Home » Event Series

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival 2018 | SF

Between May and October in 2018, the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival presents 100 free performances on three outdoor stages in Yerba Buena Gardens.

Admission is free and entertainment includes music, theater, dance, cultural events, educational and children’s programs.

2018 Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
May 6 – October 28, 2018
Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission between 3rd and 4th Streets, San Francisco
FREE

How to Get There

Most performances take place on the Esplanade just south of Mission Street, with a few performances taking place at Jessie Square (North of Mission) and children’s events taking place at the Children’s Garden south of Howard Street. Directions / Muni / Parking

2018 Festival Series

Let’s Go Salsa@Jessie!, the open-air salsa dance party in Jessie Square (near the Contemporary Jewish Museum), takes place on the third Thursday of each month from May to September from 6-7:30 pm. Performers include the ‘New Mambo Retro Salsa’ group Cabanijazz Project on May 17, the nine-piece combo Bululú led by Venezuelan-born percussion master and vocalist Lali Mejia on June 21, the Bay Area’s inventive Cuban band Pellejo Seco on July 19, the U.S. State Department-sponsored Latin Jazz Ambassadors and the Mission’s own Annette A. Aguilar & StringBeans on August 16, and Los Mocosos vocalist and master salsero Manny Martinez y la Rebeldia on September 20.

Children’s Garden Series features interactive performances specially designed for kids and families every Friday from June to August in the Yerba Buena Children’s Garden at Fourth and Howard Streets. The series presents performances by kid favorites: the 2018 Grammy-nominated Alphabet Rockers, Non Stop Bhangra, Māhealani Uchiyama, Parangal Dance Company, Circus Bella, Unique Derique, Caterpillar Puppets, Chelle! & Friends, Pi Clowns, Red Panda Acrobats, Venezuelan Music Project, Crosspulse, and Ka-Hon. The series ends with the wildly popular 18th Annual Halloween Hoopla on Sunday, October ­28.

Thursday Lunchtime Concert Series takes place most Thursdays from 12:30 to 1:30 pm and is a favorite destination of downtown workers, shoppers, tourists, and students. This year features the very best of local and international musicians including New World String Project on May 10, Community Music Center Older Adult Choirs on May 17, Dogon Lights on May 24, Kitty Pak on May 31, Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco on June 7, the Swedish Consulate’s Jenny Lind Concert on June 21, Dalia & the Big Violin on June 28, Manring Kassin Burr on July 5, Maikaze Daiko on July 12, Solate on July 19, Sol Development with Mino Yanci on August 2, LINES Dance Center on August 9, Highest Ani on August 16, Faun Fables on August 23, La Patronal on August 30, John Brothers Piano Company on September 6, Daniel Riera: Future Flutist with Electric Ensemble on October 4, and Rice Kings on October 11.

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival presents Poetic Tuesdays on the second Tuesday of each month. Guest curated by Litquake, Poetic Tuesdays runs from 12:30-1:30 pm and features an array of poets and music.

2018 Festival Highlights

Opening Day: The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival opens on Sunday, May 6 at 1 pm with the first all-female mariachi ensemble, Mariachi Flor de Toloache, as they have blazed a brilliant pioneering path for women in a traditionally male world of Mexican music.

Each and every week and weekend, the Festival presents a curated lineup of musicians, dancers, poets, and artists from around the world including the Moroccan trance music of Innov Gnawa with Book of J on May 12, northwestern Indian dance with Garba in the Gardens on May 19, the 2nd Annual Yerba Buena Gardens ChoreoFest on June 2 and 3, the most celebrated gamelan ensemble outside of Bali, Gamelan Sekar Jaya, on June 9, powerhouse Afro-Venezeulan vocalist Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo with VNote Ensemble on June 16, three performances from Festival favorites Circus Bella on June 22 and 23, the all-women klezmer group direct from New York City Isle of Klezbos with San Francisco’s Fanfare Zambaleta on July 7, Ukulenny and Cynthia Lin’s SF Uke Jam Summer Uke-Splosion! on July 14, Cuban saxophonist Yosvany Terry Sextet on July 28, the 40th Anniversary performance of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band on July 29, one of Vietnam’s most celebrated traditional artists Vân Ánh Võ & The VA’V on August 25, Manila Disco Fever on September 1, and the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival commissioned piece from Marcus Shelby Orchestra – Blackball: The Negro League and the Blues on September 8. The Festival closes with the 18th Annual Halloween Hoopla on Sunday, October 28.

Annual Cultural Festivals: the 21st Native Contemporary Arts Festival on June 17, the 18th Annual AfroSolo in the Gardens featuring a Tribute to Duke Ellington featuring Denise Perrier and Nina Causley with David Hardiman’s San Francisco All-Star Big Band on August 4, the 25th Annual Pistahan on August 11 and 12, and Brazil in the Gardens: Pragandaia with special guest Margareth Menezes on August 18.

2018 Events Calendar

May

  • Mariachi Flor de Toloache + Diana Gameros, Sunday, May 6, 1-3 pm
  • Poetic Tuesdays with Litquake, Tuesday, May 8, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • New World String Project, Thursday, May 10, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Innov Gnawa + Book of J, Saturday, May 12, 1-3 pm
  • Community Music Center Older Adult Choirs, Thursday, May 17, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Let’s Go Salsa@Jessie! Cabanijazz Project, Thursday, May 17, 6-7:30 pm
  • Garba in the Gardens, Saturday, May 19, 1-3 pm
  • Dogon Lights, Thursday, May 24, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Tom Rigney & Flambeau, Saturday, May 26, 1-2:30 pm
  • Kitty Pak, Thursday, May 31, 12:30-1:30 pm

June

  • 2nd Annual Yerba Buena Gardens ChoreoFest, Saturday, June 2 & Sunday, June 3, 1-2:30 pm
  • Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco, Thursday, June 7, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Gamelan Sekar Jaya, Saturday, June 9, 1-2:30 pm
  • Poetic Tuesdays with Litquake, Tuesday, June 12, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo + VNote Ensemble, Saturday, June 16, 1-3 pm
  • 21st Native Contemporary Arts Festival, Sunday, June 17, 12-3 pm
  • Jenny Lind Concert, Thursday, June 21, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Let’s Go Salsa@Jessie! Bululú, Thursday, June 21, 6-7:30 pm
  • Circus Bella, Friday, June 22, 12:00pm-1:00pm; Saturday, June 23, 12-1 pm & 2:15-3:15 pm
  • Dalia & the Big Violin, Thursday, June 28, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Music of the Banned, Saturday, June 30, 1-3:30 pm

July

  • Manring Kassin Burr, Thursday, July 5, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Isle of Klezbos + Fanfare Zambaleta, Saturday, July 7, 1-3 pm
  • Poetic Tuesdays with Litquake, Tuesday, July 10, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Maikaze Daiko, Thursday, July 12, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • SF Uke Jam Summer Uke-Splosion!, Saturday, July 14, 1-3 pm
  • San Francisco Mime Troupe, Sunday, July 15, 2-4 pm
  • Solate, Thursday, July 19, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Let’s Go Salsa@Jessie! Pellejo Seco, Thursday, July 19, 6-7:30 pm
  • Yosvany Terry Sextet, Saturday, July 28, 1-2:30 pm
  • San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, Sunday, July 29, 1-2:30 pm

August

  • Sol Development w/ Mino Yanci, Thursday, August 2, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • AfroSolo in the Gardens, Saturday, August 4, 1-2:30 pm
  • LINES Dance Center, Thursday, August 9, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Pistahan, Saturday, August 11 & Sunday, August 12, 11 am-5 pm
  • Poetic Tuesdays with Litquake, Tuesday, August 14, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Highest Ani, Thursday, August 16, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Let’s Go Salsa@Jessie! Annette A. Aguilar & StringBeans, Thursday, August 16, 6-7:30 pm
  • Brazil in the Gardens, Saturday, August 18, 1-2:30 pm
  • Faun Fables, Thursday, August 23, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Vân Ánh Võ & The VA’V, Saturday, August 25, 1-2:30 pm
  • La Patronal, Thursday, August 30, 12:30-1:30 pm

September

  • Manila Disco Fever, Saturday, September 1, 1-2:30 pm
  • John Brothers Piano Company, Thursday, September 6, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Marcus Shelby Orchestra’s Blackball: The Negro League and the Blues, Saturday, September 8, 1-2:30 pm
  • Poetic Tuesdays with Litquake, Tuesday, September 11, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Let’s Go Salsa@Jessie! Manny Martinez y la Rebeldia, Thursday, September 20, 6-7:30 pm

October

  • Daniel Riera: Future Flutist with Electric Ensemble, Thursday, October 4, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Rice Kings, Thursday, October 11, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Poetic Tuesdays with Litquake, Tuesday, October 16, 12:30-1:30 pm

Children’s Garden Series

Yerba Buena Children’s Garden is located at Howard & Fourth Streets. Two performances each day: 11-11:30 am and 12:15-12:45 pm, except Circus Bella and Halloween Hoopla.

  • Non Stop Bhangra, Friday, June 1
  • Māhealani Uchiyama, Friday, June 8
  • Parangal Dance Company, Friday, June 15
  • Circus Bella, Friday, June 22, 12-1 pm; Saturday, June 23, 12-1 pm & 2:15-3:15 pm, Yerba Buena Gardens Esplanade
  • Unique Derique, Friday, June 29
  • Caterpillar Puppets, Friday, July 6
  • Chelle! & Friends, Friday, July 13
  • Pi Clowns, Friday, July 20
  • Alphabet Rockers, Friday, July 27
  • Red Panda Acrobats, Friday, August 3
  • Venezuelan Music Project, Friday, August 17
  • Crosspulse, Friday, August 24
  • Ka-Hon, Friday, August 31
  • 18th Annual Halloween Hoopla, Sunday, October 28, Noon-2pm

Friday, July 27

Alphabet Rockers (Kids’ Show): Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Friday, July 27 – 11:00 am | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Children's Garden)
Alphabet Rockers (Kids’ Show): Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

This children’s program repeats at 12:15–12:45pm.
Over the past decade, the Alphabet Rockers have honed a supremely engaging hip-hop act designed for children and families. With singer/songwriter Kaitlin McGaw and beatboxer/b-boy/rapper Tommy Shepherd, this powerhouse group makes the world come alive through beats, rhymes, songs and dances.

Saturday, July 28

Yosvany Terry Afro-Cuban Sextet: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Saturday, July 28 – 1:00 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Esplanade)
Yosvany Terry Afro-Cuban Sextet: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

Cuban saxophonist, percussionist and composer Yosvany Terry is in the vanguard of Latin American musicians transforming the US jazz scene. Blending a verdant continuum of influences from West Africa, Cuba, and American jazz, he’s created a singular sound, one of the most ambitious and consequent cross-cultural visions …

Sunday, July 29

San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Sunday, July 29 – 1:00 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Esplanade)
San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

Founded by Jon Reed Sims in 1978 in response to Anita Bryant‘s anti-gay campaign in the late 1970s, the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band and Twirling Corps was the first openly-gay musical group in the world. Sims went on to create the San …

Thursday, August 2

Sol Development with Mino Yanci: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Thursday, August 2 – 12:30 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Esplanade)
Sol Development with Mino Yanci: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

Oakland-based MC, award-winning spoken word poet, activist, and educator Karega Bailey is the guiding spirit behind SoL DeVeloPMeNT, a charismatic crew that delivers trenchant, politically resonant verse amidst an inexorable flow of jazz, soul and hip-hop grooves. The director of special education at Oakland’s Roses in …

Friday, August 3

Red Panda Acrobats (Kids’ Show): Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Friday, August 3 – 12:15 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Children's Garden)
Red Panda Acrobats (Kids’ Show): Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

This children’s program is a repeat of the 11:00am show.
Combining exceptional athletic skills, traditional Chinese music, and a fast-paced show sure to amaze viewers of all ages, the Red Panda Acrobats bring the ancient art of Chinese acrobatics into the 21st century with jaw-dropping displays of strength, balance …

Saturday, August 4

AfroSolo in the Gardens: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Saturday, August 4 – 1:00 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Esplanade)
AfroSolo in the Gardens: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

Trumpeter David Hardiman Sr. came up on the Indianapolis jazz scene in the early 1960s when it bristled with brilliant young players like trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, guitarist Wes Montgomery, and composer David Baker. And like the late Baker, one of jazz’s most revered educators, Hardiman spent decades …

Thursday, August 9

LINES Dance Center: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Thursday, August 9 – 12:30 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Esplanade)
LINES Dance Center: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

In a city brimming with inventive dance troupes, Alonzo King LINES Ballet has long stood out as one of the jewels of the scene. Undergirding the company’s long-running status as a creative hothouse is the Alonzo King LINES Dance Center, which presents the culmination of an …

Tuesday, August 14

Poetic Tuesdays: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Tuesday, August 14 – 12:30 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Esplanade)
Poetic Tuesdays: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

Lines and lyrics from Litquake Nation! Enjoy line breaks during your lunch break, as some of the Bay Area’s best poets and musicians share their work in the great outdoors.

Thursday, August 16

Highest Ani: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Thursday, August 16 – 12:30 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Esplanade)
Highest Ani: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

Committed to paying homage to Armenian music, Highest Ani has created a powerful new sound by combining ancient Armenian folk and contemporary Western instrumentation with musical elements drawn from rock, jazz, hip hop, funk and Middle Eastern music. The four-piece band features Mark Ohanesian on qanun (a large trapezoidal zither …

Friday, August 17

Venezuelan Music Project (Kids’ Show): Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Friday, August 17 – 12:15 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Children's Garden)
Venezuelan Music Project (Kids’ Show): Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

This children’s program is a repeat of the 11 am show.
Even in South America, Venezuela’s musical riches tend to be overshadowed by the styles of neighboring Colombia, Brazil and Argentina. But in the Bay Area, the nation’s fabulous cultural wealth, with its fertile intermingling of indigenous, …

Saturday, August 18

Brazil in the Gardens: Pragandaia w/ Special Guest Marcos Costa | Yerba Buena Gardens
Saturday, August 18 – 1:00 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Esplanade)
Brazil in the Gardens: Pragandaia w/ Special Guest Marcos Costa | Yerba Buena Gardens

No city in the Americas boasts a richer and deeper African cultural presence than Salvador da Bahia in northeastern Brazil. And vocalist Dandara Odara’s ensemble Pragandaia serves as a conduit for sounds from this world-shaking musical hotbed. Born and raised in Salvador, she gained early recognition in …

Thursday, August 23

Faun Fables: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Thursday, August 23 – 12:30 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Esplanade)
Faun Fables: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

Describing the Bay Area’s Faun Fables as a duo is like calling the Sagrada Família a church. It’s accurate as far as it goes, but hardly captures the vast, fantastical realm lovingly constructed by front woman Dawn McCarthy, a regular collaborator with Bonnie “Prince” Billy, and multi-instrumentalist …

Friday, August 24

Crosspulse (Kids’ Show): Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Friday, August 24 – 11:00 am | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Children's Garden)
Crosspulse (Kids’ Show): Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

This children’s program repeats at 12:15–12:45pm.
Using finger snaps, tight slaps, chest thumps, foot drags, hand rubs and percussive dance steps, Crosspulse performances are designed to enchant children with an international array of rhythms, instruments and obscure musical practices. With five extraordinary artists versed in body percussion and a …

Saturday, August 25

Vân Ánh Võ & The VA’V: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Saturday, August 25 – 1:00 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Esplanade)
Vân Ánh Võ & The VA’V: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

While Vân Ánh (Vanessa) Võ is one of Vietnam’s most celebrated traditional artists, she revels in the freedom she’s found in the various musical styles surrounding her in the Bay Area. An award-winning traditional performer and virtuoso on 16-string dan tranh (zither), she’s also an Emmy Award-winning …

Thursday, August 30

La Patronal: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Thursday, August 30 – 12:30 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Esplanade)
La Patronal: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

Hailing from the Peruvian capital of Lima, La Patronal is a singular brass band rooted in the tradition of fiestas populares (town fairs) common in rural villages across Latin America. Direct descendants of rural musicians from Peru, the members of La Patronal combine their first-hand knowledge of …

Friday, August 31

Ka-Hon (Kids’ Show): Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Friday, August 31 – 11:00 am | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Children's Garden)
Ka-Hon (Kids’ Show): Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

This children’s program repeats at 12:15–12:45pm.
What’s in that box, you ask? In the hands of Ka-Hon, a gentle spring shower, a flamenco troupe, a galloping stallion and a rumba circle. Drawing on a pan-American array of rhythms, the high-energy ensemble displays the astounding versatility of the …

Saturday, September 1

Manila Disco Fever: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Saturday, September 1 – 1:00 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Esplanade)
Manila Disco Fever: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

Disco fever wasn’t just an American epidemic. In the late 1970s, those lithe, funk-inflected bass lines, slinky keyboards and punchy horns spread around the globe, finding a particularly receptive audience in the Philippines. Manila Disco Fever celebrates the Manila Sound, a hugely popular movement that …

Thursday, September 6

John Brothers Piano Company: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Thursday, September 6 – 12:30 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Esplanade)
John Brothers Piano Company: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

You know a band is crazy dedicated when they bring their own piano to the gig. John Brothers Piano Company has honed a rambunctious, irresistible jazz-meets-stride-and-swing sound redolent of Barbary Coast revelry and Prohibition era hijinks. Starting with their first sidewalk street show–hauling their Wurlitzer spinet to …

Saturday, September 8

Marcus Shelby Orchestra Blackball: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Saturday, September 8 – 1:00 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Esplanade)
Marcus Shelby Orchestra Blackball: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

Marcus Shelby, YBG Festival’s resident composer, is a masterly bassist, charismatic bandleader, and award-winning composer. But it’s probably most accurate to describe him as an American griot whose music explores the stories too often overlooked and diminished in the history books. In his latest YBG …

Tuesday, September 11

Poetic Tuesdays: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Tuesday, September 11 – 12:30 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Esplanade)
Poetic Tuesdays: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

Lines and lyrics from Litquake Nation! Enjoy line breaks during your lunch break, as some of the Bay Area’s best poets and musicians share their work in the great outdoors.

Thursday, October 4

Daniel Riera – Future Flutist with Electric Ensemble: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Thursday, October 4 – 12:30 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Esplanade)
Daniel Riera - Future Flutist with Electric Ensemble: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

As the sonic architect of the Mission District’s prodigious, politically-charged Latin music collective Soltron, Daniel Riera often plays amidst a surging tide of percussion and brass. But for this concert the San Francisco native presents a set of new music in a stripped-down setting showcasing his compositional …

Tuesday, October 16

Poetic Tuesdays: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF
Tuesday, October 16 – 12:30 pm | Cost: FREE | Yerba Buena Gardens (Esplanade)
Poetic Tuesdays: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | SF

Lines and lyrics from Litquake Nation! Enjoy line breaks during your lunch break, as some of the Bay Area’s best poets and musicians share their work in the great outdoors.


Event Details


Submitted by

Facebook comments:

Leave a comment!

You must be logged in to post a comment.