Afro-Cuban singer and drummer Bobi Céspedes opens Yerba Buena Gardens Festival at 1 p.m. June 26. (Courtesy photo)

Afro-Cuban singer and drummer Bobi Céspedes opens Yerba Buena Gardens Festival at 1 p.m. June 26. (Courtesy photo)

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is back

Local artists play outdoor shows in 20th free summer series

After taking a break in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is coming back, with fun outdoor entertainment on Thursdays and Saturdays in The City from June through August.

The 20th season begins at 1 p.m. June 26 with Bobi Céspedes, the Bay Area’s matriarch of Cuban music, and DJ José Ruiz of KPOO and KPFA.

The concert is the first of many mid-day, admission-free events — music, theater, circus, dance, poetry and children’s programs — in the plaza at Mission between Third and Fourth streets.

“I am so excited to welcome everyone back to the beautiful gardens to experience our region’s rich cultural diversity and the immense fortitude of our local artists and performers. After a long period of isolation for many of us, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival remains a space for art and joy, welcoming people from all walks of life. There’s nothing that gladdens the heart and spirit more than celebrating the performing arts together under open skies,” said festival director Linda Lucero.

Highlights include: Kev Choice Ensemble (July 1),Rebirth Canal (July 8), YBG ChoreoFest (July 10, July 31, Aug. 14), Sentimiento y Manana (July 15), La Doña (July 17), LoCura (July 29), Andre Thierry (July 22), Ensemble Mik Nawooj (July 24), Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers (Aug. 5), AfroSolo Arts Festival in the Gardens (Aug. 7), Valerie Troutt (Aug. 12), Cabanijazz Project (Aug. 19), Cláudia Villela (Aug. 21), Native Contemporary Arts Festival Presents (Aug. 26) and Circus Bella’s “Humorous!” (Aug. 28)

Troupes and individuals appearing in ChoreoFest are Kiandanda Dance Theater/Byb Chanel Bibene, SAMMAY and RAWdance on July 10; Margaret Jenkins Dance Company and Shinichi Iova-Koga on July 31, and CALI & CO Dance/Christine Cali, Concept o4 and Fog Beast on Aug. 14.

Other YBG Festival programs include Poetic Tuesday’s “Two Languages/One Community: Artists Against Anti-Asian Violence” with Michael Warr, Chun Yu and Yeva Johnson at 12:30 p.m. July 13 as well as outdoor dance classes from 11 a.m. until noon on Tuesdays from June 26-Aug. 25.

The Children’s Garden Series at nearby Howard and Fourth streets offers 11 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. performances. They include percussion by Ka-Hon on July 16, Pi Clowns on July 23 and Red Panda Acrobats on July 30.

IF YOU GO

2021 Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

Where: Mission Street, between Third and Fourth streets, S.F.

When: June through August

Admission: Free

Contact: ybgfestival.org

DancefestivaloutdoorsPop MusicSan Francisco

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Scenes of The City, as San Francisco prepares to fully reopen from COVID-19 pandemic closures on June 15, 2021. (Al Saracevic/The Examiner)
Come back to San Francisco: The City needs you now

Time to get out of the house, people. The City’s been lonely… Continue reading

A surveillance camera outside Macy’s at Union Square on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Is the tide turning against surveillance cameras in SF?

Crime-fighting camera networks are springing up in commercial areas all around San… Continue reading

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott speaks alongside Mayor London Breed at a news conference about 2019 crime statistics at SFPD headquarters on Jan. 21, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What the media gets wrong about crime in San Francisco

By Lincoln Mitchell Special to The Examiner Seemingly every day now, you… Continue reading

Vice President Kamala Harris is under fire for her comments in Guatemala earlier this week. (Examiner file photo.)
SF immigration advocates slam Kamala Harris’ ‘betrayal’ to her past

Kamala Harris’ comments earlier this week discouraging Central Americans from traveling to… Continue reading

Youth activists with the Sunrise Movement march along a rural road during their two-week trek from Paradise to San Francisco to call attention to an increase in deadly wildfires as a result of climate change on June 2, 2021. (Photo by Brooke Anderson)
Weeks-long climate march culminates on the Golden Gate Bridge

Lola’s alarm goes off most mornings before dawn. The 17-year-old high school… Continue reading

Most Read