In its more than 80 year history, the Stern Grove Festival has been shepherded by one family… And when Dr. Douglas Goldman, Chairman of its Board of Directors, retires from that post next year, the mantle will be picked up by his sons. The season of 10 free Sunday afternoon concerts ends this weekend with their annual ‘Big Picnic’ fundraiser, and then the Isley Brothers will take the stage.
There’s more information at the Stern Grove Festival website.
“It’s highly unusual for four generations, let alone now five, of one family to have a continuity with any organization, certainly in this country, so it’s something we’re certainly very proud of,” says Goldman. “The possibilities are terrific. My great grandmother, Rosalie Meyer Stern clearly understood that in the first place, and saw the potential of the space.” She bought the land, and in the 1930s, gave it to the City of San Francisco in honor of her husband. Since then, there have been free concerts each summer on Sunday afternoons. “My sons have been on the board for a number of years now, so they’ve had a chance to see the operation and understand how it works. I think my mother did it for 28 years, which was the longest of the three women in front of me who did it. I always knew it would be a long time, but I think 24 years, I’m 66 years of age, it’s time.” His sons, Jason and Matthew, will carry on the family tradition when their father steps down. “They’re twins, they’ve done an awful lot of things together. And I’ve been asking them for a period of time now how they’re going to divvy up the responsibilities. Some others of us have just said, ‘OK, well, one of you is going to get started, and then you guys can figure it out.’” Douglas Goldman says he’s proud of the fifteen-million dollar renovations he oversaw a decade ago, making the behind-the-scenes running of the festival more professional and efficient, and changing the mix of the music to better reflect the wide demographic of the audience. “People come to hear what they enjoy. So therefore we can reach out in the broadest sense to the community, to encourage them to discover and enjoy Stern Grove Festival.”