Summer Concerts

AXIS Dance Company performs at the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival on June 9, June 23 and July 14 (Photo: YBGF)

For many of us, summer hasn’t arrived until we’ve attended a concert or two. Whether your musical tastes veer toward jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, international folk, or classical, there’s something for every taste this season.

Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival

Dozens of acts, from local singer-songwriters to internationally known bands, will convene in Golden Gate Park for this favorite three-day festival, Friday through Sunday, Aug. 9–11, which benefits the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department. This year’s lineup includes Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Hall & Oats, The National, and D’Angelo. Those who love meals as much as music will be pleased to find several new additions to the green-conscious event’s food lineup, including Rich Table, Wise Sons Deli, 1300 on Fillmore, and Blue Bottle Coffee (

America’s Cup Concert Series

Much controversy surrounded the construction of America’s Cup Pavilion, a temporary, 9,000-seat amphitheater between Piers 27 and 29 near the waterfront. However, as we go to press, the venue’s summer concert series was set to launch on May 31 with opening night band Imagine Dragons, and then keep the music flowing through October with 29 additional shows. Sting performs June 2, followed by popular acts such as Counting Crows, Steve Miller Band, Jason Mraz, Steely Dan, Heart, and Train. Part of the America’s Cup activities this summer, the pavilion will allow spectators to watch the boat races during the day before evening concerts (

Stern Grove Festival

This summer marks the 76th season of the beloved free outdoor concert series at Sigmund Stern Grove. Running from June 16 through Aug. 18, the series features a range of performances, from rock bands to full orchestras, opera house to international dance and theatre troupes. Opening-day stars are Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald. Other acts throughout the summer include Pink Martini, the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Ballet, and the San Francisco Opera (

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, which officially started last month, presents free cultural and community programs, including live music concerts in an assortment of genres. The 2013 series, which runs through October, includes an array of artists from around the world and, of course, the Bay Area. This season’s lineup includes Pacific Mambo Orchestra, The Red Panda Acrobats, Marcus Shelby Orchestra, and AXIS Dance Company (

Golden Gate Park Band

Celebrating its 131st season, this free Sunday afternoon outdoor concert series is under way. Dating back to 1882, the Golden Gate Park Band offers something for everyone, from classical music to Broadway repertoires and opera. All concerts take place at the Spreckles Temple of Music at 1 p.m. most Sundays, leading up to an all-request Grand Finale concert on Oct. 6 (

SFJazz Summer Sessions

The first SFJazz summer concert series runs from July 10 to Aug. 25, taking place in the new SFJazz Center on Fillmore, Davies Symphony Hall, and the Church of the Advent of Christ the King. Programs include The Soul of Africa featuring renowned performers like Christine Salem and Toumani Diabate; a two-part Great American Songbook series featuring artists such as Bay Area Bay Area ensemble Los Cenzontles and Grammy award-winning singer Jane Monheit; Spirit of the Drum with jazz superstar Eric Harland and other notable percussion stars; and Masters of the Piano, which kicks off with John Beasley’s 17-piece, Thelonious Monk-inspired Monk-Estra Big Band on Aug. 22 (

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Maryann LoRusso is a San Francisco-based journalist who also writes a blog for women at

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