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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival 2022: Tips to Attend this Free SF Event in Golden Gate Park

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: September 15, 2022

Head to Golden Gate Park for the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. This year, the free festival is September 30 - October 2. All festivities are held near the Polo Field at Hellman Hollow (formerly Speedway Meadows), Lindley, and Marx Meadows.

Some top performers this year include Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Bela Fleck My Bluegrass Heart, and The Brothers Comatose. Other top performers this year include Drive by Truckers, Steve Earl and the Dukes, and Moonalice.

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.

The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival started in 2001 by SF venture capitalist Warren Hellman. When he started it, he planned to only invite bluegrass musicians. However, more and more artists signed up and now you will find a variety of types of musicians on stage.

This three day festival is free and not commercial. Make sure to arrive early as it often attracts more than 750,000 people in total over the course of the three days of live music.

Hardly Strickly Blue Grass Festival

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2022 Performers

Here is the list of some of the top Hardly Strictly Bluegrass performers for this year's 2022 festival. 

Friday, September 30

Friday's shows run from 1 pm to 7 pm. These artists are listed in alphabetical order.

  • Allison Russell
  • Asleep at the Wheel
  • Blackie and the Rodeo Kings
  • Bob Schneider
  • Charley Crockett
  • The Dead Tongues
  • Drive-By Truckers
  • Jake Blount
  • Joy Oladokun
  • Rainbow Girls
  • SG Goodman
  • Sam Bush
  • Satya

Saturday, October 1 from 11 am to 7 pm

  • AJ Lee and Blue Summit
  • Andy Shauf
  • Antibalas
  • Black Opry Revue
  • Boony Light Horseman
  • Buddy Miller
  • Cedrick Watson
  • Elvis Costello
  • The Go to Hell Man Band
  • Ismay
  • Jay Som
  • Jerry Harrison & Adrian Belew - Remain in Light
  • Jim Lauderdale
  • Joseph
  • Kelsey Waldon
  • Kieran Kane & Rayna Gellert
  • Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams
  • Las Cafeteras
  • Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands
  • Marco and the Polos
  • Marlon Williams
  • Meklit
  • Michaela Anne
  • Phil Salazar and the Kin Folk
  • Steve Earl & The Dukes
  • Steve Poltz
  • The Travelin' McCourys (set cancelled)
  • Tre Burt
  • Waco Brothers w/Guest The Mekons
  • Waxahatchee

Sunday, October 2 from 11 am to 7 pm

  • Alison Brown
  • Amythyst Kiah
  • Aoife O'Donovan
  • Arooj Aftab
  • Bela Fleck My Bluegrass Heart
  • The Brothers Comatose
  • Crying Uncle Blue
  • Cymande
  • Danielle Ponder
  • Dashawn Hickman with Charlie Hunter
  • Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore with The Guilty Ones
  • Dry Branch Fire Squad
  • Emmylou Harris
  • Fare The Well: Celebrating the Songs of John Prine, Nancy Bechtle, Justin Townes Earle & More
  • Galactic F: Anjelika "Jelly" Joseph
  • Jaime Wyatt
  • Jesse Colin Young
  • Kevin Welch
  • Lucius
  • Marcus Mumford
  • Moonalice
  • The Quitters
  • Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi
  • Sarah Sook & The Disarmers
  • Seratones
  • The Tallest Man on Earth
  • The Whitmore Sisters
  • Wreckless Strangers
  • Yasmin Williams

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: There will be no ATMs on site in 2022. The merchandise tents will take cash and credit cards, but the food vendors will take debit and credit cards only.
  • Alcohol: This event only sells non-alcoholic drinks. However, you are allowed to bring in your own alcohol. The park rules restrict hard alcohol and glass containers. You are allowed to bring in beer and wine in non-glass containers.

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.

A bike parking map for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival

By Public Transit: MUNI will run additional buses between 11 am and 8 pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The cost per person per trip is $3 (or $2.50 with your Clipper Card).

  • 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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