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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, the free music festival, is scheduled to return in-person to Golden Gate Park this year for the first time since 2019. The festival will run Sept. 30 through Oct. 2.
The lineup of performers at this year’s Hardly Strictly festival has yet to be announced, with organizers planning to roll out artist announcements—via hint-filled song medleys—beginning July 26.
The all-ages festival was founded in 2001 by the late venture capitalist and bluegrass fan Warren Hellman, and has become a beginning-of-fall tradition for a generation of San Franciscans ever since. In pre-pandemic years, the fest reliably drew more than half a million people to Golden Gate Park for performances by folk and bluegrass icons like Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Steve Earle and Mavis Staples.
The 2020 and 2021 Hardly Strictly festivals were held virtually online due to COVID, with livestreams of performances by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Boz Scaggs, Chuck Prophet, Fantastic Negrito and Rainbow Girls.
Still funded by the Hellman Foundation more than a decade after its founder’s death, the festival remains free to attendees, and has never taken on corporate sponsors, making it a cherished anomaly in the current music festival landscape.
Visit the festival’s website for more information and lineup announcements beginning next week.