Sunday, June 29, 2014

Free Concert in the City - Smokey Robinson and Patti Smith at Stern Grove Festival

Stern Grove 2014 - Hand stampCan you believe that I saw Smokey Robinson and Patti Austin perform live and I didn't pay a single penny? This was possible thanks to the wonderful people and sponsors behind the Stern Grove Festival. 

I always look forward to this summer festival because it is good entertainment. Isn't summer in the city amazing? 

Last year, my friend Jean Paul did a great job getting to the Stern Grove park to stake a space with a good view of the stage. He got there at 11am. This year, Mijo and I were tasked to stake the space and we decided to go to the park early at 9:30am. Guess how many people thought of the same thing? The only difference is that they got there earlier than us. 

Here's the view of Stern Grove at 9:30am.
Stern Grove 2014 - Crowd at 930am

In case you did not know, Stern Grove Festival is a free music concert series every Sunday in the summer in San Francisco. People go there with their picnic mats, snacks and lots of vino and friends. It feels more like a picnic slash party with lots of friends and a live music. The environment is very laidback. It is free but it is on a first come first serve basis. If you get there earlier than everyone else, you are rewarded great space.

It was the opening day of the Stern Grove Festival and Smokey Robinson and Patti Austin were scheduled to perform. This was the reason why there were so many people very early. In fact, the organizers at one point that day were thinking of closing the park at 12noon so they were stamping people's hands to keep track of who got in early. Take note that the concert does not start until 2pm. 
Stern Grove 2014 - Hand stamp

I've never seen Patti Austin in concert but I am familiar with a couple of her hits. Though James Ingram was not there with her, my favorite is still How Do You Keep The Music Playing. Considering how laid-back people are at Stern Grove, Patti Austin was able to make the crowd part of her performance. Great job guys!
Stern Grove 2014 - Patti Austin

There was an intermission after Patti Austin. And then Smokey Robinson came on stage and every one went wild again. He sang my favorite Just To See Her.
Stern Grove 2014 - Smokey Robinson

To capture how big the turnout that Sunday, here is a view of the hill dwellers.
Stern Grove 2014 - Hill dwellers

Of course, Stern Grove won't be complete with out friends, snacks and vinos. I think people come to Stern Grove, first and foremost, because it gives the locals reason to go out and hang out with friends.  In our case, Mijo and I were hanging with our good friends Mike, JP and Marco.
We first opened a bottle of Viu Manent 2012 Malbec.
Stern Grove 2014 - Viu Manent Malbec

JP was in charge of cutting cold meats.
Stern Grove 2014 - Cured Meat

We also finished this bottle of Gabbiano 2012 Chianti.
Stern Grove 2014 - Gabbiano 2012 Chianti

And this bottle of Vina Eguia Rioja.
Stern Grove 2014 - Vina Eguia Rioja

And this bottle of Simi 2010 Cabernet Sauvigno.
Stern Grove 2014 - Simi 2010 Cab

And snacked on sandwiches, meats, chips and salsa, crostini and chocolate bars. It was indeed party-like that day!
Stern Grove 2014 - Wine Chocolate Chips Fruits

We usually do not finish the last performance at the Stern Grove Festival and we leave before everyone else does to avoid the rush. This time, we lingered longer in the park and lots of people did too. 

This is the view of the crowd long after the concert. I wonder how long can people stay after the concert?
Stern Grove 2014 - The End

 The Stern Grove Festival  opening day was on June 22. The last sunday concert is on August 24. Here is the rest of their 2014 concert season. Click here.

Stern Grove is another reason why living in the city is so life enriching. Thank you so much again Stern Grove Festival origanizers  and supporters!


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