Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Announces Streaming Festival “Let the Music Play On…”

Some of my fondest memories of my 5 years in San Francisco was attending the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass roots music festival. The first weekend in October would roll around and me, my daughter and friends would pack blankets, food and plenty of water and head our to Golden Gate Park to witness some of American’s greatest legends and boldest newcomers perform under the Blue Gum Eucalyptus during a brief Indian Summer. And I could hardly believe the entire event was free! (Thank you, Warren Hellman!)

But times have changed and so must HSB.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is launching its new global and community-driven initiative “Let the Music Play On…” to bring the spirit of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to backyards and living rooms all over the world with a global broadcast taking place the weekend of October 2nd. In compliance with safety concerns and California’s statewide mandate against large public gatherings, the festival will not be taking place in its traditional setting of Golden Gate Park.

The festival, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year, was founded by Warren Hellman on ten pillars: community, joy, creativity, collaboration, freedom, peace, love, respect, gratitude, and spirituality. It was Hellman’s gift to the City of San Francisco, offering a free outdoor festival in the historic Golden Gate Park that is a celebration of American roots music.

The October broadcast will feature new performances from the expansive range of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass artists that include first-time performers to legends of American Roots music, along with archival footage from the festival’s past two decades and memories from fans, performers, and staff and priceless gems from the festival’s rich history. The HSB community is what gives the festival life, so fans are encouraged to send their favorite memories via stories, videos, and photos to memories@hardlystrictlybluegrass.org. All contributions are welcome and appreciated, and will be considered for the broadcast in October.

“While we know we can’t replace the feeling of being together physically, the safety of our attendees, artists, volunteers, and staff are our highest priority and our team has been hard at work creating a vibrant broadcast in line with what attendees have come to expect from HSB: community, discovery, and the all-time best in roots music, ” says festival advisor Mick Hellman. “We’re excited to share parts of HSB that aren’t feasible in a festival environment such as screening archival footage, sharing memories, and shining a spotlight on our non-profit partners.”

This year the festival has launched Hardly Strictly Music Relief Fund: Bay Area, a $1.5M charitable initiative to support the local music community during the COVID-19 pandemic. American roots musicians living in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, and Sonoma Counties are invited to apply for one-time, unrestricted support grants up to $2,000. The fund is also open to Bay Area music venues with a track record of presenting and supporting roots music of all kinds. Venues are encouraged to nominate themselves for the grant opportunity. From those nominations, a select number of venues will be invited to submit a formal application for up to $200,000 in grant funding for operating expenses, capacity building, or planning related to reopening, and must include funds dedicated to front-of-house and back-of-house staff.

For more information on the grant opportunities visit hardlystrictlybluegrass.com

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2015 Lineup

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2015

As they have done the last few years organizers of San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival have trotted out over a few say streaming teaser mixes from their upcoming bill.

It’s a playful challenge for the thousands of fans that attend the free three day roots music festival at Hellman Hollow and Marx and Lindley meadows in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to lend their ears and make their best guess as to who those 100 musical acts that will play seven stages.

Over the years I’ve attended the event it’s always unlike any live event I’ve attended. The Bay chill is tempers by warming temperatures and fleet week has the United States Navy’s flight demonstration squadron The Blue Angels zipping high overhead the largely mellow crowd enjoying great music rolling through the rolling fields under the Eucalyptus, Monterey pine, and Monterey cypress trees.

Stumped or just want to cut to the chase? Hood thing the full bill has just been confirmed.

Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin with The Guilty Ones
Scott Miller & The Commonwealth’s Ladies Auxiliary
Spirit Family Reunion
Nick Lowe
Jim White vs. The Packway Handle Band
Joe Pug
Tim Barry
Tony Joe White
Buddy Miller
Anderson East
The Oh Hellos
Robyn Hitchcock
Nels Cline & Julian Lage
The New Mastersounds
Asleep At The Wheel
Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys
Flogging Molly
Delbert McClinton
Fantastic Negrito
Gregory Alan Isakov
Steve Earle & The Dukes
Jamey Johnson
Michael Franti & Spearhead
The Milk Carton Kids
Hot Tuna Electric
The Mavericks
Doobie Decibel System
Joe Jackson
Fairfield Four
Indigo Girls
Gillian Welch
Lera Lynn
Neko Case
Lee Ann Womack
Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds
Angel Olsen
Beth Hart
Heidi Clare & The Goose Tatums
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
Paul Weller
Boz Scaggs
The Stone Foxes
Ben Miller Band
Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires
Leftover Salmon
The Blind Boys of Alabama
Chicano Batman
Pokey LaFarge

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2015
Three days, seven stages, over 100 artists
Friday-Sunday, October 2-4, 2015
Hellman Hollow, Lindley & Marx meadows in Golden Gate Park

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival – Sunday10/2 Recommendations

As I wait patiently for my last-minute backstage access I give to you Sunday Recommendations. Sunday will be a travel day for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival stages. The great stuff is scattered like medicinal Mary-Jane smoke in the Golden Gate Park wind. As in HSB in the past.The most fun by far will be on thePorch Stage at 1:25pm with Those Darlins.  Ms. Emmylou Harris closing the event is the place to be at the Banjo Stage 5:45.
Banjo Stage

11:00am Dry Branch Fire Squad
1:20pm Bela Fleck & Zakir Hussain & Edgar Meyer
2:45pm The Blind Boys of Alabama
4:15pm Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys
5:45pm Emmylou Harris

   Rooster Stage
11:00am Jessica Lea Mayfield
12:05pm Kevin Welch & Kieran Kane & Fats Kaplin
1:20pm Brokedown in Bakersfield (featuring Nicki & Tim Bluhm, Scott Law, Lebo, Steve Adams & Dave Brogan)
2:10pm Ollabelle
4:15pm Justin Townes Earle
5:45pm The Jayhawks

Star Stage
11:45am The Low Anthem
1:20pm Dr. John & The Lower 911
3:05pm DeVotchKa
4:50pm Elbow

Towers of Gold Stage

11:00am Abigail Washburn
12:30pm Buddy Miller

Arrow Stage

11:00am Joe Purdy
1:10pm The Devil Makes Three
4:00pm Mother Hips

   Porch Stage
12:10pm Dive Bar Dukes
1:25pm Those Darlins
2:40pm Frank Fairfield
3:55pm The Swanson Family Band
5:10pm Over The Rhine

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival – Saturday 10/1 Recommendations

Saturday is where things really take off. On Friday the main Banjo stage would have been a fine place to park your blanket to get the most for your musical enjoyment and Saturday is also the case.   Greensky Bluegrass, Alison Brown, Earl Scruggs, Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings and Steve Earl. The last few years  The Arrow Stage has been the place for Texas performers and this Saturday follows that theme –   featuring The Band of Heathens, Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses, Reckless Kelly and The Flatlanders (Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock) The crowning jewel of this day is the legendary Kris Kristofferson & Merle Haggard performing together on the Star Stage at 2:20.
Banjo Stage
11:00am Greensky Bluegrass
12:00pm Alison Brown
2:45pm Earl Scruggs
4:15pm Gillian Welch
5:45pm Steve Earle & the Dukes (& Duchesses) featuring Allison Moorer

Rooster Stage
11:00am The Wronglers with Jimmie Dale Gilmore
1:35pm Guy Clark & Verlon Thompson
2:50pm Patty Griffin
4:15pm Punch Brothers
5:45pm Robert Earl Keen

Star Stage
12:30pm Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
2:20pm Kris Kristofferson & Merle Haggard

Towers Of Gold Stage
11:40am Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder

Arrow Stage
12:15pm The Band of Heathens
2:55pm Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses
4:25pm Reckless Kelly
5:45pm The Flatlanders feat. Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock