Stern Grove Festival unveils star-studded lineup for 2021 comeback – SF Chronicle Datebook

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Stephen Bruner of Thundercat performs on the Twin Peaks stage during the 10th annual Outside Lands Festival in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Photo: Nicole Boliaux / The Chronicle 2017

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Ledisi, Thundercat, Perfume Genius and more are part of the musical lineup at the Stern Grove Festival, which plans to host in-person entertainment again this summer at its namesake Sunset District park, organizers announced Tuesday, June 8.

The schedule, from June 20 to Aug. 29, ranges from gospel-inflected soul to punk to electronica to classical, with Bay Area DJs part of the mix for the first time.

The festival is set to open with Oakland Grammy winner Ledisi, the Bay Area six-piece band known as the Seshen, singer and San Francisco native La Doña, and Bay Area DJ LadyRyan. The Sunday series continues June 27 with indie pop musician Perfume Genius, electronic music producer Madame Gandhi, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Honey Mahogany and a return of LadyRyan.

Michael Fitzpatrick performs with Fitz & the Tantrums during BottleRock at the Napa Valley Expo. Photo: Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle

Next month features the San Francisco Symphony led by conductor Edwin Outwater (July 4); electronic group Thievery Corporation, rapper Dessa and DJ Shortkut (July 11); the back-to-back performances of soul bands St. Paul & the Broken Bones and the Dip, along with a set by DJ Omar (July 18); and legendary punk rock bands X and the Avengers, with DJ Omar once again on the turntables (July 25).

August brings Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (Aug. 1); Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and bassist Thundercat, multi-instrumentalist Cassowary and DJ Shortkut (Aug. 8); pop outfit Fitz & the Tantrums, soul singer-songwriter Devon Gilfillian and DJ Omar (Aug. 15); and finally the festival’s annual Big Picnic fundraiser, with performances by Oakland’s own Tower of Power, rapper Too Short and DJ Shortkut (Aug. 29).

Tower of Power at Stern Grove. Photo: / Georgia Freedman 1999

For its first few dates, the festival plans to admit audiences at 30% capacity, or about 3,000 guests, with hopes of increasing as the summer progresses. Though the series is free, guests must reserve spots in advance at www.sterngrove.org beginning 12 days before each show; picnicking is still welcome.

Stern Grove Festival also plans to live-stream each event, in partnership with the online concert venue StageIt.

“It’s been so long since most of us have been able to enjoy live music with masses of other people, and we’re beyond excited to be able to be one of the first festivals to bring this soul-uplifting experience back,” said Executive Director Bob Fiedler in a statement.




  • Lily Janiak

    Lily Janiak is The San Francisco Chronicle’s theater critic. Email: ljaniak@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @LilyJaniak

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