Free summer concerts at Stern Grove, Yerba Buena Gardens announced 

click to enlarge Rufus Wainwright
  • courtesy photo
  • Rufus Wainwright plays a Stern Grove concert on July 27.
It’s almost summer in The City — time for a plethora of cheap outdoor entertainment.

Stern Grove Festival’s upcoming 77th season of free outdoor summer concerts, announced today, is a doozy, starting with Smokey Robinson and finishing with The Zombies.

All performances are free and start at 2 p.m. at Sigmund Stern Grove park, located at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard, in The City.

Opening day also features the Big Picnic benefit, a preconcert party at 11:30 a.m. Tickets for the bash begin at $250; for information visit www.sterngrove.org/home/thebigpicnic.

With upward of 10,000 concertgoers each Sunday, visitors are encouraged to take public transit to the site. Information regarding access is available by calling (415) 252-6252 or visiting www.sterngrove.org.

Not to be outdone, the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, another great series of free outdoor performances, opens Sunday with multiple Grammy winner and Latin jazz pianist Eddie Palmieri with his Salsa Orchestra. The show begins at 1 p.m. at 760 Howard St., S.F.

The festival, which runs through Oct. 26, presents more than 90 free events, including music, theater, circus, dance, poetry, festivals and children’s programs with artists from across the world. The gardens are located between Third, Fourth, Howard and Mission streets in The City. For details and the full schedule, call (415) 543-1718 or visit www.ybgfestival.org.

Stern Grove lineup

June 22: Smokey Robinson, Patti Austin; ticketed Big Picnic benefit precedes show

June 29: Allen Stone, Yuna

July 6: San Francisco Symphony, Edwin Outwater conducting

July 13: Funky Meters, Sugar Pie DeSanto

July 20: Pupy Y Los Que Son Son, Vieux Farka Touré

July 27: Rufus Wainwright, Quartet San Francisco

Aug. 3: Andrew Bird and the Hands of Glory, Todd Sickafoose’s Tiny Resistors

Aug. 10: Darlene Love, Monophonics

Aug. 17: Sergio Mendes, LoCura

Aug. 24: The Zombies, Vetiver

Yerba Buena Gardens highlights

May 15: Pacific Mambo Orchestra, 6 p.m.

May 25: Baba Ken Okulolo & Kotoja, 1 p.m.

June 7: André Thierry & Zydeco Magic, 1 p.m.

June 14: John Santos’ commission “The Art of the Descarga,” 1 p.m.

June 27-28: Circus Bella, noon

July 6: S.F. Francisco Mime Troupe, 2 p.m.

Aug. 7: Tiffany Austin Quintet, 12:30 p.m.

Sept. 5-6: RAWdance, 7 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday

Sept. 18: Sambadá, 12:30 p.m.

Oct. 5: Classical Persian Music Ensemble, 1 p.m.

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Leslie Katz

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