About Stern Grove Festival
Stern Grove Festival Board of Directors
Matthew W. Goldman, Chairman
Jason E. Goldman, Vice Chairman
David Sikes, Secretary
Aaron Waxman, Treasurer
Elizabeth Shepherd Bourgeois
Ian Del Balso
Douglas E. Goldman
Jennifer R. Goldman
Robin W. Michel
Morton A. Pactor
Stephen B. Ruben
Mark C. Schulze
Stern Grove Festival Association
832 Folsom Street, Suite 1000
San Francisco, CA 94107
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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. In February 2020, Dr. Goldman retired as Chairman and his son Matthew Goldman was named the new 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 more than 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.
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.
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.
September 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.
August 22, 1943
San Francisco Ballet performs at Stern Grove Festival.
February 8, 1956
Rosalie Meyer Stern passes away.
February 15, 1956
Elise Stern Haas, Rosalie's daughter, is named Festival chairman.
San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program's first performance, Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann.
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.
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.
Rhoda Goldman, Elise S. Haas's daughter, becomes Festival chairman.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band performs for the first time at Stern Grove Festival. They performed nearly every year since then up to 1999.
Documentary on Stern Grove airs on PBS stations across the country.
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.
Rhoda Goldman passes away. Her son, Dr. Douglas E. Goldman assumes the chairmanship of the Festival.
Construction begins on the renovation of Sigmund 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.
June 24, 2012
Stern Grove Festival's celebrates its 75th Season with The Big Picnic fundraiser, featuring Anita Baker, The Family Stone and Glide Ensemble.
San Francisco Recreation and Park Department
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
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.