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Get Pumped for Hardly Strictly in San Francisco

Get Pumped for Hardly Strictly in San Francisco

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2019 is right around the corner, so it's time to start planning your trip to the free music fest in San Francisco. Team


5 min read

September 27, 2019

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2019 is merely one week away, so it’s time to finalize your pilgrimage from Humboldt, plan your journey from the East Bay, or book your flight from San Diego to make it to the free San Francisco music fest. Golden Gate Park will be filled with unforgettable musicians, top-notch food vendors, and hundreds of thousands of your closest friends on October 4, 5, and 6.

Before you go, take a look at your concert checklist and pack up your short-backed chairs, blankets, reusable water bottles, cameras, and mineral sunscreen. While you can bring your own picnic to enjoy on the lawn, you can also take advantage of the tasty bites from local eateries (like macaroni and cheese from the Mac Shack, Filipino fusion from Señor Sisig, and Argentinian-inspired empanadas from El Sur)—but whatever you choose to do, make sure to leave no trace. 

The wait is nearly over, so get pumped for Hardly Strictly

History of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival

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The festival began in 2001 under the name “Strictly Bluegrass”. Founder Warren Hellman lived in San Francisco and envisioned the event to feature only bluegrass artists. While this quickly changed to encompass a wide range of music genres—leading to the addition of “Hardly” to the name in 2004—the music festival has continued to highlight the best in bluegrass. Hardly Strictly has become a true San Francisco tradition over the decades, compelling hundreds of thousands of people to attend the free event every year.

Hardly Strictly bluegrass 2019 Info


Friday, October 4

  • Gates open at 10 a.m.
  • Music starts at 12 p.m.
  • Music stops at 7 p.m.

Saturday, October 5

  • Gates open at 10 a.m.
  • Music starts at 11 a.m.
  • Music stops at 7 p.m.

Sunday, October 6

  • Gates open at 10 a.m.
  • Music starts at 11 a.m.
  • Music stops at 7 p.m.



Performances take place at the Hellman Hollow (previously known as Speedway Meadows), Lindley, and Marx meadows in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

Getting to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 

Public Transportation

Take BART from East Bay locations and transfer to Muni. The 29 Sunset line runs through the park on Crossover Drive. Alternatively, you can take the following Muni routes:

  • Muni service to the north side of Golden Gate Park: 5 Fulton, 5R Fulton Rapid, 31 Balboa, 38 Geary and 38R Geary Rapid buses
  • Muni service to the south side of Golden Gate Park: N Judah train and the 7 Haight/Noriega bus


Ride Shares

Since there will be more traffic than usual, ride shares will only pick up passengers from the designated areas. These can be found Friday through Sunday, from 2 to 8 p.m., at the following locations:

North Side

  • Balboa Street, between 30th Avenue & 31st Avenue
  • Balboa Street, at 31st Avenue (100 feet westward)


West Side 

  • 30th Avenue, between Balboa & Anza 


East Side

  • 32nd Avenue, between Balboa & Anza


Additional pick-up areas are available Friday through Sunday, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the following locations:

North Side

  • Irving Street, at 26th Avenue (100 feet eastward)


South Side

  • Richmond Serenity Spa: Balboa Street, at 36th Avenue (100 feet eastward)
  • Balboa BiRite: Market Street, at 26th Avenue (100 feet eastward)


Taxi Pick-Up Areas

  • Fulton from 29th to 28th Avenues
  • Fulton from 36th to 35th Avenues


Parking Lots

  • George Washington High School: 600 32nd Avenue
  • Argonne: 680 18th Avenue


Additional lots on Saturday and Sunday are located here:

  • Lafayette Elementary School: 4545 Anza Street at 36th Avenue
  • Jefferson Elementary School: 1725 Irving Street 
  • Lawton Alternative School: 1570 31st Avenue


Hardly Strictly Lineup

Here are the incredible musicians performing at this year's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.

Friday, October 4

Bandwagon Stage

  • 12:30-1:15 p.m.: The Letterboxers & Model $Tudentz
  • 2:10-2:45 p.m.: The Brothers Gibb
  • 3:40-4:10 p.m.: Will Kimbrough
  • 5:10-5:50 p.m.: Bedouine


Banjo Stage

  • 12:00-12:45 p.m.: Dry Branch Fire Squad
  • 1:20-2:05 p.m.: Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
  • 2:45-3:35 p.m.: Kronos Quartet's Music For Change
  • 4:15-5:05 p.m.: Tanya Tucker
  • 5:55-7:00 p.m.: St. Paul & The Broken Bones


Rooster Stage

  • 12:20-1:05 p.m.: Chastity Brown
  • 1:35-2:25 p.m.: Bill Frisell 
  • 2:55-3:45 p.m.: Shooter Jennings
  • 4:20-5:20 p.m.: Bettye Lavette
  • 5:55-6:55 p.m.: The Milk Carton Kids


Swan Stage

  • 12:15-1:00 p.m.: Poor Man’s Whiskey
  • 1:35-2:25 p.m.: Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express
  • 2:55-3:55 p.m.: The Waterboys


Towers of Gold State

  • 4:00-7:00 p.m.: Live From Here With Chris Thile With Grace Potters & J.S. Ondara


Saturday, October 5

Porch Stage

  • 11:00-11:40 a.m.: Whiskerman
  • 12:10-12:50 p.m.: Mary Gauthier
  • 1:20-2:00 p.m.: Adia Victoria
  • 2:30-3:15 p.m.: The Long Ryders
  • 3:45-4:30 p.m.: John Kay
  • 5:00-5:40 p.m.: Sierra Hull
  • 6:10-7:00 p.m.: John Craigie


Bandwagon Stage

  • 11:50 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Joan Shelley
  • 1:30-2:10 p.m.: Marco and The Polos
  • 3:10-3:50 p.m.: Ismay Presents Songs And Stories From Sonoma Mountain
  • 5:00-5:40 p.m.: Caitlin Canty


Banjo Stage

  • 11:00-11:45 a.m.: Hot Buttered Rum
  • 12:35-1:25 p.m.: Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands
  • 2:15-3:05 p.m.: The Flatlanders
  • 3:55-4:55 p.m.: Margo Price
  • 5:45-7:00 p.m.: Steve Earle & The Dukes


Rooster Stage

  • 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: The Go To Hell Man Band
  • 12:30-1:10 p.m.: Travis Meadows
  • 1:25-2:10 p.m.: Bobby Braddock
  • 2:25-3:10 p.m.: Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley
  • 3:25-4:10 p.m.: Yola
  • 4:25-5:15 p.m.: Buddy Miller & Dirk Powell With Stuart Duncan
  • 5:45-7:00 p.m.: Hot Tuna Electric


Swan Stage

  • 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: The Budos Band
  • 1:20-2:10 p.m.: Hayes Carll
  • 3:00-3:50 p.m.: Robert Earl Keen
  • 5:00-5:50 p.m.: The New Pornographers


Towers of Gold Stage

  • 11:00-11:45 a.m.: John Langford and The Skull Orchard Welsh Male Voice Choir
  • 12:30-1:20 p.m.: Mercury Rev & Beth Orton Perform Bobbie Gentry’s The Delta Sweete
  • 2:10-3:00 p.m.: Tank & The Bangas
  • 3:50-5:00 p.m.: Calexico and Iron & Wine
  • 5:50-7:00 p.m.: Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters


Sunday, October 6

Porch Stage

  • 11:00-11:40 a.m.: Moshe Vilozny
  • 12:10-12:50 p.m.: Parsonsfield
  • 1:20-2:00 p.m.: Dakhabrakha
  • 2:30-3:10 p.m.: Y La Bamba
  • 3:40-4:25 p.m.: Mdou Moctar
  • 4:55-5:40 p.m.: Daniel Norgren
  • 6:10-7:00 p.m.: The Wild Reeds 


Bandwagon Stage

  • 11:50 a.m.-12:25 p.m.: Mapache
  • 1:25-2:00 p.m.: Nancy & The Lambchops
  • 3:10-3:50 p.m.: Flor de Toloache
  • 5:00-5:40 p.m.: Wood & Wire


Banjo Stage

  • 11:00-11:45 a.m.: Bill Kirchen
  • 12:30-1:20 p.m.: Liz Cooper & The Stampede
  • 2:05-3:05 p.m.: Judy Collins
  • 3:55-4:55 Mandolin Orange
  • 5:45-7:00 Emmylou Harris


Rooster Stage

  • 11:00-11:45 a.m.: Robert Ellis
  • 12:15-1:00 p.m.: The Infamous Stringdusters
  • 1:30-2:20 p.m.: Rayland Baxter
  • 2:55-3:45 p.m.: Joan Osborne
  • 4:25-5:20 p.m.: Michael Nesmith & The First National Band
  • 6:00-7:00 p.m.: Punch Brothers


Swan Stage

  • 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Moonalice
  • 1:20-2:10 p.m.: Fantastic Negrito
  • 3:00-3:50 p.m.: Meat Puppets
  • 4:45-5:50 p.m.: Jackie Greene


Towers of Gold Stage

  • 11:00-11:45 a.m.: Nikki Lane
  • 12:30-1:20 p.m.: Pimps of Joytime
  • 2:10-3:00 p.m.: Hiss Golden Messenger
  • 3:50-4:45 p.m.: Lebo & Friends 
  • 5:50-7:00 p.m.: Kurt Vile and The Violators


Check the Hardly Strictly website to review the map of the venue and get hyped for what’s in store.

Hardly Strictly Out of the Park

In addition to performing at the festival, several Hardly Strictly artists will take the stage at venues across the San Francisco Bay Area as part of the Hardly Strictly Out of the Park. With each ticket purchase, $1 will go toward Music in the Schools Today, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating music education programs that increase student achievement. Here is the 2019 schedule for Hardly Strictly Out of the Park:

September 21: Jackie Greene, Sweetwater in the Sun, Novato

October 3: Milk Carton Kids with Rodes Rollins, Terrapin Crossroads, San Rafael

October 3: Steve Earle with Lake Charlatans, Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley (benefitting Autistry Studios)

October 4: Robert Earl Keen, Mystic Theater, Petaluma

October 4: Amanda Richards & The Good Long Whiles, Echoes & Artifacts, and Fog Holler; Amnesia; San Francisco

October 5: Hayes Carll with Purple Glaze, Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley

October 5: Meat Puppets, Ivy Room, Albany

October 5: Kurt Vile & The Violators with Jon Langford and the Skull Orchard Welsh Male Voice Choir, The Fillmore, San Francisco

October 6: Calexico and Iron & Wine, Mountain Winery, Saratoga

October 6: Mandolin Orange with Ismay, The Chapel, San Francisco

October 8–9: DakhaBrakha, Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, Berkeley

October 11: The Waterboys, The Fillmore, San Francisco

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