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 2017 Stern Grove Festival presents its 80th Season.

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Stern Grove Festival is...


A summer celebration for the community.

An experience to share with family and friends.

A stunning venue for world-class, admission-free performances.

A place to make life-long memories.


Stern Grove Festival provides an annual season of admission-free concerts and education programs to the people of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Every summer, Stern Grove Festival takes place in Sigmund Stern Grove, a beautiful outdoor amphitheater at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco.

The Festival is presented by Stern Grove Festival Association, a non-profit cultural organization with a mission of providing admission-free access to diverse performing arts.

The Festival is for the community and made possible by the community; it is almost entirely funded by donations, raising more than $3 million a year to make free performing arts available to all.

In 2017, Stern Grove Festival will present its 80th Season.



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.




In the summer of 2017, Stern Grove Festival will present its 80th Season of admission-free concerts in San Francisco's treasured Sigmund Stern Grove.

Stern Grove was purchased by Rosalie M. Stern and given 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.  


The Renovation of Stern Grove

In 1999, Stern Grove Festival embarked on an ambitious project to completely upgrade and renovate Sigmund Stern Grove park.

The park had never undergone any major renovations since the 1930's and the facilities were out of date.

Nearly seven decades of concerts and more than six million visitors had taken their toll on Stern Grove. For many years, the park suffered from sub-standard stage and production facilities, hillside erosion,dilapidated patron amenities, and limited access for the physically challenged.

The Festival determine that, without a complete renovation, the future of this wonderful community treasure would be jeopardized.


The Vision

The vision for the renovation was inspired by three goals:

  • Create a one-of-a-kind performing arts venue with state-of-the-art features
  • Enhance and protect the natural beauty of Stern Grove
  • Endow the Festival’s mission for generations to come

Stern Grove, pre-renovation
Existing conditions

Backstage Before

The Plan

The new design would preserve the beauty and integrity of Stern Grove while creating a safe, comfortable, and sustainable environment for visitors. With the renovations, Stern Grove would become an enduring symbol of San Francisco’s diversity, culture, and natural splendor.

  • Terrace concert meadow with stonework, increasing safety, comfort, and accessibility.
  • Replace stage and backstage structures with modern facilities, including a removable fabric stage cover and state-of-the-art sound system.
  • Improve access for disabled patrons.
  • Replace inadequate restroom facilities and patron amenities.
  • Upgrade infrastructure, including utilities, irrigation and lighting.
  • Resurface trails and repair stone walls to mitigate erosion on northern hillside.
  • Create a new entry plaza at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard.



The Visionary

While attending a concert at Stern Grove Festival, the world-renowned landscape architect, the late Lawrence Halprin, sketched on a picnic napkin the beginning of what would become the masterplan for the renovation of Stern Grove.

When the time came to begin the renovation process, The Festival called on Halprin to design the improvement plan for Stern Grove. One of the world’s leading landscape architects and environmental planners, Lawrence Halprin was at the forefront of urban design innovation in the United States. His careful vision for Stern Grove respected the singular qualities of the park and its reputations as a wonderful sanctuary in the heart of the city.

Lawrence Halprin

The late Lawrence Halprin

The Process

Stern Grove is a beloved destination for concert-goers, neighborns, and park visitors. The Festival embarked on the renovation with input and involvement from the community at every step. Throughout the design and planning process, the project team held numerous public meetings and workshops where the public provided crucial feedback on priorities for improving the park.

Stern Grove Festival raised the $15 million needed to design and implement the renovation plan. The entire renovation was funded completey with private contributions, extending the Festival's legacy as a gift to the people of San Francisco.

At the final concert of the 67th Season, audience members raised their glasses and waved farewell to the old Stern Grove. On August 4, 2004, construction began on the renovation project.

On June 19, 2005, the Festival kicked off its 68th Season with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the first season in the new Stern Grove. Supervisor Bevan Dufty declared "Stern Grove Festival Day" in San Francisco and Lucinda Williams and John Doe performed under sunny skies.



Renovated Stern Grove Backstage


The Team

Lawrence Halprin
Landscape Architect

San Francisco Department of Public Works
Judi Mosqueda, Project Manager

San Francisco Recreation and Park Department

Conversion Management Associates
Project Manager

Vance Brown
General Contractor

Chad Hamilton, AIA
Hamilton + Aitken Architects

GFDS Engineers
Structural Engineer

Miller Pacific Engineering Group
Geotechnical Engineer

MHC Engineers
Mechanical/Plumbing Engineer

Richard McRee

C&N Engineers
Electrical Engineer

Nolte Associates, Inc.
Civil Engineer


Stern Grove Festival Board of Directors

Douglas E. Goldman, Chairman
Robin W. Michel, Vice Chairman
Jasone E. Goldman, Treasurer
Gregory L. Lippetz, Secretary
Elizabeth Shepherd Bourgeois
Britt A. Deyan
Barry W. Dennis
Liz Briggs Farrell
Jennifer R. Goldman
Matthew W. Goldman
David Katznelson
Jordan Kurland
Fiona Ma
Danielle Madeira
Bert Polacci
Chris Qvale
Stephen B. Ruben
Deva Santiago
Mark C. Schulze
Aaron P. Waxman



Anne Abrams
Public Relations Consultant

Joey Babbitt
Development Manager

Merylee Smith Bingham

Clyde Brehm, Jr.
Parking Manager

Amy Haltom
Outreach and Education Manager

Joseph Lafond
Operations Manager

Gabriella Mingoia
Development Assistant

Paulo Presotto
Technical Manager

Lauren Seward
Marketing and PR Assistant

Judy Tsang
Director of Programming

Monica Ware
Interim Executive Director
Director of Marketing and Public Relations

Jessica Zeidman
Director of Development



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
Jason Chan
Tom Harrison
Eric McDonnell

San Francisco Recreation and Park Department Staff

Phil Ginsburg, General Manager
Dennis Kern, Director of Operations
Eric Andersen, Superintendent of Parks & Open Spaces
Dana Ketcham, Permits & Reservations Manager
Bob Palacio, Superintendent of Neighborhood Services
David Iribarne, Park Service Area Manager
Simon Jansuk, Park Section Supervisor
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 Denise Flaherty and all the officers at Taraval Station, San Francisco Police Department.


FOH Production Assistants

Area Leaders


FOH Production Assistants

Posted March 15, 2017

Reporting Relationships:

The Front of House Production Assistants (PA) report directly to their Area Team Leader and works closely with concert patrons and volunteers.

Position Description:

Stern Grove Festival’s PA’s will be responsible for venue set-up and strike, patron services and crowd control, emergency response protocol, senior/ADA shuttle safety and operation, vendor booth set-up and strike, and any additional duties that pertain to the smooth operations of the concert venue.

 Production Assistants must be available every Sunday from June 25 through August 27, 2017. In advance of concert Sundays each Production Assistant should expect to work one Saturday, and be available on Sunday, June 11, 2017, for orientation and training day. There is potential for a limited amount of preseason advancement work before opening day.

General Duties:

  • Assist in the set-up and breakdown of infrastructure including barricades, aisles, fencing, signage, tables and bench placement
  • Promote public safety and cultivate a positive patron experience within assigned area
  • Crowd control, including maintaining clear aisle ways and emergency exit paths at all times
  • Assume position at Concert Meadow gates to assist in Concert Meadow closure
  • Assist elderly and handicapped patrons in seating and venue mobility
  • Adhere strictly to SGFA approved policies, protocols and procedures
  • Attend on-site staff meetings and execute tasks under direction from managers

Personal Characteristics:

  • Excellent communication skills and collaborative work ethic
  • Ability to handle stressful situations with diplomacy and tact
  • Ability to work quickly and efficiently in an organized and detailed fashion
  • Ability to adhere to SGFA guidelines and protocols
  • Maintain self-assurance and control during the concert day
  • Have a great sense of humor and maintain dedication to SGFA mission
  • No experience is required but a good attitude and excellent work ethic is a must

Physical Requirements:

  • Ability to lift/carry 50lbs
  • Production Assistants may experience periods of extended standing, employee must be able to remain on his or her feet in a stationary position.
  • Employee may be required to walk and climb considerable distances, including on the hillside, during the course of a work day.
  • Grasp, lift, carry, push, and pull heavy objects such as barricades, fencing, and carts.
  • Stooping, crouching and kneeling is needed to place signage throughout the Grove.
  • Listening and ability to speak is required, in a typical work day the employee will be interacting with large groups of people and they must have the ability to hear and express their ideas with spoken words.


  • SGFA Office, 832 Folsom Street Suite 1000, San Francisco 94107
  • Sigmund Stern Grove, 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard, San Francisco

Work Period and Hours:

  • Sunday, June 11 and every Sunday, June 25 through August 27, 2017 
  • Hours and schedule to be determined by mutual agreement.


Commensurate with experience.
To Apply:

Please submit the following via email to with “FOH Production Assistant” in the subject line:

  1. A cover letter
  2. Your resume
  3. Two references

Mail:   Stern Grove Festival Association
            Attn: Human Resources
            832 Folsom Street Suite 1000
            San Francisco, CA 94107                     

Please use both sides of the paper. No phone calls, please.       


Area Leaders

Posted March 20, 2017

Position Description

Stern Grove Festival’s Area Leaders will be responsible for overseeing their assigned areas in the venue and directing and assisting their respective area’s PAs with venue set-up and strike, crowd control, emergency response protocol, senior/ADA shuttle safety and operation, vendor booth set-up and strike, and any additional duties that pertain to the smooth operational functionality of their area.

Reporting Relationships

The Area Leader reports directly to the House Manager. The following positions report to the Area Leader: Production Assistants (PA’s). The Area Team Leader works closely with the Production Administrator and Operations Manager and must be available every Sunday from June 25 through August 27, 2017.

Area Leaders must be available every Sunday from June 25 to August 27, 2017. Area Leaders are required to be available on Sunday, June 11, 2017 for orientation and training day.

General Duties:

  • Manage up to four (4) PA’s within their assigned area to complete set-up and breakdown tasks of venue.
  • Work directly with concert patrons assisting in crowd control and general guest relations to promote public safety and efficient flow of daily operations.
  • Attend weekly on-site production/operations meetings for house staff and security.
  • Adhere strictly to SGFA approved policies, protocols and procedures.
  • Assist in managing PA’s pertaining to training, appearance, professionalism and performance.

Personal Characteristics:

  • Ability to work quickly and efficiently in an organized and detailed fashion.
  • Excellent communication skills and collaborative work ethic.
  • Ability to handle stressful situations with diplomacy and tact.
  • Ability to judge conditions and make quick decisions while adhering to SGFA guidelines.
  • Maintain self-assurance and control during concert day.
  • Have a great sense of humor and maintain dedication to SGFA mission.
  • Some management experience preferred but not required.

Work Period:       
Sunday, June 11, 2017 and Sundays, June 25 through August 27, 2017


  1. SGFA Office: 832 Folsom Street, Suite 1000, San Francisco
  2. Sigmund Stern Grove: 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard, San Francisco.

Wages commensurate with experience.  Paid semi-monthly.

To apply, please submit the following:

  1. A cover letter
  2. Your resume
  3. Two references

Send to:
Subject line: Area Leaders




The work environment characteristics and the physical demands described here are representative of those an employee encounters while successfully performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; and talk or hear. The employee must regularly lift and/or move up to 40 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.
The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by the incumbent in this position. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills.

The Stern Grove Festival Association is committed to diversity and welcomes applications from all individuals. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.



Stern Grove Festival staff can be reached year-round:

Stern Grove Festival Association
832 Folsom Street, Suite 1000
San Francisco, CA 94107

Phone: 415.252.6252
Fax: 415.252.6250

Questions? Comments?