Negra

July 31
San Francisco Ballet

August 7
The O’Jays
MJ’s Brass Boppers

August 14
ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor feat Jamie Lidell, Luke Jenner, Money Mark, Sinkane, and more

August 21
The New Pornographers
Astronauts, etc.

Backstage :: Monophonics


Monophonics at Stern Grove Festival on Sunday, August 10, at 2 p.m.

Over the past seven years, Monophonics have staked their claim as one of the west coast’s premier bands. Raised amid the rich musical culture of San Francisco, Monophonics has proudly carried on the tradition of music native to their hometown, which flourished during the birth of funk music and psychedelic soul.

Psychedelic Soul, sometimes called Black Rock, is a sub-genre of Soul music, combining soul with psychedelic rock. It came to prominence in the late 1960s and continued into the 1970s, playing a major role in the development of soul and funk music. Monophonics were formed in 2005 as an instrumental ensemble, but in the last two years their sound has evolved to encompass vocally driven songs.

Below is an interview we conducted with Monophonics bass player Myles O’Mahony.


Are there any psych soul bands that you find yourselves listening to lately?
Orgone and Ben L’Oncle Soul, among others. There are so many great bands developing and growing out of this scene.

What is your favorite San Francisco venue? Restaurant? Neighborhood?
Venue – The Fillmore, aside from the great history, it’s just a good place to see a show and has been a dream of mine/ours to play at there since we were young. In doing so recently, it only fortified my feelings for the place.

Restaurant – There is a lot of good food in SF but a birthday tradition of mine is Little Star Pizza on Divisadero. That place is hard to beat.

Neighborhood – The Mission is one of the more vibrant neighborhoods of the city and tends to be the general go-to.

What made you make the jump from an instrumental ensemble to a vocally-driven band?
Transitioning from an instrumental outfit into being a predominately vocal lead band was something I think we all wanted from the beginning. It just took time to first build a feel as a group of musicians then take the time to find the right singer. We were lucky to find as good a fit as Kelly, who really was the missing link we needed to grow into our own as a band.

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Playlist :: Rufus Wainwright and Quartet San Francisco

Playlist of the Week #6

When life gets too hectic, when the world has got you down, good music can always be found.

This Playlist of the Week is inspired by the grooves and tunes of both a man who has been voted the best voice of our generation, acclaimed singer/songwriter, Rufus Wainwright, and our very own Quartet San Francisco. Listen below and get excited for this weekend, because this Sunday’s concert is, as always, admission-free. Click here to learn more about the artists, as well as the rest of the season’s lineup.


Rufus Wainwright and Quartet San Francisco

Backstage :: Yuna


Yuna performs at Stern Grove Festival on Sunday, June 29, at 2 p.m.

In a remarkably short period of time, Yuna has risen from regional D.I.Y. notoriety to full-on international stardom.  In the process, the charismatic young singer-songwriter from Malaysia—who makes her Verve Records debut with Nocturnal—has become the first artist from her homeland to conquer the American market.

The ease with which Yuna has transitioned to border-defying mainstream success shouldn’t be surprising, considering the effortlessly universal appeal of her organic blend of contemporary pop, acoustic folk and soulful R&B.  The artist’s personally charged songs are deeply felt yet melodically irresistible, combining her engaging voice and expressive songcraft with imaginative production to create distinctive music that’s won her comparisons with the likes of Feist, Adele and Norah Jones.

Read on for our interview with Yuna, and keep your eye open this week for other Yuna-related blog items, such as our Playlist of the Week and videos of her past performances.

SGF:  What has been your favorite performance to date?

It would probably be my show in Kuala Lumpur performing with the Malaysian National Symphony Orchestra. It was just amazing to hear my music being accompanied with an orchestra. It was surreal.

SGF:  How does it feel being the first Malaysian singer-songwriter to stake a claim in the American music industry?

I feel honored whenever people say that about me. I’m truly grateful to all the people who have helped me become a better person and a better artist all these years. I guess when people say I’ve made it because I’m making music out here, as an artist I see America as one of the many countries that I could go to and explore my creativity.

SGF:  Where and when was your first public performance? Did you know at that point that you wanted to be a singer?

It was at my hometown Subang Jaya, when a really good friend of mine had organized an event and added my name to his flyer. I was so nervous and couldn’t believe I was going to perform. I really just thought that it was going to be a one-time thing. So no, I had no idea if I was going to be a singer.

SGF:  As an observer of the Muslim faith, how do you feel about the immodesty of many of today’s performing artists, many your same age?

I think even if I was a different person, I would still think immodesty is not for me. I think a lot and I try to educate myself about the current situation involving girls and sex trafficking…so as an artist, as a woman, I would like to show a different kind of example to younger girls regardless of their background. You don’t need to portray yourself as a sex object to make music.