SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Live music will return for its third season at the Golden Gate Bandshell’s iconic stage with another series of free outdoor concerts in Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and the arts nonprofit Illuminate announced today.
The series, Illuminate Live, which kicks off March 1, will bring 100+ free concerts to the GGP Music Concourse in 2023. The lineup of performers returning to the stage is diverse and local as it was in its first two seasons—the 2023 concerts will feature R&B, soul, jazz, funk, big band musicians, string ensembles, indie and psychedelic rock bands, and many diverse singer-songwriters. In addition, the series will include reggae, salsa, and some EDM and electronic music.
In honor of International Women’s Day March 8, all concerts throughout March will feature women or women-fronted bands. The series begins March 1 with “Market to Bandshell” featuring three female singer-songwriters: Common De Nomi, Frances Ancheta Becker and Nikki Nash. Friday, March 3 features R&B and soul with Nate' SoulSanger, and Saturday, March 4 from noon to 4 p.m. it’s Women of the World Day - a Musical Journey showcasing female artists Ants, Monica Maria, and Free Press Music. Sunday, March 5 will present up-and-coming reggae artist Estrella and her band alongside house DJs Irie Dole and DJ Guid8nce for Crucial Reggae Sundays’ 2023 kick-off.
The free, all-ages concerts will run through mid-November of 2023, and echo the past two seasons schedule with Singer-Songwriter/Folk/Rock Wednesday; Jazz, Soul, R&B and Funk Friday Happy Hours; Cultural and Community performances on Saturdays; and Reggae Sundays, as well as many special events, including a special performance for St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 with celebrated Bay Area artist Shana Morrison and her band Caledonia performing two sets from 4:30 to 7 pm.
A full schedule can be found here. The series’ website is here and has up to the minute listings and will also have special events.
The free concert series was originally launched as part of 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. The Golden Gate Bandshell has since hosted nearly 200 free shows.
“Free live music at the Golden Gate Bandshell has made Golden Gate Park even more vibrant and inviting for people in every neighborhood in San Francisco, and across the world,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “Adding to larger annual events like Outside Lands and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, the bandshell series features hundreds of acts four days a week that you can easily access by car, bus, bike, or foot. This exciting series also ensures that the park’s proud music history lives on!”
The 122-year-old Golden Gate Bandshell is the oldest structure in Golden Gate Park’s Music Concourse, an open-air plaza built for the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894. Also called the Spreckels Temple of Music, the Bandshell was a gift to San Franciscans from sugar magnate Claus Spreckels.
“To witness live free music at the Bandshell is to experience San Francisco at its finest,” said Illuminate Founder and CEO Ben Davis. “The Music Concourse is an epicenter of generosity, the place where the gift of people’s talent meets the gift of people’s attention, the place we move together as one.”
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 Illuminate- 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 experienced 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. In 2022, Illuminate began working on The Golden Mile, a promenade that runs through San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and championed dozens of art installations and many other attractions. This included producing over 180 free music performances as part of JFK’s “Music Mosey” between mid-September and mid-November 2022.