Hardly Strictly’s Online Festival and Artist Grant Keep Roots Music Alive

Country-soul musician Yola performs at Hardly Strictly 2019. (Anthony Pidgeon)

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass would have been celebrating its 20th anniversary this year in Golden Gate Park, but because of the state of the world, the roots music festival is going online, with a virtual festival that combines new performance footage, archival videos and tributes from fans. Called “Let the Music Play On,” the livestreamed concert will feature Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Steve Earle & the Halfgrass Dukes (featuring Tim O’Brien and Dennis Crouch), The War and Treaty, Yola, Allison Brown, John Doe and Amythyst Kiah. The rest of the lineup and details for where to watch will be announced in coming weeks.

As it ramps up for the Oct. 2–4 online concert, Hardly Strictly is supporting the local artist community through its COVID-19 relief fund. The grant application is open through Sept. 14, and American roots musicians living in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo or Sonoma counties are welcome to apply. Hardly Strictly plans to distribute $1.5 million through one-time grants of $2,000, and artists are free to use the money as they please to cover expenses while shows are canceled during the pandemic.

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