The 11th edition of the Golden Child of free music festivals, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2011, has the theme Hazel Dickens: in loving memory.
Hazel Dickens, bluegrass singer, born on June 1, 1935, died at 75 on April 22, 2011 from pneumonia. Hazel Dickens and Doc Watson, 88, were two usual appearances at the festival, but this year Watson did not feel so well.
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2011 takes place in Speedway Meadow at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park from September 29 to October 2.
Strictly Bluegrass started in 2001 with only bluegrass music, and three years later it became a celebration of diverse music, food (vendors and picnicking) and community.
The festival brings to Bay Area bluegrass pioneers (Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley) soul men (Otis Clay), folk heroes (John Prine), country legends (Merle Haggard).
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2011 gathers eighty-seven bands to play on six stages (Banjo, Rooster, Arrow, Star, Towers of Gold, Porch).
This year’s educational program takes place on September 29 as part of the Daniel Pearl World Music Days. In a fenced area middle school students enjoy MC Hammer and Poor Man’s Whiskey shows, and receive educational information about the month-long music celebration. The 10th annual Daniel Pearl World Music Days (October 1 to October 31) invites musicians worldwide to participate to a message of hope and unity.
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2011 lineup:
A.A. Bondy, Abigail Washburn, Alison Brown, AlofaSudden, The Band of Heathens, Bela Fleck & Zakir Hussain & Edgar Meyer, The Belle Brigade, Bill Kirchen & The Hammer of the Honky-Tonk Gods, Bill Orcutt, Blame Sally, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Bob Mould, Bright Eyes, Brokedown in Bakersfield (featuring Nicki & Tim Bluhm, Scott Law, Lebo, Steve Adams & Dave Brogan), Broken Social Scene, Buckethead, Buddy Miller, Cass McCombs Band, Charlie Musselwhite, Chris Isaak, Conspiracy of Beards, Dark Star Orchestra, David Bromberg Quartet, Del McCoury & The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Devil Makes Three, DeVotchKa, Dive Bar Dukes, Dr. John & The Lower 911, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Earl Scruggs, Elbow, Emmylou Harris, The Felice Brothers, Fitz & The Tantrums, The Flatlanders feat. Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock, Frank Fairfield, Gillian Welch, Gomez, Greensky Bluegrass, Guy Clark & Verlon Thompson, Hot Buttered Rum, Hugh Laurie, Irma Thomas, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, The Jayhawks, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Joe Purdy, John Prine, Jolie Holland, Jonathan Wilson, Justin Townes Earle, Kevin Welch & Kieran Kane & Fats Kaplin, Kris Kristofferson & Merle Haggard, Kurt Vile & the Violators, Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum w/ The Guest House Band, The Low Anthem, M. Ward, Maxim Ludwig & the Santa Fe Seven, MC Hammer, Mekons, Moonalice, Mother Hips, Nell Robinson & Jim Nunally and Their All-Star Band, Ollabelle, Otis Clay with special guest Chick Rodgers, Over The Rhine, P.M.W., Patty Griffin, Punch Brothers, Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, Reckless Kelly, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, River Whyless, Robert Earl Keen, Robert Plant & The Band of Joy, Robyn Hitchcock, Ruthie Foster, Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses, Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, Seamus Kennedy, Seldom Scene, Simon Joyner, South Memphis String Band, Southern Culture On The Skids, Steve Earle & the Dukes (& Duchesses) featuring Allison Moorer, The Swanson Family Band, Those Darlins, Thurston Moore, Wendy Bird, Woods, The Wronglers with Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Zigaboo Modeliste – King of the Funky Drums.
Robert Plant, former Led Zeppelin singer, plays with Patti Griffin on Saturday and with Buddy Miller on Sunday.
F. Warren Hellman, co-founder of Hellman & Friedman LLC, performs on Saturday with the Wronglers and Jimmie Dale Gilmore.
Pete Sears appears with his jam band, Moonalice. He is a former member of Jefferson Starship and said Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and other psychedelic bands had played free Golden Gate Park shows during the 1960s.
Over 600,000 people attended the festival last year and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2011 is expected to gathered around 1 million. Strictly Bluegrass 2001 was attended by 20,000 persons.
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (HSB) is a family-friendly festival. Children and on-leash dogs are welcome, no camping allowed, no alcohol is sold, but visitors can bring their own.
Potluck Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is an communal healthy food event held on September 30, the attendees bring food and offer it to their neighbors.
The Nighttime events require tickets and features music (The Jayhawks on Friday), film and wines of Silver Oak Cellars.
“There’s only one person at the end of this festival who says, ‘Check, please,’ and that’s Warren Hellman. So far he hasn’t told me no,” said Dawn Holliday, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass co-producer.
Hellman received IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award in 2007, was named University of Arizona 2008 Executive of the Year, Executive of the Year Luncheon by the Eller College of Management. He competes in endurance horseback riding and plays the 5-string banjo.
“People keep saying thank you, thank you, but this is the world’s most selfish gift. To spend three days with people I adore and musicians I’m nuts about, it’s an unbelievable mitzvah to be in a position to do this,” the billionaire told The Press Democrat last year.
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2011 has an app available in the Apple and Android app stores.