SF Rec & Park Celebrates 16th Annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park

SAN FRANCISCO — This weekend, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department will celebrate the 16th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, an admission-free music festival in the heart of Golden Gate Park. The festival features more than 100 musical artists on seven stages. Opening acts begin at 12p.m. Friday. The music runs through the weekend and ends Sunday evening with performances by T Bone Burnett, CAKE, Dropkick Murphy’s, and repeat star Emmylou Harris. Other highlights include Mavis Staples, Conor Oberst, Steve Earle & the Dukes, Cyndi Lauper, Chris Isaak, Glen Hansard, and the Time Jumpers.

The event is a philanthropic dream of the late Warren Hellman, whose family foundation continues to pay for the festival. Several of the stages will be located in Hellman Hollow. Now, more than 750,000 people come out to enjoy the music each year.

“Providing music of this caliber for free in our beloved Golden Gate Park is an experience of a lifetime,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec & Park General Manager. “We’re extremely grateful to the late Warren Hellman and his family for their generosity in supporting San Francisco parks, and for making the arts within them a priority.”

Josh Brough, co-founder and banjo player in Poor Man’s Whiskey, has played at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass each year since 2004.

“Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is hands down the best festival in the world not only because it’s in Golden Gate Park, but because everyone can feel the spirit of the festival’s founding father, Warren Hellman,” Brough said. “Warren was a man that humbly and sincerely loved music and the city of San Francisco from behind the scenes. He shared his love with the world in the most generous, and free-spirited way. His legacy lives on with the sound of the banjo ringing through the wind of Golden Gate Park.”

“We’re so excited to work with Rec & Park again this year to put on the city’s best party,” said Laurel Hellman, the eldest granddaughter of Warren and Chris Hellman. “It’s become the event we plan our year around and we couldn’t be more thankful for everyone who helps.”

Before his passing in 2011, Mr. Hellman began the tradition of holding special pre-festival concerts for thousands of San Francisco school children in Golden Gate Park. Like last year, this year’s educational component will take place as part of the Daniel Pearl World Music Days.

In addition to music, there will be 50 food vendors that will be selling paella, pizza slices, spicy pies, tamales, and veggie wraps (to name a few). There will also be a silent disco all three days between the Rooster and Banjo stages. Silent disco begins at 1:30pm on Friday and 12:00pm on Saturday and Sunday.

-Maps, schedules of performances, and bios of the artists can be found here: http://www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com/2016/

-For other questions, including a list of road closures in Golden Gate Park, visit: http://www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com/2016/info/

-Neighborhood comments or complaints during the festival should be directed to the Community Hotline: 415-650-3080

Getting there:

Hardly Strictly is strongly encouraging festival-goers to take public transportation. Here are some options:

  • Extra MUNI service will run from 11 AM to 8 PM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For up to date information on the 5, 5R, 5X Fulton, 31 Balboa, 38 Geary, and N-Judah, visit sfmta.comand 511.org
  • Taxi stands will be located at: Fulton from 29th to 28th, Fulton from 36th to 35th, Lincoln from Sunset to 25th
  • Ride-sharing drop-off and pick-up location: Balboa & 30th


At the organizers request, Hardly Strictly does not issue press passes. Photography is allowed, but no professional video shooting is allowed due to artist request.


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