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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival 2015

Tips to Attend this Free SF Event in Golden Gate Park

Head out to Golden Gate Park for the 15th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. This free festival is October 2, 3, and 4, 2015. All festivities are held in Hellman Hollow (formerly Speedway Meadows), Lindley and Marx Meadows.

2015 details are still in the works. Read on to learn about the 2014 event and to get an idea on what to expect again this year.

Top performers this year include Chris Isaak, Dwight Yoakam and Rosanne Cash. Other musical acts included Social Distortion, Emmylou Harris, and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

In addition to live music, there are more than 50 gourmet food and beverage vendors. You are also welcome to bring your own picnics.

Alcohol is not sold at this festival, although you are allowed to bring your own in as long as you follow the park rules.

2014 Full List of Performers

Here is the full list of performers from 2014.

  • Alison Brown Quintet
  • Bad Luck Jonathan
  • Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn
  • Bill Kirchen & Too Much Fun
  • Blackie and The Rodeo Kings
  • Blue Rodeo
  • Bonnie Prince Billy & The Cairo Gang featuring Dawn McCarthy
  • Bruce Cockburn
  • Buckwheat Zydeco
  • Buddy Miller's Cavalcade of Stars: Kate York, Striking Matches, Nikki Lane, Shawn Colvin, Tony Joe White, Buddy Miller & Friends
  • Built To Spill
  • Caitlin Rose
  • Carlene Carter
  • Chris Isaak
  • Chris Smither
  • Chuck Cannon
  • Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express 'Strings In The Temple'
  • Cibo Matto
  • Conor Brings Friends For Friday Featuring: Waxahatchee
  • Conor Oberst
  • Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin with The Guilty Ones
  • Dave Rawlings Machine
  • Dawes
  • Dawn Sears and Ranger Doug Green
  • Deltron 3030 with The 3030 Orchestra
  • Dry Branch Fire Squad
  • Dwight Yoakam
  • Emmylou Harris
  • Evolfo
  • Holler Down The Hollow: A Hardly Strictly Salute To the Masters (Dickens, Hellman, Reed, Scruggs, Seeger, Watson & Winchester)
  • Hot Rize Featuring Red Knuckles & The Trailblazers
  • Hurray For The Riff Raff
  • Jason Isbell
  • Jerry Douglas Presents Earls of Leicester
  • Jesse DeNatale
  • Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas
  • Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock
  • Jonathan Wilson
  • Joe Russo's Almost Dead
  • John Prine
  • Johnnyswim
  • Jon Batiste and Stay Human
  • Justin Townes Earle
  • Kenny Sears
  • Kevin Welch
  • Kieran Kane & Fats Kaplin
  • Lake Street Dive
  • Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands
  • Lucinda Williams
  • Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real
  • Malawi Mouse Boys
  • Mavis Staples
  • Moonalice
  • Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
  • Parker Millsap
  • Peter Rowan's Twang An' Groove
  • Poor Man's Whiskey (Friday morning middle school program)
  • Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys
  • Reckless Kelly
  • Red Baraat
  • Rising Appalachia
  • Robbie Fulks
  • Robert Earl Keen
  • Rosanne Cash
  • Rose's Pawn Shop
  • Ryan Adams
  • Sarah Jarosz
  • Sharon Van Etten
  • Shelly Colvin
  • Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds
  • Social Distortion
  • Steve Earle & The Dukes
  • St. Paul & The Broken Bones
  • Sun Kil Moon
  • T Bone Burnett
  • Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
  • The Apache Relay
  • The Aquabats! (Friday morning middle school program)
  • The Felice Brothers
  • The Flatlanders Featuring Joe Ely
  • The Go To Hell Man Clan
  • The Good Life
  • The High Bar Gang
  • The Lone Bellow
  • The Mastersons
  • The McCrary Sisters
  • The Sam Chase
  • The Time Jumpers Featuring Vince Gill
  • The Waybacks
  • Tweedy
  • Whograss
  • Willie Watson
  • Yo La Tengo

What Should You Wear?

You want to prepare for both sun and fog. This part of San Francisco is near the ocean and the weather is unpredictable. I recommend dressing in layers so you can add and remove clothing as the day progresses.

Other Tips to Attend the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival

  • Camping: Camping is not allowed in Golden Gate Park. However, there is a campground in the Presidio, which is about 3 miles away from Golden Gate Park.

  • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in all public parks in San Francisco.

  • Dogs: Dogs are allowed in the park during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. All dogs should be comfortable around large groups of people and with loud music. Also, please make sure you clean up after your dog.

  • Children: This festival is family-friendly, so children are allowed to join in on the fun.

  • Hotels: There are only a handful of small hotels near Golden Gate Park. Your best bet is to stay in Union Square (find my recommendations here), the Haight Ashbury District (find hotel recommendations here) or Alamo Square (find recommendations for Alamo Square). If you are on a budget, here are also some of the best affordable and clean options available.

  • ATMs: You will find several ATMs on-site.

Transportation Tips

By Bike: Biking to Golden Gate Park is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get here. The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival has both self and valet parking similar to last year. Here is a map with the locations for both types. #3 is valet parking and the other three all self-parking.

bike parking map

By Public Transit: MUNI will run additional buses between 10 AM and 8 PM on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The cost per person per trip is $2.

  • 5L Bus: Your best bet is to pick up the special 5L bus at the corner of Grove and Larkin streets (near the Civic Center BART/MUNI station). This is a limited stop bus and is the fastest route from downtown San Francisco. Take this bus all the way to the 30th and Fulton Street stop.

  • N Judah: Additional N Judah light rail trains will also run during the Festival. Take it to the stop at 25th and Judah and make your way across Golden Gate Park to the festival. This one is usually crowded, but an easy way to get there from Union Square and downtown San Francisco.

By Car: Parking is extremely limited in the neighborhoods near the Festival. I highly recommend that you take public transportation, a bike or walk instead of driving. If you do plan on arriving by car, make sure you allow additional time to find a parking spot. You will also want to be cautious not to block driveways, as your car may be towed.

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