Saturday in the Park Makes Examiner’s Front Page!

http://www.sfexaminer.com/guardians-of-the-park/

In the late 1990s, Linda D’Aviro and Linda Litehiser — neighborhood activists who are collectively known as “The Lindas” — wondered why the amphitheater in San Francisco’s McLaren Park was never used.

“I couldn’t believe how empty it was. It was so sad,” said Litehiser, a resident of the Mission Terrace neighborhood, recalling how in the 1980s-90s, the theater was largely abandoned and had rotting benches.

Today, the venue is brimming with music, celebrating its fourth annual “Saturday in the Park” concert series on weekends through Oct. 22.

Having put in thousands of volunteer hours over more than a decade to help revitalize the venue, D’Aviro and Litehiser are pleased with their grassroots success in bringing people and music to the theater, which hosts Cocker Power, a Joe Cocker tribute band, headlining Saturday’s show.

But they still have more to do.

“We are ladies in our golden years. We need to take this to the next level,” said D’Aviro, who has lived in Crocker Amazon since 1989, and, along with Litehiser, are Friends of the Amphitheater’s most active members.

The women — who have written “their fair share of grants” and still do everything from cutting checks to storing tents in their garages — obtained $30,000 to fund the concerts. Support comes from corporate sponsor Airbnb, as well as the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and San Francisco Parks Alliance.

Their goal is to set up a foundation, similar to the one supporting Stern Grove’s free concerts, to keep their program sustainable.

After looking at models from all over the country, they’ve conquered many initial hurdles, including safety.

“The challenge of the amphitheater is that it’s in a bucolic setting. You can’t see it from any road,” said Litehiser.

Working with police at the Ingleside Station and parks advocates, they fashioned a security program that volunteers can execute, which addresses the potentially dangerous five-to-10-minute walk from the parking lot to the 750-seat theater.

They’ve also helped other organizations, including the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival and the San Francisco Mime Troupe, navigate the “daunting” permitting process required to use the theater.

Among their early triumphs was their role in naming the facility the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in 2005 (the late Grateful Dead leader was born and raised in the Excelsior) at a bash with then-Mayor Gavin Newsom, Jefferson Starship and Wavy Gravy. It was two years after Friends of McLaren Park hosted the first “Jerry Day,” an event designed to bring neighbors to the 318-acre park and theater.

More recent renovations include four handicapped parking spots, improvements to the seating and stage, and the park’s first restrooms.

With more stable funding, plans include increasing lighting and landscaping to accommodate booths, food trucks and “other amenities you take for granted when you go to a concert,” D’Aviro said.

Perhaps the advocates are most proud to present local musicians playing many genres. “We’ve done everything from big band and the Great American Songbook to Bollywood and Celtic Dead music,” D’Aviro added.

They also point to the upcoming “great, fourth annual” blues show (in the mid-1970s, the theater was home to blues festivals) and extensive programs for young kids, including a popular September show with a stroller corral rather than bicycle parking.

Most importantly, they want to continue to get the word out to those still unaware of the extraordinary natural area in their neighborhood.

“We don’t need to make sure that somebody from the Marina knows about it, but do for someone who lives five blocks away,” Litehiser said, admitting that public transit to the theater is difficult even for people living nearby.

“People who have never gone to a concert before often go on a hike afterward,” said Litehiser, referring to the trails, views, picnic grounds, lake and reservoir in the park, which is “like the wild, west end of Golden Gate Park.”

Enjoying the customer service aspect of her many volunteer duties, D’Aviro said, “We welcome people. It’s really about joy and happiness.”

Both of “The Lindas,” as they have come to be known, added: “What it’s all about is to come and spend the day with us; it’s really a wonderful place.”

IF YOU GO

Saturday in the Park Concert Series

Where: Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, 45 John F. Shelley Drive,
McLaren Park, S.F.

When: 12:30 to 4 p.m. Saturdays, through Oct. 22

Admission: Free

Contact: https://www.facebook.com/mclarenparksf/

LINEUP

Saturday: Cocker Power; Rock Candy with Lindsey Boullt, Jason Muscat, Tony Patel-Dunn and Bryan Turner; Lost Comet with Sharon Pucci (rock ’n’ roll)

Oct. 15: Back Porch Band; Beauty Operators String Band; Canyon Johnson, Windy Hill Bluegrass Band (bluegrass)

Oct. 22: Diva Ladee Chico with the Saturday in the Park House Band; The Groove Riders; Bobbie “Spider” Webb Band (blues concert, amphitheater opening 45th anniversary party)

 

 

Saturday in the Park Fundraiser – Friday September 16th 6-8PM – Gleneagles Golf Course “Old Peculiars” Clubhouse

GleneaglesIMG_3850Come enjoy pizza and your favorite beverage at Saturday in the Park McLaren’s fundraiser 6PM on Friday September 16th in the “Old Peculiars” Clubhouse at the Gleneagles Golf Course.

The Fundraiser will feature live music, raffle prizes and a chance to see and honor the work of the pre-apprentice program working to improve the grounds at Gleneagles.2016-08-27

Come and enjoy time with your friends and support both Saturday in the Park and Gleneagles at this fun Friday evening at Gleneagles Golf Course located at 2100 Sunnydale Ave, San Francisco, CA 94134.

Laughing Monk Fundraiser Saturday in the Park – Thursday September 22nd 4-8PM

laughingmonk_breweryJoin us at Laughing Monk Brewery to support Saturday in the Park McLaren, a great free concert series.

Featuring:
– Live DJ
– Free Giveaways from Airbnb
– Free snacks

Laughing Monk Brewery will be donating $1 from each glass of beer we sell from 4-8pm.

see event invite at https://www.facebook.com/events/1847459262143979/

Laughing Monk Brewery is located at 1439 Egbert Ave, Unit A, 94124

2016-08-30

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McLaren Park History

  • 1840 – When California was part of Mexico, land later to become parklands was part of RanchoCañada de Guadalupe la Visitación y Rodeo Viejo, granted by Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado
  • 1868-1904 – Subdivisions drawn up for development
  • 1904 – Daniel L Burnham proposes creating a multi-acre park in current site of McLaren Park & Portola District housing
  • 1926 – SF Board of Supervisors passes resolution directing land purchases to create 550 acre Mission Park in current site of McLaren Park & Portola District housing
  • 1927 – SF Board of Supervisors, SF Park Superintendent, staff & others host a celebration dedicating park to John McLaren, the city’s Superintendent of Parks; hundreds of new trees had already been planted to transform the landscape
  • 1928 – Bond initiative fails
  • 1928-1946 – City continues buying up properties for park land
  • 1932 – Park Commission reduces plan park acreage to 428 acres and again to 361 acres
  • 1939 – WPA work force completes installation of a long system of foot paths, hiking, fire, and equestrian trails, culverts, roadways and view drive. Also completes the planting of over 10,000 trees of the eucalyptus, cypress and pine varieties
  • 1944 – The Board of Supervisors recommends reducing park acreage to 241 acres; the Planning Department recommends park acreage be 413 acres
  • 1946 – From 1946 -1958 John McLaren Park’s present 318 acres created with final land purchases completed in 1958 and acreage approved by Resolution No. 5557
  • 1958 – Pool opens in southeast corner next to future Herz Playground
  • 1961 – Gleneagles 9-hole Golf Course constructed on 60 acres
  • 1963 – Mansell, Visitacion, Brazil and Persia Streets constructed
  • 1964 – Shelley Drive completed; park lake and drainage structures constructed; McNab Lake was designed as a model yacht basin using California state funds
  • 1965 – Louis Sutter and Herz Playground constructed
  • 1970 – SF Recreation Department completes construction of a multi-purpose outdoor Greek-style amphitheater
    • Amphitheater opens in 1971 providing “excellent acoustics” & seating for 700
    • Press reports amphitheater adds “a new cultural dimension to San Francisco”
  • 1971 – Tennis courts constructed
  • 1975-77 3rd, 4th, 5th SF Blues Festival held in the amphitheater
    • 1978 – SF Blues Festival outgrows amphitheater; moves to GGP Band shell, then Kezar, then Fort Mason until final Festival in 2008
  • 1978 – The Mansfield-Burrows Playground opens
  • 1981 – The Wilde Reservoir Overlook Tower constructed
  • 1983 – Large Group picnic area developed for 172 people; with large barbeque, built-in tables and benches, sink with running water and serving table
  • 1994 – Friends of McLaren Park/FOMP formed
    • Fiscal sponsor is SF Parks Trust
  • 1995 -Yosemite Marsh, is designated a “significant natural resource area” by the city. The marsh is the start of a creek, now covered by homes and streets, that runs down to the bay
  • 1996-1999 – SF Parks and Recreation installs ADA compliant restrooms, seating and pathways at amphitheater
    • Project removes amphitheater lighting and hillside stage electrical panels
  • 2001-2002 – Community group Friends of Crocker Amazon & Outer Mission Residents Association sells T-shirts to raise funds for Crocker Amazon’s “Purple Playground”
    • Estate of Jerry Garcia permits artwork image use for t-shirts sales as a way to support youth
    • Fiscal Sponsor is Excelsior District Improvement Association
    • T-shirts sold as the “Jerry Shirt” raises $5,000 for the playground
  • 2003 – F.A.C.E./Friends & Advocates of Crocker Amazon & the Excelsior formed as a neighborhood booster group
    • Focus: raising awareness of the neighborhood, its history & attractions
    • Motto: Having Fun in the Neighborhood
    • Neighbor Parks Council/NPC become its fiscal sponsor
  • 2003 – F.A.C.E. members create idea of a birthday celebration for Excelsior native son Jerry Garcia as a neighborhood promotion
  • 2003 – 1st “Jerry Day” celebration held
    • Hosted by F.A.C.E.
    • Attended by 50-75 people
    • Cake & Cherry Garcia ice cream served during concert
    • SF Examiner writes article about the event
  • 2005 – July 21 – Resolution Number 0507-003 passed by SF Recreation & Park Commission
    • “unnamed Greek style amphitheater in John McLaren Park…shall hereinafter be known as the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater”
  • 2005 – F.A.C.E. member Tom Murphy leaves F.A.C.E.; elects to solely organize & promote annual “Jerry Day” concerts
  • 2005 – August – 3rd “Jerry Day” held in the newly named Jerry Garcia Amphitheater
  • 2005 – October 29 – Official City Dedication of the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater
    • Official Proclamation by Mayor Gavin Newsom
    • Master of Ceremonies: Wavy Gravy
    • Performers: The Jefferson Starship & Several Grateful Dead Tribute Bands
    • Organized by Friends of McLaren Park, F.A.C.E. with support of District 10 & 11 community members, musicians and artists
  • 2006 – SF Parks Trust becomes “Jerry Day” fiscal sponsor
  • 2008 – July 15 – Friends of McLaren Park/FOMP holds preliminary meeting to form Friends of the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater
  • 2009 – November 7 – D11 Supvr. John Avalos convenes McLaren Park community meeting to promote the park and Jerry Garcia Amphitheater
    • December 6 McLaren Park Festival planning meeting held
    • Meetings continue through December & January/February 2010
  • 2010 – January, March, May – SF Recreation & Parks Department holds 3 Community McLaren Park Needs Assessment meetings
  • 2010 – February 11 – F.A.C.E. and Friends of McLaren Park form “Friends of the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater/Friends of JG A”
    • McLaren Park Festival planning meetings on event fees take place with SF Park & Recreation Permit Department & SF Parks Trust
    • Amphitheater Summer concert series planned
    • Friends of JG Amp/FOJGA work at 2 “Radio Alice’s Summerthing” Concerts in GG Park to raise money to lower permit fees
  • 2010 – June 15 – Draft plans started for an amphitheater “Docent Program”
  • 2010 – July – Plans scrapped to hold McLaren Park Festival due to fee structure
  • 2010 – December – F.A.C.E. sets meeting dates with Neighborhood Parks Council/NPC to discuss fiscal sponsorship of new umbrella group of neighbors and McLaren Park groups called the “McLaren Park Council”
  • 2011 – McLaren Park Collaborative begins meetings
  • 2011 – May – JG Amp meetings continue on permit fees with NPC & RPD Permits department
  • 2011 – October – SF Parks Alliance created from the merger of Neighborhood Parks Council & SF Parks Trust
  • 2012 – February – SF Parks Alliance sign fiscal contract for “Friends of the AMP/Amphitheater at McLaren Park” (renamed from Friends of the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater)
  • 2012 – June – Friends of the AMP plans 2013 JG Amphitheater music festival & initiates Docent Program
  • 2012 – November – Friends of the AMP co-founders Linda D’Avirro/Linda Litehiser attend Levitt Pavilion proposal meeting with RPD GM Phil Ginsberg & Dahlia Khoury
  • 2013 – June – Fall “Saturday in the Park McLaren” concert series planned
    • Friends of the AMP completes Docent Manual, designs Safety Program & full concert series design/programming/dates
    • SF Parks Alliance awards small $2k grant to initiate Docent Program
    • D9, D10, D11 Supervisors contribute $5k each in add-back funds to defray concert series costs
    • SF RPD puts full support behind concert
      • SF RPD Permits Dept. lowers fees
      • Provides PR & printing support
      • Videotaped October 12 concert
    • Asks Friends of AMP to set dates for 2014 amphitheater concert series
  • 2013 – September
    • 1st McLaren Park Mountain Bike Festival – September 7th attracts over 300 participants
    • Levitt Pavilion withdraws proposal; seeks larger venue
  • 2013 – October – 2014 Saturday in the Park 2014 concert dates submitted to RPD Permits Department
    • 1st Saturday in the Park McLaren 6 concert series held
  • 2013 – Gleneagles Golf Course signs nine-year lease extension and initiates pre-apprentice gardener program with Local 261
  • 2013 – Mansell Corridor Project receives $1.7M in One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) funding, bringing a total of $5.1M in transportation funds for the project.
  • 2014 – 2nd Saturday in the Park McLaren 7 concert series held
  • 2015 – 3rd Saturday in the Park McLaren 4 concert series held
  • 2015 – November – Mansell Corridor Project Groundbreaking Celebration held
  • 2016 – 4th Saturday in the Park McLaren 6 concert series held

 

2016 Saturday in the Park McLaren Concerts Begin Saturday, August 20th

Sat in Park Poster Coming back for their 4th year of successful free afternoon concerts, Friends of the AMP (Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in McLaren Park) announces 6 FREE outdoor concerts dates for the 2016 Saturday in the Park – McLaren music festival.

The Festival’s 6 shows run from  August 20th to October 22nd and, as in past years, offer music appealing to all ages and musical tastes, from salsa to blue bluegrass, rock, soul and more. The outdoor concerts also welcome back locals and fans of the bands, and introduce new concertgoers to San Francisco’s 2nd largest and natural park, the 318-acre John McLaren Park.

Friends of the AMP have been working closely with San Francisco Recreation and Parks to add new signage, repave the (free!) parking lot, and for dancing, a new smooth surface in front of the sta

August 20 – Percussionist Louie Romero y Mazacote kicks the Festival in gear at the first show with dancer-friendly blends of Salsa, Cha-Cha, Timba, Cuban Guajira and Puerto Rican Bomba. Added to the lineup is Alfonso Lopez performing songs encompassing many different styles of music from around the globe.

August 27 – a great R&B review called:  Acoustic Soul Fest- Vol. 2 celebrates the brilliant Soul Culture of the Bay Area, featuring San Francisco native and McLaren Park neighborhood resident, Martin Luther McCoy.

September 10 – The 4th Annual Kid’s’ Festival – Featuring The Not-Its, JAM with Charity Kahn, Tree Frog Treks, The Exploratorium, plus magic shows and nature programs, There will be 4 Hours (11am- 3pm)  of art, music, magic, science, hikes and dance and much more. Fun for the whole family to enjoy.

 October 8 – Let the Good Times Rock’n Roll Show! Four virtuoso bands of great musicians will take you on a three and a half hour ride of dance and sing-along music when we welcome Cocker Power –A Joe Cocker Tribute Band, guitarist Lindsey Boullt, Pucci and the Pups band and Big Rain– a Rockin’ Country and Blues group.

 October 15 – In mid-October we welcome back, by popular demand, a non-stop three hours of new and traditional tunes sung and played by several of our local troubadours at The Bluegrass Festival. The Bluegrass Festival is a non-stop afternoon of new and traditional tunes sung and played by The Back Porch Band, The Beauty Operators String Band, Canyon Johnson and The Windy Hill Bluegrass Band.

October 22 – The Blues Show – our season finale concert once again offers a great lineup of local bay area blues performers, including the dynamic Tia Carroll and Bobbie “Spider” Webb. This final show also celebrates the 45th anniversary of the Amphitheater with the annual Saturday in the Park Amphitheater Birthday Party.

Thank You to the Magic Seven!

Today’s workday went extremely well even with an extremely thin crew (7 folks which included one beautiful 6 months pregnant lady!) We got the new playground in ship shape by taking down all the weeds and sweeping the rubber surfaces and paths nearby.  All the bark was spread evenly again on the landscaped areas and then we were off to the Gambier Plaza to take on the weeds around the fountain and cut back the crab grass that’s slowly starting to encroach on the plaza.  As if that wasn’t enough, my magic hardworking crew still had enough energy to  move  large amounts of wood that gardener Ken Kelley was clearing from the old Cyprus trees at the Harvard street entrance.  Please see the piles of wood for yourselves.  By this time we were all quite exhausted and we were unable to continue our efforts  on Harvard Street but there was so much to show for our hard work.

The Magic 7 at Work

Two of “Seven”

Thank you again so much to those who came out on a weekday, even during a world cup event.  It goes to show, all it takes is 7 folks to make magic happen in McLaren Park.

Pictures soon to come!

Chuck