Founded by philanthropist F. Warren Hellman, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass has always brimmed with a spirit of generosity. For the last 20 years, the festival has brought a weekend of free music to Golden Gate Park, delighting fans and giving opportunities to dozens of local blues, rock and folk artists.
Hardly Strictly organizers have been incredibly giving during the pandemic, which has forced artists to cobble together a living without live shows and caused venues to teeter on the edge of closing permanently. (In fact, some have already.) In addition to their $1 million donation to the Artist Relief fund, last weekend’s Let the Music Play On livestream—which took place instead of the IRL festival this year—raised $500,000 for the grant program, which gives out $5,000 to artists who’ve lost work during COVID-19 shutdowns. The current Artist Relief application cycle is open through Oct. 21.