SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Live music has returned to the Golden Gate Bandshell’s iconic stage with a series of free outdoor concerts in Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, San Francisco Parks Alliance and the arts nonprofit Illuminate announced today.
The lineup of performers returning to the stage is diverse and local—rock and reggae bands, Latin jazz players and R&B singers, big band musicians and string ensembles, West African and South Asian drummers and dancers, as well as homegrown stars like DJ Shortkut and Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers.
The free, all-ages concerts will run through the end of 2021, with Singer-Songwriter Wednesdays, Jazz and Soul Fridays, Cultural and Community groups on Saturdays, and Reggae Sundays, as well as many special events, including the Golden Gate Bandshell Kid’s Festival featuring Charity and the JAMband Sept. 11.
A full schedule can be found here.
“The return of live performances in the park is a celebration of our city’s ongoing recovery,” said Mayor Breed. “Arts and music, especially free public performances, are such an important part of our city’s history and culture. I’m so excited to finally celebrate Golden Gate Park’s 150th anniversary at the historic Bandshell stage with San Francisco’s diverse communities.”
The Illuminate and Parks Alliance-produced events will strictly follow all current guidelines and recommendations from the Department of Public Health and will adapt accordingly as guidelines change.
The free concert series was planned for Golden Gate Park’s 150th anniversary in 2020, a yearlong celebration put on by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and the San Francisco Parks Alliance. While the series kickoff was delayed by the pandemic, the Golden Gate Bandshell was upgraded with a new stage, built-in theatrical lighting and state-of-the-art Meyer sound system.
“San Francisco’s parks have provided a respite throughout the pandemic and a place for connection during the recovery,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “It’s wonderful to welcome back live music, especially in a venue steeped in history and surrounded by greenery.”
“Golden Gate Park has been a welcome escape for many over the course of the last year. We are beyond thrilled to be able to provide free public programming in the safest manner possible. The diverse lineup of local performers and artists will provide entertainment and joy for the whole family,” said San Francisco Parks Alliance CEO Drew Becher.
The new concert series will supplement free Sunday performances by the Golden Gate Park Band, which has been presenting free concerts in Golden Gate Park for 139 years. Its 2021 season began Aug. 1 and will continue through Oct. 3.
The 121-year-old Golden Gate Bandshell is the oldest structure in Golden Gate Park’s Music Concourse, an open air plaza built for the 1894 World’s Fair. Also called the Spreckels Temple of Music, the Bandshell was a gift to San Franciscans from sugar magnate Claus Spreckels. Its recent renovation was made possible through the generosity of Carla and David Crane.
“Music heals,” said Illuminate Founder and CEO Ben Davis. “After a century of near silence, we are delighted to hear music fill the park’s Music Concourse once again. Our city needs an accessible outdoor performance space more than ever.”
About the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department
The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department currently manages more than 220 parks, playgrounds and open spaces throughout San Francisco, including two outside city limits—Sharp Park in Pacifica and Camp Mather in the High Sierras. The system includes full-complex recreation centers, swimming pools, golf courses, sports fields and numerous small-to-medium-sized clubhouses that offer a variety of sports- and arts-related recreation programs for people of all ages. Included in the Department’s responsibilities are Golden Gate Park, Coit Tower, the Marina Yacht Harbor, the San Francisco Zoo and Lake Merced. In 2017, San Francisco became the first city in the nation where all residents have access to a park within a 10-minute walk, a direct result of the Department’s commitment to increasing and improving parkland in the city.
About the San Francisco Parks Alliance
SF Parks Alliance is San Francisco’s only city-wide parks nonprofit. For over 50 years, SF Parks Alliance has been partnering with communities and public agencies to create, sustain, and advocate for parks and public spaces that welcome and belong to everyone We believe everyone deserves access to safe and welcoming public spaces that foster joy and connection.
Illuminate’s mission is to rally large groups of people together to create impossible works of public art that, through awe, free humanity’s better nature. The San Francisco-based nonprofit’s large-scale and radically accessible installations are experience by more than 20 million people annually. Iconic works include The Bay Lights on the Bay Bridge, Photosynthesis on the Conservatory of Flowers, Grace Light in Grace Cathedral, Hope Will Never Be Silent in the Castro, the illumination of The Pink Triangle on Twin Peaks, Monumental Reckoning in Golden Gate Park, and the revival of the Spreckels Temple of Music, aka The Golden Gate Bandshell.