Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival to open tomorrow

Riley Overend

Elvis Costello will headline the opening day of Hardly Strictly when he performs Friday in Golden Gate Park

Bluegrass purists, local festival enthusiasts, and a wide variety of music lovers will all flock to Golden Gate Park this weekend to attend the 12th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival.

Although the three-day function will be competing with other popular events in San Francisco such as America’s Cup preliminary races, Giants’ playoff games, and Fleet Week, it is still expected to draw around 800,000 people to the park over the course of the festival.

This year, Hardly Strictly has a star-studded lineup including big names like Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, and Emmylou Harris.  Other up-and-coming artists like The Civil Wars and The Lumineers are also scheduled to play.

Many performers have decided to return to the festival to honor the passing of Warren Hellman, who began the festival back in 2001.

Hellman was a bluegrass fan who struck it rich in the corporate world and wanted to give back by providing the city with a family-friendly, free bluegrass festival.  Not only did he succeed, but he also expanded the concerts by opening them up to a wider variety of artists.

Hellman died last year after a battle with Leukemia, but he left his family with an endowment that ensured the festival’s continuance for years to come.