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Friday, August 22, 2014

Burning Man in the Bay, Idea One: Stern Grove Festival Closes 77th Season With Psych-pop Legends, The Zombies

Posted By on Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 12:14 PM

click to enlarge The Zombies
  • The Zombies
While some of us cheer that the burners are gone, others feel left out by not making it to the playa. Either way, throughout the duration of Burning Man we'll be sharing events and places in S.F. that would normally be overrun with burners that you should check out sans BM crowds. 

While “Burners” flee the Bay this weekend to build a city at Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for the week-long event centered around art, community and self-expression, known as Burning Man, it’s time to take advantage of the many offerings that our city has to present.

The Stern Grove Festival, a San Francisco staple in its 77th year, packs a massive psych pop-rock lineup for its closing show of the season this Sunday, Aug. 24: the local shoegaze indie folk act, Vetiver, as well as the legendary ‘60s psych-pop forefathers, The Zombies.

“This year we have a great mix of local and truly internationally recognized musicians,” Steven Haines, executive director of the festival, says of The Zombies and Vetiver. 

The Zombies, who originally formed in 1961, were among the first wave of bands to hit the United States during the British Invasion. With hits like “She’s Not There," “Tell Her No,” and “Time of the Season," The Zombies were the first U.K. band following The Beatles to have a #1 hit on American charts. 

After calling it quits in the late ‘60s, original lead singer Colin Blunstone, and primary songwriter and keyboardist Rod Argent continued on their separate ways forming their own solo projects. The two reunited in 1999, and have since recorded a handful of live and studio albums, toured the world, and are in the process of recording a new studio album. Their stop at Stern Grove this weekend is a part of their United States tour.

“We like to play as much as we can, and we're looking forward to four weeks in the states,” Blunstone says. “Our concerts, we are giving audiences a musical journey through our careers from 1961 to 2014 — and there are a lot of hits in there. Not all of them are under the name the Zombies, but it makes a concert full of songs that people will know as well as more obscure songs as well.”

At Stern Grove this weekend, you should expect to hear the classic Zombies hits, as well as songs from Argent, Rod Argent’s side-project, and songs from Blunstone’s solo career, including hits from his time playing with The Alan Parson’s Project.

In any city, the summer is the height of event programming, and events sometimes seem to conflict or pull draw away from other important dates. With major events in San Francisco, like Pride, and Outside Lands, and even Burning Man, which isn't in the city but attracts massive crowds from the Bay, Haines explains that Stern Grove presents something for everyone across a two-month span. While it may seem like the festival needs to compete, there is something that keeps people coming. 

“It's more than just those artist and those programs: We attract an audience that is really in-tune with our mission. People really love the fact that Stern Grove Festival is admission free,” Haines says. “They also realize that this mission means that we are making art, culture and music accessible to everybody. We are San Francisco's oldest music festival, so everybody knows that we're here, we're constant.”

The Zombies play Sunday Aug. 24 at Stern Grove Festival with Vetiver. 2 p.m. Free. All Ages.

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