Friday marks the start of the 14th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, the beloved, home-grown, roots-music-and-everything-else fest generously underwritten in perpetuity by late SF billionaire Warren Hellman. Things kick off in Hellman Hollow in Golden Gate Park with a kids program Friday morning, with entertainment by P.M.W. and The Aquabats!, and the concert begins at noon.

As usual, it's all free. There will be food and drink for sale, but no alcohol, and you're allowed to bring beer and wine in only if it's in non-glass containers. Hard alcohol, should the SFPD see it/find it, will be confiscated, as will any glass wine or beer bottles.

You're allowed to bring in low-backed chairs, blankets, etc., and if you actually want a seat anywhere near any of the stages, you should arrive VERY early. This festival is always, always crowded, and every year people seem surprised by this. I'd advise keeping your camp to a small number of people and committing to a spot by one of the stages with little sojourns elsewhere.

And please don't drive there. There is some paid parking in a few places which you can read about here, but the park is pretty accessible by bus, Muni metro, or bike.

Things kick off at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and the shows all wrap up at 7 p.m. all three days.

Some highlights, and some very difficult choices, below. Here's the full schedule, and there's also an app.


3:20 p.m. Sharon Van Etten on the Rooster Stage (she is amazing)

4:00 p.m. Cibo Matto and Nels Cline on the Arrow Stage

4:30 p.m. Lucinda Williams on the Star Stage

5:45 p.m. Yo La Tengo on the Arrow Stage - and simultaneously Conor Oberst on the Rooster Stage


2:40 p.m. Parker Millsap on the Porch Stage

3:05 p.m. Built to Spill on the Towers of Gold Stage

3:55 p.m. Mavis Staples on the Star Stage

5:45 p.m. Steve Earle and the Dukes on the Banjo Stage - and simultaneously Chris Isaak on the Star Stage


11 a.m. The Sam Chase on the Arrow Stage

2:45 p.m. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys on the Banjo Stage

3:40 p.m. Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn on the Towers of Gold Stage

5:20 p.m. Dwight Yoakam on the Towers of Gold Stage

6:10 p.m. Bruce Cockburn on the Star Stage