San Francisco, California United States October 4 2019: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival crowds in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2024

OCTOBER 04-06, 2024


A free festival in San Francisco that regularly draws over half a million people.

For its first three years, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass was known as “Strictly Bluegrass,” a telling name change that speaks to the festival’s original ethos. It’s about the only thing Hardly Strictly Bluegrass has changed since 2001 — the no-cost admission, the organizing family (descendants of billionaire philanthropist Warren Hellman) and the location in Golden Gate Park have all remained the same.

Are the crowds bigger now? Sure. Almost as big as the entire population of San Francisco. But that just makes it more impressive that Hardly Strictly Bluegrass still feels thrown together, improvised, even as it courts some of the biggest names in folk rock, blues, and bluegrass. Artists including Cyndi Lauper, Gillian Welch, Earl Scruggs, and Kurt Vile have played the fest’s six stages. There’s no telling who will play in 2024 — the lineup tends to get a late release — but it’s sure to be a combination of big stars and up-and-comers. Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle are the only guarantees — they come back every year.

Being at a free, noncommercial festival doesn’t mean you can’t buy food, though. Last year’s food vendors included Curry Up Now, Home Coffee Roasters, and Mission Street Burgers. Be aware that all vendors at this year’s festival are cashless, and alcohol is not permitted anywhere in the park. What about good vibes, you ask? Those are welcome all weekend long.

The Specs


Which airport is closest to the festival grounds?

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is 14 miles away.

What is the bag policy?

There is no official bag policy.

Is the festival ADA-accessible?

Accessible parking is available. Golden Gate Park includes a mixture of both paved and unpaved terrain.

Which artists are on the festival lineup?

The 2024 lineup has not yet been released at the time of writing.




BY Jeremiah David Jenkins