The lineup is out for this year's quintessentially San Franciscan free concert series, the Stern Grove Festival. And it includes a few big names, including the great Chaka Khan performing for the Big Picnic Weekend.

Yes, the traditional Big Picnic fundraiser that closes out the festival in late August will for the first time this year be a two-day affair, with Sylvan Esso and Poolside playing on Saturday, August 24, and Chaka Khan playing August 25.

America's longest-running free music festival, the Stern Grove Festival, returns for its 87th season this year. And the concerts kick off on June 23 with Tegan and Sara performing that first Sunday — which isn't Pride Sunday, as the first concert often is, but is the kickoff for Pride Week.

This year's lineup also include The Commodores, Lucinda Williams, Chicano Batman, and the SF Symphony will make their annual appearance on July 4th weekend (July 7).

Sunday, July 28 will be the hot one for fans of electro-pop, with DRAMA opening for Franc Moody.

The festival runs through late August, and while tickets are free, since the pandemic, advance tickets have been required, with ticket reservations beginning one month before the scheduled concert date, at 2 pm. So, for instance, for the Tegan and Sara show, 2 pm on May 23 will be the time to vie for some reserved tickets. You can also pay to reserve picnic tables, with all moneys going back to the nonprofit that operates the festival.

The Stern Grove Festival began with the bequest of 66 acres of land to the City of San Francisco by Rosalie Meyer Stern, with the intention that it be used to create a summer music festival. The concert series continues to be overseen by descendents of Stern, including current Board Chair Matthew Goldman and twin brother and Vice-Chair Jason Goldman, are fifth-generation stewards of Stern Grove.

"Our ultimate mission is to serve the community by providing free music to all,” says Bob Fiedler, executive director of the festival. “This year we’re increasing our impact by adding an extra show, allowing us to serve more people at our beautiful venue."

The festival is also continuing a partnership with KPIX, which will be broadcasting each concert via their livestream. As Fielder says, "We want to ensure that everybody has access to music even if they are not able to attend in-person."

The Stern Grove venue — which had to be partially rebuilt following a 2021 water main break and heavy water damage to the area — includes a stage, lawn seating, some tiered seating on a hillside, and limited table seating in designated areas.

The full lineup is below:

  • June 23 - Tegan and Sara, King Isis
  • June 30 - Chicano Batman, Lido Pimienta
  • July 7 - SF Symphony with Special Guest Jessica Vosk
  • July 14 - The Commodores, The Grease Traps
  • July 21 - Masego, Satya
  • July 28 - Franc Moody, Drama
  • August 4 - Alex G, Fake Fruit
  • August 11 - Herbie Hancock, SFJAZZ Collective
  • August 18 - Lucinda Williams, Jobi Riccio
  • August 24 - Sylvan Esso, Poolside
  • August 25 - Chaka Khan

Set up reminders for ticket reservation days on the Stern Grove website.