Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival 2014

Tips to Attend this Free SF Event in Golden Gate Park

Head out to Golden Gate Park for the 14th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. This free festival is October 3, 4, and 5, 2014. All festivities are held in Hellman Hollow (formerly Speedway Meadows), Lindley and Marx Meadows.

Top performers last year included Chris Isaak, Boz Scaggs and Bonnie Raitt. Other musical acts included Manchester Orchestra, Emmylou Harris and Patty Griffin. All performers for 2014 will be announced in the late August timeframe.

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.

2013 Full List of Performers

Here is the full list of performers from 2013.

  • Allah-Las
  • Bettye LaVette
  • Billy Bragg
  • Bonnie Raitt
  • Buddy Miller
  • Conor Brings Friends For Friday Featuring: Whispertown, The Cave Singers, The Felice Brothers, The Evens, First Aid Kit, Conor Oberst
  • Dave Alvin with Greg Leisz
  • Della Mae
  • Elvin Bishop
  • Emmylou Harris
  • Evolfo Doofeht
  • Freakwater
  • Gogol Bordello
  • Holler Down the Hollow: A Hardly Strictly Salute to the Masters
  • Jerry Douglas
  • Jesse DeNatale
  • Kat Edmonson
  • Kate McGarrigle Tribute with Martha & Sloan Wainwright & Special Guests
  • Low
  • LP
  • Jesse Dee
  • Manchester Orchestra
  • Martha Wainwright
  • MC Hammer (Friday morning middle school program)
  • Mike Farris & The Roseland Rhythm Revue
  • Mike Scott & Steve Wickham of The Waterboys
  • Moonalice
  • Natalie Maines
  • Nick Lowe
  • Paul Kelly
  • Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band featuring Yungchen Lhamo
  • Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boy
  • Ryan Bingham
  • Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside
  • Spirit Family Reunion
  • Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell
  • Sturgill Simpson
  • The Devil Makes Three
  • The Flatlanders featuring Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock
  • The Forest Rangers with Katey Sagal
  • The Go To Hell Man Clan
  • The Handsome Family
  • The String Cheese Incident
  • The Wood Brothers
  • Tumbleweed Wanderers

More Festival Details

The three-day Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival runs from 11 AM to 7 PM each day. Gates open at 10 AM.

What Should You Bring?

  • Coolers for any food and beverage you bring along with you
  • Blankets or short back chairs to sit on during the performances
  • Cameras are okay without tripods or intrusive equipment

What Should You Where?

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. You can take this from the Caltrain station at King and second streets to the end of the line at beach Street. This is also a great option if you are coming to the Festival from Union Square.

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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