Hellman Hollow, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Ca.
Photos and Review By Joseph F. Carney III, EarthMusic Photography
On a cool fall morning, the city streets are alive with music fans headed from every direction towards Hellman Hollow, Golden Gate Park for the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. As folks move into the beautiful park, it becomes apparent that this is no ordinary festival. The first thing you notice is the diversity in the crowd, Everyone is here. All coming together in this the 50th Anniversary of the Summer Of Love, to witness Warren Hellman's dream of having a free bluegrass festival in San Francisco.
Nestled in the trees and fields, a weekend crowd of around 750,000 music fans moved smoothly, had picnics, sipped wine, played frisbee, and danced amongst the flags, totems and bubbles.
The free festival was dreamed up in 2001, and by 2004 added the moniker "Hardly", as more and more other genres of music began requesting to be added to the event. Now spearheaded, after Warren's death by his booking agent, promotional wiz, Dawn Holliday and his family.
HSB veterans EmmyLou Harris, Steve Earle, Alison Brown, Peter Rowen, Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlins and Buddy Miller played solo acts and gathered on stages with their peers and brought sets of magic throughout the weekend. Other performances by, T Bone Burnett, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Ozomatli, Patty Griffin, Jamey Johnson, Rising Appalachia, John Prine, Hot Tuna, Randy Newman, Conor Oberst,Lucinda Williams, The list goes on and on. a special touring ensemble Lampedusa featuring Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller and Lucinda Williams with Surprise Guest Bob Weir played a set of rounds and ballads.
New artists Lillie Mae, Blackfoot Gypsies, Ghost of Paul Revere, Midnight North, Lukas Nelson, added their names to the 90 acts and 7 stages this year. The weekend's surprise Big Freedia and Cheap Trick. finished up the weekend with amazing performances. The night flowed into a silent disco and local buskers playing sets amongst the trees and streets as the fans made their way towards home.
Thanks to the Hellman Family for their love and support of Warrens dream.
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn
Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlins
Steve Earle & The Dukes
The Sons of the Soul Revivers
Hot Tuna Electric
Ghost of Paul Revere