Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Free Entry

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014

San Francisco, California, USA
Golden Gate Park
37.769816, -122.486146 (View Map)
3 Days (Tue, 03 Oct 2017 - Thu, 05 Oct 2017)
Ticket Price
Festival Planned

Join over 800,000 people in San Francisco for the 14th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Despite it’s name, the festival is not a dedicated bluegrass festival and hosts some of the finest (unpaid) artists from all over the world.

The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival is a FREE event with a BYO booze policy. It’s an excellent festival and one you should put on your calendars if you can.


Video Highlights of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

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2001 Strictly Bluegrass Festival Poster

2001 Strictly Bluegrass Festival Poster

The Annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival was founded in 2001 by venture capitalist Warren Hellman who even today continues to keep the festival a completely free and none-commercial event even even after being offered many sponsorships by various corporations over the years.

Originally the festival was founded for strictly bluegrass music but from the very first festival musical genres were mixed. It wasn’t until 2004 when ‘Hardly’ was added to the festival name to help clarify what one could expect withing the festival; Previously the name stood as ‘Strictly Bluegrass’.

The first years festival in 2001 attracted 20,000 people over 2 stages.

In 2011 the festival attracted around 750,000 people over 6 stages and was dedicated in memory of Hellman’s Friend, Hazel Dickens who died a few months earlier yet had performed at HSB every year since it started.

Warren Hellman Oral History on Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival

A number of performers attend the festival each year. Some notible artists who’ve played more than 5 times at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival are as follows:

Kevin Welch & Kieran Kane & Fats Kaplin
Hazel Dickens
Guy Clark & Verlon Thompson
The Del McCoury Band
Earl Scruggs
Dry Branch Fire Squad
Emmylou Harris
Gillian Welch
Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
Robert Earl Keen
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Lineup & Schedule

The 2014 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (HSB) lineup has not yet been announced (expected early September 2014).

Check back regularly for further updates…
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If you’ve heard any rumors of who might be playing or headlining then please leave them in the comments section below.

who do you want to perform at this years fest?

Show the 2013 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass lineup...
Jesse Dee
The Felice Brothers
Robert Ellis
Jim Lauderdale
The Flatlanders
Sonny & The Sunsets
The Wood Brothers
Dave Alvin with Greg Leisz
Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers
Father John Misty
Laurie Lewis And The Right Hands
Dry Branch Fire Squad
Robert Earl Keen
Yungchen Lhamo
Edie Brickell
Fats Kaplin
Tim O’Brien with Bryan Sutton & Mike Bub
Paul Kelly
Kieran Kane
Alison Brown
Jake Bellows
The Deep Dark Woods
Shovels & Rope
Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers
Nick Lowe
Conor Oberst
Emmylou Harris
Della Mae
The Evens
Jesse DeNatale
Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside
Sturgill Simpson
Bonnie Raitt
Steve Earle and the Dukes
The Brothers Comatose
Tift Merritt
Bettye LaVette
Darrell Scott
Justin Townes Earle
Jon Langford
Patty Griffin
Evolfo Doofeht
Time Jumpers
Richard Thompson
Mike Bub
The Devil Makes Three
Chris Isaak
Tim O’Brien
MC Hammer
The Cave Singers
Mark Lanegan
The Waterboys
First Aid Kit
Kevin Welch
Manchester Orchestra
Billy Bragg
Kat Edmonson
Bryan Sutton
Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Revue
Boz Scaggs
Joy Kills Sorrow
Spirit Family Reunion
Peter Rowan
Mike Scott & Steve Wickham
Natalie Maines
The Forest Rangers
The Forest Rangers with Katey Sagal
The Warren Hood Band
Seldom Scene
Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch And Fats Kaplin
Ryan Bingham
Jon Langford & Skull Orchard
Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale
Tumbleweed Wanderers
Jerry Douglas
G. Love & Special Sauce
Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band featuring Yungchen Lhamo
Poor Man’s Whiskey
Loudon Wainwright III
The Handsome Family
Elvin Bishop
Trampled by Turtles
Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band
String Cheese Incident
Steep Canyon Rangers
Steve Martin
Tim O’brien And Darrell Scott
The Go To Hell Man Clan
Martha Wainwright
Dave Alvin
Ralph Stanley And The Clinch Mountain Boys
Buddy Miller
Los Lobos
Gogol Bordello
Pieta Brown
Katey Sagal


Please help secure the future of this event by sharing on your social media channels. It only takes 2 seconds and with your support we can increase exposure of the event, boost ticket sales, attract more festival-goers and organize better festivals for the future. We need your support, if you can, please help. Thank you.


There are no tickets for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass as it is a FREE event.


Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park attracts over 13 million visitors to it’s 1,017 arches (412 ha) of beautiful park landscapes each year. The Golden Gate Park is the 3rd most visited park in the United States and is free to enjoy by members of the public all year round. Quick Fact: The Golden Gate Park is 20% larger than Central Park in New York, dimentions 4.8km x 0.8km.

Within the Golden Gate Park you’ll find an oasis of flowers, trees, lakes and beautiful landscapes. There are a couple of small museums located within the park itself along with many places to participate in sporting activities. The park was first opened in 1870 with the view to provide a natural getaway from the growing city of San Francisco for years to come.

Originally the area was covered in sand dunes but is now host to over 75,000 trees. More detailed information on the Golden Gate Park and here on Wikipedia.

Address: 1199 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122, United States
Phone: (415) 661-1316 / (415) 831-2700
Parking: Yes
Restrooms: Yes


Food Truck at Golden Gate Park

Food Truck at Golden Gate Park

There will be in excess of 50 food and drink vendors at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival this year offering the best food the Bay Area has to offer. Most of the food vendors are spotted around the park itself.

Most people who come to the festival decide to bring a picnic with them along with some beer and wine to help enjoy the festival to the max.

Note that there is NO alcohol being sold within the park, however, alcohol (beer & wine, no hard liquor) is allowed to be bought into the grounds so long as park rules (bbq rules) are respected and that all rubbish is taken back with you after each day. A waste management team will sweep the park grounds after the last concert each evening and remove everything that is left so please do not try to ‘reserve’ space by leaving personal possessions.

Flights & Transportation

San Francisco Airport (SFO) terminal map

San Francisco Airport (SFO) terminal map

The closest international airport to the Golden Gate Park is San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Distance from San Francisco Airport to Golden Gate Park is 25 km (15 miles), transport time around 25 minutes in a car or taxi.

Currently 26 airlines operate from San Francisco Airport including:

British Airways (Cheapest)
Virgin Atlantic (Personal Favourite)
Swiss (Best Service)
Lufthansa (Most Reliable)

To get the best flight deals I would use SkyScanner‘s official search widget below.

Transport options from San Francisco Airport to Golden Gate Park.

Hotels & Accommodation

The cheapest hotel and accommodation options I could find in and around San Francisco during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival (early October) are shown below (Click HERE for a complete list).

*** Hotel prices rise exponentially as you get closer to the festival dates. Book early to avoid disappointment. ***

Hotels Combined

If you are on a super shoe-string budget then search HostelWorld and get a bed in San Francisco for as little as $27.50!

Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square inside room

Easily the nicest hotel in San Francisco!

Check out the nicest hotel in San Francisco >>

I would recommend checking San Francisco hotel reviews on TripAdvisor prior to placing any booking. Alternatively, why don’t you try something different and rent someones apartment during the festival period at AirBnB?! Click here for a free £15 credit towards your first booking!

The Presidio - Rob Hill Campground

The Presidio – Rob Hill Campground

Note that there is NO TENT CAMPING at the HSB Festival. However, if you really did want to camp, either in a tent or your RV/Motorhome, then you can check out the nearby facilities at The Presidio – Rob Hill Campground or the RV park by Candlestick park.


We currently have not been able to interview anybody at HSB fest, if you work for the festival and would like to answer a few questions for this section of your listing, please contact me so that we can get something arranged, thank you.

Outside of the Festival

If you’re coming from afar to visit the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival then you might want to take a few days out and experience the other highlights that San Francisco has to offer. I’ve put together a small list of the best things to do in San Francisco. Enjoy!

Marin Headlands - San Francisco

Marin Headlands

Go for a drive, walk or hike along one of the most beautiful coastal paths in the USA, the Marin Headlands.

Take the time out to see the rodeo beach, mammal center, point bonita, the missile batteries, golden gate view point & scenic drive.

If you decide to rent a bike and go for a ride then please be warned that some of the hills are pretty steep. The former US Army base along the way is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation area. Reviews on Yelp.com.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Take a walk across the most photographed bridge in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge. The views of the city and surrounding area from the Golden Gate Bridge are some of the best in San Francisco. A couple of interesting facts and figures for you:

  • Total length: 8,980′ (2,737 m)
  • Longest span: 4,200′ (1,280 m)
  • Construction started: 1933
  • Elevation: 220′ (67 m)
  • Height: 746′ (227 m)
Alcatraz - Inside Prison Cell

Alcatraz – Inside Prison Cell


One of the most famous prisons in the world, Alcatraz was a federal maximum security prison from 1934 until 1963, it was later closed due to the high running costs and security issues. The Alcatraz tour is an award winning tour that operates 7 days a week.

The Alcatraz night tour is probably one of the best and free for children under 5.

If you require any further information on this festival or would like to leave a message for others then please use the comments section below.

NB. You also find photo gallerieslive festival newstransport information in the tabbed section below. All festival listings are changing continuously, check back regularly.

Additional Resources

Post last updated by Paul Thomson on April 30, 2014
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Heart of Festival
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