Thousands attend SF’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival


The 19th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco saw over 80 diverse acts perform during a three-day concert over the weekend that drew over 300,000 people to Golden Gate Park.

Robert Plant mugs for the crowd during his headlining performance at The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park Saturday evening.


A gift from the late Warren Hellman to music fans throughout the Bay Area and beyond, the concerts started out as a free festival devoted to bluegrass music but has evolved to include many different genre’s of sound as it’s grown into one of the largest free festivals in the country.

Country singer Margo Price performs on the Banjo Stage during the Hardly Strictly Bluesgrass festival at Golden Gate Park.


Hellman, a successful financier and philanthropist who was an amateur banjo player himself, passed away in 2011, but his parting gift was creating an endowment to cover the costs that would ensure that the festival would continue long after he was gone.

Calexico and Iron & Wine perform together on the Towers of Gold Stage during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.


Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Robert Plant, Emmylou Harris, Grace Potter, Tanya Tucker, St.Paul & The Broken Bones, The Waterboys, Margo Price, Judy Collins and Joan Osborne were among the performers at this years festival.

Hordes of fans flocked to the three-day Hardly Strictly Bluesgrass festival at Golden Gate Park.


While Harris has traditionally closed out the three day Festival, it was Plant’s Saturday evening performance at dusk that was the most transcendent. Playing to an overflow crowd that had Lindley Meadow bursting at the seams, the former Led Zeppelin lead singer and Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Famer delivered an eclectic 75 minute set of solo and cover material along with a generous dose of choice Zeppelin cuts including “When the Levee Breaks,” “ Black Dog,” “Gallows Pole” and a curfew busting “Ramble On.”

A young fan rises above it all Saturday afternoon at the Hardly Strictly Bluesgrass festival at Golden Gate Park.


A boy climbs tree to find a creative way to get a better look at the action during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Par.


About Daniel Gluskoter

Daniel Gluskoter is the Martinez Tribune's national music and sports editor and a Bay Area photojournalist who's work has been featured in Rolling Stone, Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2008 Presidential campaign as a correspondent for United Press International and has travelled worldwide covering events ranging from numerous Super Bowls and Olympics to Live Aid and the Grammys.

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