The Stern Grove Festival presents its 80th season of free concerts this Summer, beginning on June 25th. The complete lineup of artists isn’t released until May, but the Symphony and Ballet will be back. The opening day ‘Big Picnic’ concert will feature Kool & the Gang and Quinn DeVeaux. Interim Executive Director Monica Ware says the concerts will also bring back previous acts as a nod to their rich history.

There’s more information about the Big Picnic and concert at the Stern Grove Festival website.

Monica Ware says leading off with Kool & the Gang is a good way to help celebrate their 80th season: “Everyone who’s ever been to a bar mitzvah or a wedding, or a birthday party with a DJ is very familiar with their music. And it’s going to be a lot of fun.” And Quinn DeVeaux has been a performer at the Grove before: “He is rootsy, and bluesy, and a little bit of soul. He’s got a great sound, it’s almost like you’re in a road house listening to a band from way way back. He’s just a wonderful performer and a really great guy.” Before the afternoon concert that begins at 2:00 is the annual fundraising catered picnic that helps to support the free concerts. Monica Ware grew up attending the performances at Stern Grove. “It’s just a picnic in the park with a wonderful performance, and you’re spending time with family and friends. We have people who come and multiple generations of their family are there. They’ve been going for years. They bring their elaborate picnics, and they set up, and they just spend the day there, enjoying this beautiful outdoor space.”