San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival is one of the most highly-anticipated events on the city’s cultural calendar. The free festival will happen in Golden Gate Park’s Hellman Hollow and Lindley & Marx meadows from Sept. 29 through Oct. 1, 2023.
As is customary, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass does lineup announcements in rounds leading up to the festival. So far some of the biggest names on the docket are Kurt Vile & The Violators and Lucero. Check the festival website for the full lineup.
What to know
HSB23 App: Guests are encouraged to download the HSB23 app for announcements, lineup updates, Spotify playlists, maps of the stages, artist photos and bios, and more.
Festival entrances: Gates open for entry into the festival grounds at 11am on Friday and 9am on Saturday and Sunday. There are entrances at JFK Drive and Transverse Drive, Fulton Street and 30th Ave, JFK Drive and 36th Ave, and the South Polo Field. The free event brings up to 750,000 people over the course of 3 days, so be sure to arrive early and follow all park safety precautions. Side paths will be closed off.
Food and drink: Guests can enjoy over 50 on-site food and drink vendors or bring their own picnics. Alcohol is not sold at the festival but you are allowed to bring your own (beer and wine in non-glass containers only – no hard alcohol). The water refill station is between the Banjo Stage & Arrow Meadow. Bring a card to pay for food and drink on-site, because the festival is cashless.
Clear bag policy and what you can/cannot bring:
The festival will have heightened security measures this year including SFPD, K9, and Tactical Units. Personal items are subject to search at the entrances and guests must pass through walk-through body scanners.
- ✅Clear plastic bags/backpacks no larger than 16 x 16 x 8 inches
- ✅Small bags no larger than 6 x 8 x 3 inches
- ✅Refillable water bottles and hydration bladders no larger than 2.5L
- ✅Small soft side coolers for medical or childcare needs no larger than 9 x 6 x 3 inches
- ✅Blankets and ground cover no larger than 8 x 10 feet (guests cannot lay down blankets until festival begins)
- ✅Short-backed chairs
- ✅Children (bring earplugs for young children)
- ✅Well-behaved dogs on leashes
- ❌Do not bring drones, tripods, and intrusive equipment
- ❌Do not bring bicycles, scooters, regular skateboards, electric skateboards, Segways, Onewheels, or other types of motorized devices. See this map for bike parking.
- ❌Do not bring large bags, coolers, kegs, or obstructive chairs
- ❌Do not smoke
About Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass dates back to 2001, when SF venture capitalist Warren Hellman founded it as “Strictly Bluegrass.” As such, it was originally a bluegrass-only event but has since evolved to encompass a multitude of genres, hence the decision to add “Hardly” to its name in 2003. Throughout its run, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass has remained completely free and noncommercial at the bequest of Hellman, who passed away in 2011.