In 1983, San Francisco hosted its first annual Shakespeare Festival. In its inaugural year, the festival featured free performances of The Tempest in Golden Gate Park.
Festivals are a staple of the California lifestyle. They’re also proving to be a rather undeniable part of the California economy. The festival economy seems to be growing at such an fast rate, there’s concern that it may overheat and burst. The Coachella Arts and Music Festival recently increased it’s capacity to a bulging 125,000 people. It still managed to sell out in just under three hours. The Stagecoach festival is the country music cousin of Coachella and it’s current capacity is 75,000. These two large festivals continue to sire spin off festivals within the golden state. These festivals only account for big ticket sales. The reality is that a Californian could literally spend their entire year at smaller festivals, regional events, and community events that the weather of California awards us. You could do this, and still not see everything on display.
Dance, like music, is a universal language. No words are needed to accompany the movement of bodies on a stage. Whatever our cultural background, whatever our life experience, dance exists as a powerful signifier of the human spirit and its potential. Few events recognize this power like the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. Now headed into its 39th year, the SFEDF has been highly praised by such outlets as The New York Times as being one of the most compelling annual dance events in the country. Visitors to San Francisco in the early weeks of June have the opportunity to experience for themselves this magical cultural event.