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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival 2017

Tips to Attend this Free SF Event in Golden Gate Park

Head to Golden Gate Park for the 17th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. This year, the free festival is October 6 - 8. All festivities are held near the Polo Field at Hellman Hollow (formerly Speedway Meadows), Lindley, and Marx Meadows.

Top performers last year included Cyndi Lauper, Chris Isaak, and Emmylou Harris. Other musical acts included Boz Scaggs and Steve Earl & the Dukes.

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.

2017 Full List of Performers

Note: The 2017 lineup has not yet been announced. Here is the list of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass performers from last year's 2016 festival. The list is not in order of performance times, but instead with headliners at the top. Schedule is subject to change.

Friday, September 30

  • Chris Isaak
  • Boz Scaggs
  • Delta Rae
  • Eggs Over Easy
  • SHEL
  • Mavis Staples
  • Rabbit Wilde
  • Conor Brings Friends For Friday: Twin Limb, MiWi La Lupa, Anna McClellan, Hop Along, Jim James, Conor Oberst
  • Valerie June
  • Bill Kirchen & Austin de Lone
  • Dave Alvin's Tribute to Merle Haggard & California Songwriters
  • Jamestown Revival
  • Poor Man's Whiskey & Cirkus Quirkus (Friday Morning Kids' Program)
  • Heidi Clare
  • Hardly Strictly Silent Disco w/ Motion Potion, DJ Centipede of Mophono, Davey D, Deejay Theory, King Most, Matt Haze, Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist, Steve Fabus, Zack Darling, Malarkey, Gordo Cabeza, DJ 8Ball, DJ Alarm, Tom Thump, DJ Phleck, DJ Tobiwan, Make it Funky Djs, U9lift, Chuck Jones, DJ Corinne
  • Moon Hooch
  • Bob Forrest
  • Ismay
  • Jon Langford
  • Shelly Colvin
  • Patty Griffin
  • Rebirth Brass Band
  • Robyn Hitchcock
  • Dry Branch Fire Squad
  • Shannon and The Clams
  • Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas
  • Nick Waterhouse

Saturday, October 1

  • Cyndi Lauper
  • KT Tunstall
  • Steve Earle & The Dukes
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter
  • Kris Kristofferson
  • Jackson Browne
  • The Mother Hips
  • Dave Rawlings Machine
  • M. Ward
  • Glen Hansard
  • Marco & The Polos
  • The Time Jumpers Featuring: Vince Gill, Kenny Sears, Ranger Doug Green and Paul Franklin
  • The Suitcase Junket
  • Acoustic Yo La Tengo Featuring Dave Schramm
  • Jesse DeNatale
  • Nancy & The Lambchops
  • The High Bar Gang
  • The Go To Hell Man Clan
  • The Cactus Blossoms
  • Chuck Prophet & Stephanie Finch
  • Elephant Revival
  • The Flatlanders Featuring: Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock
  • Doobie Decibel System
  • Buddy Miller's Cavalcade of Stars Featuring: Jack Ingram, Bobby Bare, Earle Griffin Harris Miller, Buddy Miller & Marc Ribot, The SteelDrivers
  • mekons
  • Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands
  • Los Cenzontles with Special Guests Max and Josh of Los Texmaniacs
  • Delhi 2 Dublin
  • Jamey Johnson
  • Jah Wobble & The Invaders of the Heart
  • Allah-Las
  • Hot Tuna Electric
  • Robyn Hitchcock
  • Margaret Glaspy
  • Crystal Lee
  • Jonny Two Bags

Sunday, October 2

  • Emmylou Harris
  • Rosanne Cash
  • CAKE
  • Wynonna & The Big Noise
  • Jerry Douglas Band with Special Guest Maura O'Connell
  • Hayes Carll
  • Nahko and Medicine for the People
  • Jonathan Richman Featuring Tommy Larkins
  • The Well Known Strangers
  • Mariachi Mestizo
  • The Jones Family Singers
  • Little Village Foundation Presents: Wee Willie Walker, Aki Kumar, Aireene Espiritu, John Blues Boyd, w/ Special Guests Curtis Salgado & Tracy Nelson
  • Caroline de Lone
  • Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives
  • John Hammond
  • The Pines
  • Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie
  • The Infamous Stringdusters
  • Xylouris White
  • Evolfo
  • The John Doe Rock'n'Roll Band
  • Tim Flannery & The Lunatic Fringe
  • John Paul White
  • T Bone Burnett
  • The HillBenders Present The Who's TOMMY: A Bluegrass Opry
  • Pimps of Joytime
  • Allen Stone
  • Kane Welch Kaplin
  • The Brothers Gibb
  • Dropkick Murphys
  • Griffin House
  • Tim O'Brien Band
  • C.W. Stoneking
  • Buffy Sainte-Marie
  • Willie Watson
  • The California Honeydrops
  • Elizabeth Cook

NOTE: Some of the performers this year will be streamed live.

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

  • 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, the Haight-Ashbury District or Alamo Square. If you are on a budget, here are some great cheaper options that are not only affordable but clean.

  • 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 11am and 8pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The cost per person per trip is $2.50.

  • 5-Fulton Bus: To get to the park from downtown, there will be additional service on this route. Your best bet for a fast ride is to pick up the special 5R rapid bus at the corner of Market and Front Streets near the Embarcadero BART Station. 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, or 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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