Psychedelic Furs, Mitski, and Toots & the Maytals All Play the Stern Grove Festival

The 82nd annual series of free summer concerts picks up on Sunday, June 16, with Digable Planets and Bang Data.

Lee Fields (Stern Grove Festival)

The Stern Grove festival, San Francisco’s beloved free summer-Sundays concert, has gone especially eclectic for 2019. In this, its 82nd annual year, the Symphony and the Ballet make their regular appearances on July 7 and July 28 (respectively) while the rest of the calendar is full of acts you likely have not seen in decades — if ever — and may not again for quite a while.

Late-’80s/early-’90s Brooklyn hip-hop artists Digable Planets open the festival on June 16 with the Bay Area’s outspoken Latinx rock trio, Bang Data, while later in the summer are un-missable names like New Orleans jam band Galactic (June 30), singer-songwriter Mitski (July 14), and multilingual cabaret swingers Pink Martini (Aug. 11). There are a couple of all-star double-billings, too namely the pairing of darker-than-you-may-realize 1980s New Wavers and John Hughes darlings Psychedelic Furs with early-90s Mancunians James (of karaoke mainstay “Laid” fame) on Aug. 4. But the ultimate crowd-pleaser might be reggae progenitors Toots & the Maytals with the inimitable soul ensemble Lee Fields & the Expressions on July 21.

Mitski (Stern Grove Festival)

As always, it’s first come, first served, with yoga at noon and the main show starting at 2:30 p.m. Walking down the path lined with nasturtiums to go see some free music for an afternoon is always a treat, but you can have an even better time (and support the programming for future generations) by reserving a picnic table for five or 10 people. It comes with free beverages and a parking space, starting at $500.

The series culminates on Sunday, Aug. 18, with the Big Picnic, and the performer this year is none other than the Isley Brothers, whose 65-year career has brought detours through numerous genres of pop, rock, and soul. See the full lineup for the 82nd Stern Grove Festival here.

Stern Grove Festival, Sundays, June 16-Aug. 18, at Sigmund Stern Grove, 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard. Free, sterngrove.org

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