Despite the sad fact that Warren Hellman (lower right), the financier/music fanatic who created and fully funded the big San Francisco annual, free, weekend long Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, passed away last December at the age of 77 due to complications from leukemia, the wonderful festival in Golden Gate Park that he is responsible for lives on in his absence. And this year's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, happening this weekend Friday to Sunday, Oct 5th to 7th, is one that Hellman would definitely have approved of.
This year's Hardly Strictly (the festival's twelfth year) boasts another rich and diverse lineup that includes such artists as Elvis Costello solo, Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express (Friday), The Chieftains, Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock, Les Claypool's Duo De Twang, The Cowboy Junkies (all on Saturday), Patti Smith and her band, The Knitters, and Doug Sahm's Phantom Playboys featuring Dave Alvin, Boz Scaggs, Steve Earle, Jimmie Vaughan, and Delbert McClinton (all on Sunday's lineup). That list of acts is amazing in and of itself. But the fact that those artists only amount to small fraction of the total number of acts scheduled over the three day fest at the six different stages between Hellman Hollow and Lindley Meadows makes it even more mind-boggling.