Stern Grove Festival
832 Folsom Street, Suite 1000
San Francisco, CA 94107
Tel: 415.252.6252 Fax: 415.252.6250


Stern Grove Festival Association is a non-profit cultural organization committed to providing the people of the Bay Area with admission-free access to diverse performing arts.

Every year since 1938, the organization presents Stern Grove Festival, an admission-free performing arts series, in Sigmund Stern Grove, a beautiful outdoor amphitheater located at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco.

In 2019 Stern Grove Festival will present its 82nd Season of free concerts from June 16 through August 18, 2019.

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About Stern Grove Festival


Stern Grove Festival Association was founded in 1938 with a mission that guides the organization to this day:

  • Provide high quality performances, free of charge, for all Bay Area residents and visitors.
  • Provide paid performance opportunities for professional artists and performers.
  • Serve diverse audiences by presenting a season of varied genres and artists.
  • Enhance San Francisco's renown as a cultural center.




Stern Grove Festival Board of Directors

Douglas E. Goldman, Chairman
Matthew Goldman, Vice Chairman
Jason E. Goldman, Treasurer
David Sikes, Secretary
Elizabeth Shepherd Bourgeois
Britt A. Deyan
Jennifer R. Goldman
Erin Hastings
Melissa Hung
David Katznelson
Jordan Kurland
Fiona Ma
Danielle Madeira
Kimberlea McManigal
Robin W. Michel
Morton A. Pactor
Bert Polacci
Chris Qvale
Stephen B. Ruben
Deva Santiago
Mark C. Schulze
Aaron P. Waxman



Bob Fiedler
Executive Director


Audrey Faine
Director of Marketing


Esther Flaharty
Development Manager


Amy Haltom
Outreach and Education Manager


Joseph Lafond
Director of Operations


Judy Tsang
Director of Programming


Ilana Vasconcelos
Director of Development




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Stern Grove Festival Association
832 Folsom Street, Suite 1000
San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone: 415.252.6252
Fax: 415.252.6250


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House Manager



Rosalie M. Stern purchased Stern Grove and gave it as a gift to the City of San Francisco in 1931, in memory of her husband Sigmund, a prominent civic leader.

George Greene originally homesteaded the Grove, a tract of sand dunes and marshes, in the 1840's. The Greene family planted the first eucalyptus trees in the Grove and built the Trocadero Inn, a popular recreation spot until its closure in 1916.

Marveling at the Grove's natural acoustics, Mrs. Stern determined that the site would be preserved as a park in which the public could enjoy admission-free music, dance, and theater performances.

On June 4, 1932, Stern Grove was dedicated. Two weeks later, the San Francisco Symphony played the first concert in the Grove. Mrs. Stern, then President of the San Francisco Recreation Commission, formed the non-profit Stern Grove Festival Association in 1938, stipulating that all concerts were to be free to the public and designed for everyone's enjoyment.

Mrs. Stern chaired the Festival until her death in 1956. Her daughter, Elise Stern Haas, served as chairman until 1969; she was succeeded by her daughter, Rhoda Haas Goldman. Following Rhoda Goldman's untimely death in 1996, her son, Dr. Douglas E. Goldman, became Festival Chairman.

Today Stern Grove, a natural amphitheater surrounded by giant eucalyptus, redwood, and fir trees, is one of Northern California's favorite concert sites.

In keeping with Mrs. Stern's vision, the wide selection of performers reflects the Festival's commitment to exceptional programming and to serving diverse audiences. A beloved Bay Area tradition, every summer Sunday, family and friends gather to relax, picnic, and enjoy performances by some of the world's greatest artists in this glorious natural setting.

While Stern Grove itself is still owned and operated by the City of San Francisco, and Mrs. Stern's descendants remain actively involved, today the Festival is truly a community institution. Each year, the Festival must raise nearly $3 million to produce concerts and related outreach and education programs. Individual donors, volunteers, foundations, government agencies, and businesses provide the generous support that makes it all possible.

Stern Grove Festival has brought eight decades of the best performing arts — completely admission-free — to the people of the Bay Area. With your ongoing help, the Festival can continue for generations to come.


Festival Timeline

1847 Stern Grove site homesteaded by Alfred Greene and his wife.  

Alfred Greene's nephew, George, plants the first eucalyptus trees on the property.

April 21, 1869 Rosalie Meyer is born.  
1892 Alfred Greene builds the "Trocadero Inn", a suburban resort.  
October 3, 1892

Sigmund Stern and Rosalie Meyer marry in San Francisco, at her parents' home on the corner of Pine and Gough.


Rosalie Meyer Stern joins the San Francisco Playground Commission and, with Sigmund, begins a search for a suitable property to donate to the City for recreational purposes.

April 24, 1928

Sigmund Stern passes away.

April 14, 1931

Rosalie Meyer Stern buys the Greene family's 12 acres of land for $50,000. She names the site Sigmund Stern Grove in honor of her husband.

Sept. 16, 1931

Mrs. Stern offers the Grove to San Francisco Mayor Angelo Rossi to be used expressly for recreational activities. Renovation work begins shortly after with the architects Gardiner Daily, Bernard Maybeck, and William Gladstone Merchant.

June 4, 1932

Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove is officially dedicated by Mayor Rossi.

June 19, 1932

First official concert in Stern Grove, featuring the San Francisco Symphony, Gaetano Merola conducting.


Stern Grove Festival Association is founded to present "a summer series that is distinctly a forward mark in newness, "designed to educate and entertain the public."

July 10, 1938 First summer concert of the first Stern Grove Festival, performed by the Bay Region Symphony of the Federal Music Project. The first season ran every Sunday until September 25 (12 programs) and the San Francisco Symphony performed twice.  
Aug. 22, 1943 San Francisco Ballet performs at Stern Grove Festival.  
Feb. 8, 1956 Rosalie Meyer Stern passes away.  
Feb. 15, 1956 Elise Stern Haas, Rosalie's daughter, is named Festival chairman.


1959 San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program's first performance, Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann.  
1963 The Festival celebrates its 25th Anniversary Season with a performance by the San Francisco Symphony. Ansel Adams, in the audience that day, takes a series of photographs of the Grove.


1966 First jazz concert in the Grove, with Turk Murphy, John Handy, Rudy Salvini, and Vince Guaraldi. The performance was taped and televised nationally on the Bell Telephone Hour in 1967.  
1968 Rhoda Goldman, Elise S. Haas's daughter, becomes Festival chairman.


1969 Preservation Hall Jazz Band performs for the first time at Stern Grove Festival. They performed nearly every year since then up to 1999.  
July 15, 1979 Pete Seeger appears at Stern Grove Festival.  
1980 Documentary on Stern Grove airs on PBS stations across the country.  
1987 The Festival celebrates its 50th Anniversary Season.  
July 22, 1990 Isaac Stern performs with the San Francisco Symphony at Stern Grove in celebration of his 70th birthday. Mstislav Rostropovich performs in a tutu.  
1996 Rhoda Goldman passes away. Her son, Dr. Douglas E. Goldman assumes the chairmanship of the Festival.  
Aug. 12, 2001 Tabla Beat Science World Premiere featuring Zakir Hussain, Ustad Sultan Khan and more. The show is recorded and released on PALM records.  
Aug. 3, 2003 Oliver Mtukudzi performs and Bonnie Raitt joins him onstage for a song.  
Aug. 15, 2004 John Hammond performs at the last concert before the renovation.  
Aug. 1, 2004 Construction begins on the renovation of Sigmund Stern Grove.  
June 2, 2005 The Festival's inaugural gala is held in Stern Grove.  
June 19, 2005

Stern Grove Festival kicks off its 68th Season with the opening of the newly renovated Sigmund Stern Grove with a concert featuring Lucinda Williams and John Doe.

Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Supervisor Bevan Dufty declares "Stern Grove Festival Day" in San Francisco.



July 10, 2005 Khaled performs with surprise guest artist Carlos Santana.  
June 24, 2012 Stern Grove Festival's 75th Season kicks off with The Big Picnic, featuring Anita Baker, The Family Stone and Glide Ensemble.  



San Francisco Recreation and Park Department

McLaren Lodge
501 Stanyan Street
San Francisco, CA 94117

A longtime partner of Stern Grove Festival, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department's mission is to provide enriching recreational activities, maintain beautiful parks, and preserve the environment for the well-being of our diverse community.

Stern Grove Festival is a collaboration with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and Commission.

San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission

Mark Buell, President
Allan Low, Vice President
Kat Anderson
Gloria Bonilla
Tom Harrison
Larry Mazzola
Eric McDonnell

San Francisco Recreation and Park Department Staff

Phil Ginsburg, General Manager
Eric Andersen, Superintendent of Parks & Open Spaces
Robert Muhammad, Park Service Area Manager
Brandon Young, Park Section Supervisor
Dennis Kern, Director of Operations
Dana Ketcham, Permits & Reservations Manager
Bob Palacio, Superintendent of Neighborhood Services
Marcus Santiago, Head Park Patrol Officer
Andrew Sharkey, Park Section Captain

Click here for information on renting facilities at Stern Grove for a wedding or event.

Stern Grove Festival thanks the residents of the Sunset and Parkside neighborhoods for their cooperation and support. Special thanks, also, to Captain Nicholas Rainsford and all the officers at Taraval Station, San Francisco Police Department.


Presented in Partnership With

San Francisco Recreation and Parks


Major Sponsors

Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund

Grants for the Arts  


Hewlett Foundation


 Levis Strauss Foundation


 John and Marcia Goldman Foundation


Supporting Sponsors

 NEA Wells Fargo Walter and Elisa Haas Fund
Kaiser Permanente Parkmerced   Osher Foundation



Sonoma County   Dodge and Cox


The Big Picnic Sponsors

   Wells Fargo att
Bingham, Osborn & Scarborough, LLC     Capital Group
Andersen Tax   Atel Foundation   Seiler   Bay Hills Capital
Congregation Emanu-El      Regis Management Company    Recology


Media Sponsors

SF Examiner  SF Weekly KPIX KBCW


In-Kind Sponsors

Premier Wine Sponsor


 First Data
Anchor Brewing
Jiva Creative
Clear Com
RX Bar
 Office Yoga


Bissap Baobab
California Percussion
Crystal Geyser Water Company
Flow Hydration
Hinman and Carmichael
Hunt Littlefield
Jones Day LLP
Kind Bars
Liam Mayclem
Saint Frank Coffee
S.F. Recreation & Park Department
S.F. Recreation & Park Department Nursery
Sound on Stage
Sunrise Deli
Trader Joe's
VMG Partners




News & Media



SF Chronicle: Stern Grove Kicks Out the Fog and Kicks off Sizzling 81st Summer Season

7/3/18   Oakland Magazine: Interview with Festival Executive Director Bob Fiedler
5/1/18   Stern Grove Festival Announces 81st Season of Free Concerts


Stern Grove Festival Announces The Big Picnic on June 17, 2018

Stern Grove Festival Appoints New Executive Director, Bob Fiedler





Photographs of Stern Grove Festival are available to authorized press representatives.

Please contact: Monica Ware at


About Stern Grove Festival

Mission Statement




Keep up to date, go behind the scenes and learn more about the Festival on our blog.