Moonalice at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2018 in Golden Gate Park, by Ria Burman

Ask your local Bay Area music fan when the unofficial start of fall in San Francisco begins, and don’t be surprised when they say Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Music Festival.

After 18 years of growth, the 19th official HSB is slated to return to Golden Gate Park on Friday, October 4 and runs through Sunday, October 6. Officially one year beyond “adulthood,” the organizers of HSB have been feeling retrospective, and it shows in the lineup. ICYMI, the first wave of the festival’s lineup was officially released on Thursday, July 25. The release was timed for the 85th birthday of HSB founder Warren Hellman who created the festival in 2001.

“To me, this lineup reflects our event’s legacy while looking ahead to the future,” says the festival’s current talent buyer Chris Porter. “Steve Earle has been celebrating with us since 2002 and artists like Margo Price and DahkaBrakha are making their first Hardly Strictly Bluegrass appearances.”

The initial lineup also includes: the Milk Carton Kids, a Calexico and Iron & Wine collab, Bettye LaVetteHayes Carllthe Meat Puppetsthe Waterboys, and the Bay Area’s own Jackie Greene.

Many of the performers are also participating in Hardly Strictly Out of the Park — a series of evening shows at venues that raises money for Music in the Schools Today. Jackie Greene, Meat Puppets, Hayes Carll, Calexico, Iron & Wine, and the Waterboys will perform at Out of the Park shows. Some of the performances and dates have yet to be announced, but at the bottom of this article, check out the schedule that is already out.

The exact portion of Golden Gate Park that will be barred off for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass consists of Hellman Hollow, Lindley Meadow, and Marx Meadow. Gates open at 10am all weekend. On Friday, the music starts at noon but on Saturday and Sunday things start rolling at 11am.

Food and non-alcoholic beverage vendors will be stationed around the park. No alcoholic beverages will be sold during the festival, but patrons are allowed to bring beer and/or wine. Glass bottles will not be allowed. In addition, coolers, blankets, and short-back chairs are allowed. Cameras are allowed, but not tripods or other intrusive equipment. Due to limited parking surrounding Golden Gate Park, attendees are highly encouraged to use public transit, rideshare, bike, or walk instead of driving.

September 21 – Jackie Greene – Sweetwater in the Sun – Novato, CA
October 5 – Hayes Carll – Sweetwater Music Hall – Mill Valley, CA
October 5 – Meat Puppets – Ivy Room – Albany, CA
October 6 – Calexico and Iron & Wine – Mountain Winery – Saratoga, CA
October 8-9 – Dahkabrahka – Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse – Berkeley, CA
October 11 – The Waterboys – The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA

19th Annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Music Festival
October 4-6, 2019
Golden Gate Park
10am, FREE