Stern Grove Festival Announces 2011 Summer Line-Up

Get ready to grab a beach chair and sixer of hefeweizen and head down to see Funky soul revivalist Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings kick off this year’s 74th annual Stern Grove Festival, an admission-free concert series featuring different performances every Sunday of the summer season.

Since 1938, the outdoor Sigmund Stern Grove amphitheater, located at 19th Ave. and Sloat Boulevard, has provided a free venue for concertgoers.

Originally purchased by Rosalie M. Stern and gifted to the city in 1931 in memory of her late husband, Sigmund, the venue was originally a tract of sand dunes and marshes until the planting of the first eucalyptus tress in the 1840s by George Greene.

Stern designated the grove on June 4, 1932 as a park to be preserved for free summer concerts, and the tradition continues today. The 2011 line-up features the characteristically eclectic mix of opera and ballet, international hits like Afrocubism, and indie pop sensation Neko Case, among others.

There’s plenty of grass to set up day camp, and there’s a reserved picnic table seating that is available to members of Friends of Stern Grove Festival. There is also a limited number of picnic table seats given out weekly through a lottery, with a household entering the chance to receive six seats at one concert per session.

Concerts begin promptly at two p.m. each Sunday, and run from  from June 19 to August 21. The Grove Café offers food with a portion of profits going to the non-profit organization running the festival. Picnics are welcome and beer and wine are permitted in the Concert Meadow and West Meadow. Pets and smoking are not permitted in the Concert area.

The San Francisco Ballet at the 2010 Stern Grove festival. Picture from <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbach">jbach</a>

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