SF State's guide to must-see summer events

Summer break has almost arrived and after a semester of stress and dismal finances, it is time to kick back, relax and let loose in the city’s inexhaustible showcasing of events.

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival 2012

The ever-growing popularity of Outside Lands has made it into a highly-anticipated event as it reaches its fifth year in San Francisco. The buzz had students talking all year long and even the tightest penny-pinchers have been saving up for the exciting three-day affair.

Elena Nommensen, a graduating SF State cinema major and Outside Lands veteran said money is worth spending on the festival.

“Outside Lands is something you save up for,” said Nommensen, 21. “It’s an epic experience!”

With this year’s lineup consisting of the distorted squeals of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Metallica and the smooth elegance of pop vocalist Stevie Wonder, it is definitely going to be a concert to remember.

Sharing the stage with these Grammy Award-winning artists will be Skrillex, Sigur Ros, Regina Spektor, Bloc Party and City and Colour, just to name a few.

When: Friday, Aug. 10 at 1 p.m. – Sunday, Aug. 12 | Where: Golden Gate Park | Cost: Regular three-day pass: $225; VIP three-day pass: $495 |

Stern Grove Festival

For those students who are looking for a relaxed hangout with friends, or a place to spend with the family when they come visit this summer, look no further than Stern Grove. The summer-long festival celebrates its 75th season.

“If it’s free and it’s music, I’ll be there,” said American studies major Julian Hayward, 19. He said while he hopes to go to concerts like Outside Lands, it may not be possible, and free music is always worth checking out.

To kick off the festival, Stern Grove invites everyone to participate in the The Big Picnic Party fundraising event June 24. However, tickets run steep at $500 for individual admission, which includes a reserved concert seat and parking. Students may want to stick to the free concerts, starting right after the picnic with Anita Baker at 2 p.m.

Other performances to look forward to include SF State alumni The Stone Foxes, the San Francisco Ballet and the San Francisco Opera.

The closing performance Aug. 26 opens with local band The Family Crest, and will be headlined by the inventive quirkiness of the pop-rock band OK Go.

When: Every Sunday June 24 – Aug. 26 | Where: Stern Grove at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard | Cost: FREE!

Bay to Breakers

This USA Track and Field certified 12k race stretches from the Embarcadero through the end of Golden Gate Park. It is one of the biggest free parties of the summer in San Francisco. There are bands en route and a costume contest with a grand prize of $1,000, so head out to dress up and party, and maybe run a little bit along the way.

When: Saturday, May 20 starting at 7 a.m. | Where: The Embarcadero and through the end of Golden Gate Park | Cost: $57 to register, but free to watch.

SF Carnaval

San Francisco Cultural Arts Traditions hosts this celebration of multiculturalism this Memorial Day weekend. Though the street parade may be the highlight, Carnaval-goers can taste, see and hear the authenticity of multiculturalism with the array of beer gardens, food trucks, artistry, music and performances in this two-day event.

When: Saturday, May 26 and Sunday, May 27; parade at 9:30 a.m. May 27 | Where: Mission District | Cost: Free!

Haight-Ashbury Street Fair

The legendary Haight-Ashbury neighborhood opens its streets and storefronts to host six blocks of vendors in their 35th annual Haight-Ashbury Street Fair. The neighborhood, famous for the hippie movement, reminisces the culture in this center for peace, love and happiness. Arts and crafts, food and of course three stages of live entertainment sum up what to expect at this highly anticipated day of festivities.

When: June 10 at 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. | Where: Haight-Ashbury | Cost: Free!

SF Pride

San Francisco hosts one of the most iconic festivals in the LGBTQ community: Pride. With more than 20 venues and stages, the heart of the city is overtaken by diversity as exhibitors and parade participants fill the streets in this San Francisco staple. Even though the weekend is centered around the parade, be sure to check out the Pride weekend party guide to get the full experience of the celebration.

When: Saturday, June 23 to Sunday, June 24; parade Sunday, June 24 at 10:30 a.m. | Where: The Civic Center | Cost: Free!

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