Hardly Strictly 2019: Everything You Need to Know

By Nastia Voynovskaya

Update, Sept. 3: Hardly Strictly announced new safety precautions for this year's festival in light of recent mass shootings that have left festival-goers afraid to attend large events. In contrast to previous years' come-as-you-please vibe, there are now four official entrances on JFK and Transverse Drives, 30th Avenue and Fulton Street, JFK Drive and 36th Avenue and South Polo Field (here's a map).

The festival will also be fenced off, unlike in previous years, and gates open at 9am. Clear bags are required (you can find these at major retailers like Target, Amazon and Staples; many fast-fashion brands also carry clear purses). Coolers aren't allowed anymore, and blankets and short-backed chairs will be subject to search.

"As the world changes, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass feels the need to respond, prioritizing safety over convenience," festival organizers wrote in a statement. "We understand that these changes will make our event differ from years past, but are hopeful that our long-time fans will embrace these new rules and enjoy the performances as they always have."

Organizers also announced the complete lineup, which features surrealist R&B band Tank and the Bangas; indie rockers New Pornographers; Portland psych-folk rockers Y La Bamba; Oakland blues revivalist and Grammy winner Fantastic Negrito; Kronos Quartet performing the works of Pete Seeger with Brian Carpenter, Lee Knight, Meklit, Aoife O'Donovan and the San Francisco Girls Chorus; Summer-of-Love blues-rockers Hot Tuna; and San Francisco indie rock singer-songwriter Chuck Prophet.

Update, Aug. 8: Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant is the latest addition to Hardly Strictly's 2019 lineup, as well as the celebrated all-woman mariachi band Flor de Toloache. The festival now also includes Country Music Hall of Famer Emmylou Harris, indie rockers Kurt Vile & the Violators, folk duo Mandolin Orange, Oakland roots rock band Whiskerman, folk singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier, funk band Pimps of Joytime, folk band the Wild Reeds and up-and-coming country singer Yola.

Update, Aug. 1: Hardly Strictly announced ten new acts on its lineup today. The festival now features traditional bluegrass band Dry Branch Fire Squad; country star Tanya Tucker; bluesy singer-songwriter Daniel Norgren; singer-songwriter Buddy Miller with fiddlers Dirk Powell and Stuart Duncan; charmingly plainspoken singer-songwriter John Craigie; Bay Area bluegrass band Hot Buttered Rum; Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar; roots rockers Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears; bluegrass mandolinist Sierra Hull and up-and-coming Americana singer-songwriter Nikki Lane. Listen to a medley of phase two of the lineup here.

July 25: Last year's Hardly Strictly marked a turning point for the more-than-just-bluegrass music festival, with new curator Chris Porter replacing longtime booker Dawn Holliday, who co-founded the free weekend-long concert in 2001 with Warren Hellman.

The festival returns to Golden Gate Park for its 18th edition on Oct. 4–6, with the first part of its lineup announced today. If fans were worried about a drastic change in the acts booked for the festival, they needn't be: this year's artists are a mix of familiar faces and sounds.

Hardly Strictly mainstay Steve Earle is back, along with acoustic Americana duo Milk Carton Kids and a joint performance from indie-folk band Iron & Wine and Southwestern rockers Calexico, who recently released a collaborative album.

Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha, whose vocal-driven music melds Eastern European folk melodies and sun-drenched psych rock, will also perform, as well as Texas roots country crooner Hayes Carll, blues guitarist and singer Jackie Greene, twangy rock band Meat Puppets, Grammy-nominated R&B, blues and Americana star Bettye LaVette (whose career is undergoing a renaissance), up-and-coming Nashville country star Margo Price, and UK folk-rock band the Waterboys. (Listen to Hardly Strictly's medley of all the artists here.)

Hardly Strictly organizers also unveiled the schedule of "Out of the Park" concerts, taking place the week of the festival in venues all over the Bay Area. Hayes Carll performs at Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley on Oct. 5; the same day, Meat Puppets hit the Ivy Room in Albany. On Oct. 6, Calexico and Iron & Wine play at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga. On Oct. 8-9, DakhaBrakha performs at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley. And the Waterboys play San Francisco's Fillmore on Oct. 11.

Ticket Price
October 4, 2019

Golden Gate Park

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