Sigmund Stern Grove heavily damaged after water main break, final festival concert canceled

Sigmund Stern Grove, Stern Grove Festival

Flooding damage from a water main break at Sigmund Stern Grove in San Francisco on Monday, Aug. 23. Courtesy.

A water main rupture on Sloat Avenue on Monday has heavily damaged Sigmund Stern Grove park in San Francisco, causing the cancellation of the final concert of the Stern Grove Festival, with Too $hort and Tower of Power.

Sigmund Stern Grove, Stern Grove Festival

Flooding damage from a water main break at Sigmund Stern Grove in San Francisco on Monday, Aug. 23.

More than 700,000 gallons of water drained down into the park, causing extensive damage and making the festival grounds unusable for public events, festival organizers said on Wednesday. The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department is assessing the long-term damage to both the grounds and surrounding treeline. For the time being, the entire site is unsafe for events of any kind.

According to San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, the rupture took place Monday afternoon, as crews were working in the area on a transmission main. A valve failed and sent water shooting into the sky before working its way into the park, where most of the damage took place. Trees were upended or had their root systems weakened, concrete walkways were washed away, and much of the backstage area was under mud, silt and sediment.



“We are devastated to announce the sudden cancellation of our season finale and annual fundraiser with Tower of Power and Too $hort,” festival Executive Director Bob Fiedler said in a written statement. “The damage is too severe to move forward safely at this time. We are grateful that no one was hurt, and we are proud to have overcome so many challenges this year to have presented nine exceptional concerts for more than 50,000 people. We look forward to restoring the Grove and being able to welcome the community back next year.”

Sigmund Stern Grove, Stern Grove Festival

Flooding damage from a water main break at Sigmund Stern Grove in San Francisco on Monday, Aug. 23.

The 84th annual iteration of the Stern Grove Festival began with high hopes amid decreasing COVID-19 cases, but as the summer continued and the Delta variant became more prominent, more attendance restrictions were re-added in San Francisco. Yet it wasn’t COVID-19 that forced Stern Grove Festival to conclude its season early, but another tragedy.

No injuries were reported in the water main break, according to San Francisco officials.

The festival is accepting donations now to restore the park. Donations can be made online, or by texting STERNGROVE to 56512.



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