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Stern Grove Festival Is Expanding The Performing Arts Horizon One Concert At A Time

By Elisha Neubauer

Performing arts are the grit of the world. They create a sense of community, detail historic events, and display cultural deviations and norms for the world to see. While the performing arts have been in existence for virtually as long as man himself, they have been reserved for those of a certain cultural standing for quite some time.

The Stern Grove Festival was created in 1938 as a way to combat the selectiveness that performing arts once held. The Festival was founded on the sheer principle of offering admission-free performances to residents and visitors of the San Francisco area.

The property was originally purchased by Rosalie M. Stern. In 1931, Stern gave the property to the City of San Francisco as a memorial to her late husband Sigmund, who was a prominent civic leader in the community. It was on June 4, 1932 that Stern Grove was dedicated. Within two weeks, the San Francisco Symphony christened the Grove with its first performance.

As the president of the San Francisco Recreation Commission, Stern created the non-profit Stern Grove Festival Association in 1938 and insisted that all concerts were to be presented free of charge, so that everyone is able to participate in enjoying the arts.

Since that day, Stern Grove Festival has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors to admission-free concerts every summer since. The Festival began its 80th Season on June 25th, 2017.

The Stern Grove Festival Association relies on fundraising and donations to continue to offer such amazing concert lineups. The Big Picnic is the annual and primary fundraiser. The concert itself is free to the public, of course, but the Association offers those looking to contribute to the further success of the organization a chance to celebrate while donating by purchasing tickets to a pre-concert party and catered luncheon.

"The Big Picnic fundraiser is critical to supporting Stern Grove Festival's mission, as it is the only fundraising event the Festival holds and the organization must raise nearly $3 million each year," Lauren Seward, Marketing for the Stern Grove Festival, said. "The 79th Season Big Picnic raised $575,000 alone."

In effort to expand the audiences viewing the concerts, and to expand the current audience's exposure to the arts, the Festival continues to present a variant of musical genres and performances. From Latin music, to pop, rock, African, Hawaiian, folk, funk, and so much more, the Festival's programming changes every season, ensuring there is something for everyone. The Festival strives to offer options as unique and exciting as the Bay Area itself.

"This season's highlights include Eric Burdon & the Animals, Amadou & Mariam, Mavis Staples, WAR, and Kool & the Gang, who will perform at the Big Picnic," Seward said.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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