Free Yerba Buena Gardens fest kicks off with mariachi

It’s time for the 2018 Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, and that means free outdoor entertainment in The City from spring through fall.

The festival’s 18th season begins at 1 p.m. May 6 with Latinas: The cool, Latin Grammy-winning Mariachi Flor de Toloache, the first all-female mariachi ensemble, headlines a bill with melodic Bay Area singer-songwriter-activist Diana Gameros.

The concert is the first of more than 100 admission-free events — music, theater, circus, dance, poetry and children’s programs — in the urban plaza at Mission and Third streets.

“Get inspired! Treat yourself and treat your family, friends and co-workers to the most diverse performing arts experience in the Bay Area,” says program director Linda Lucero.

While many of the shows are around lunchtime, the popular salsa dance party (in Jesse Square near the Contemporary Jewish Museum) returns at 6 p.m. Thursdays, featuring the “mambo retro salsa” Cabanijazz Project (May 17); Bululú, with percussion master and vocalist Lali Mejia (June 21), Bay Area-based Cuban band Pellejo Seco (July 19), Latin Jazz Ambassadors and Annette A. Aguilar & StringBeans (Aug. 16) and vocalist Manny Martinez y la Rebeldia (Sept. 20).

Concerts are most Thursdays from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. The lineup includes The New World String Project (May 10), Community Music Center Older Adult Choirs (May 17), Dogon Lights (May 24), Kitty Pak (May 31), Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco (June 7), Swedish Consulate’s Jenny Lind Concert (June 21), Dalia & the Big Violin (June 28), Manring Kassin Burr (July 5), Maikaze Daiko (July 12), Solate (July 19), Sol Development with Mino Yanci (Aug. 2), LINES Dance Center (Aug. 9), Highest Ani (Aug. 16), Faun Fables (Aug. 23), La Patronal (Aug. 30), John Brothers Piano Company (Sept. 6), Daniel Riera: Future Flutist with Electric Ensemble (Oct. 4), and Rice Kings (Oct. 11).

Acts at 1 p.m. Saturdays include Tom Rigney & Flambeau (May 26), Gamelan Sekar Jaya, (June 9), Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo + VNote Ensemble (June 16), Isle of Klezbos + Fanfare Zambaleta (July 7), Van Anh Vo & The VA’V (Aug. 25) and Manila Disco Fever (Sept. 1).

The festival also offers commissioned projects, including ChoreoFest, a dance festival curated by RAWdance’s Wendy Rein and Ryan T. Smith on June 2-3; and jazz composer Marcus Shelby leads his orchestra in “Blackball: The Negro League and the Blues” on Sept. 8.

Circus Bella, presenting a new one-ring show, returns on June 22-23.

The gardens also host cultural events: the 21st Native Contemporary Arts Festival is June 17, the 18th AfroSolo in the Gardens (a Duke Ellington tribute with Denise Perrier, Nina Causley and David Hardiman’s San Francisco All-Star Big Band) is Aug. 4, the 25th Pistahan is Aug. 11-12, and Brazil in the Gardens (Pragandaia and Margareth Menezes) is Aug. 18.

IF YOU GO

2018 Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
Where: Mission Street, between Third and Fourth streets, S.F.
When: May through October
Admission: Free
Contact: (415) 543-1718, www.ybgfestival.org

Leslie Katz

Recent Posts

SF Preps Basketball: Ben Knight leads Mission to 44th straight AAA win

ABRAHAM LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL — Stepping across the half-court line, Ben Knight drew a double team from a pair of…

9 hours ago

City College of San Francisco men’s and women’s basketball sweep doubleheader by wide margins

The City College of San Francisco women’s and men’s basketball team both won by large margins in a home doubleheader…

9 hours ago

Public park memorial for Alex Nieto nears installation

A planned public park memorial for Alex Nieto, who was fatally shot by San Francisco police officers in March 2014,…

11 hours ago

DeMarcus Cousins returns to the court to score 14 points in win for Warriors

LOS ANGELES — With a skip pass through the lane from Kevin Durant, and a soaring, one-handed slam dunk over…

14 hours ago

Judge issues gag order in Ghost Ship fire criminal case

Despite the defense's strong objections, including an allegation that it smacks of Nazi Germany and fascism, a judge on Friday…

18 hours ago

Promoting safety awareness for Chinese New Year

Law enforcement and city officials gathered at the Dragon Gate entrance to Chinatown to promote a message of safety and…

18 hours ago