Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Alison Brown and More to Play Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2022

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a man with a guitar and sunglasses on stage
Elvis Costello, seen here during the 2022 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, is set to perform at the 2022 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park.  (Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage/Getty Images)

Update, Sept. 7, 2022: A new round of artists has been announced as part of the lineup for this year's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, set to take place Sept. 30 through Oct. 2. Acts include Elvis Costello, Steve Earle & the Dukes, The Travelin' McCourys, Bob Schneider, Moonalice, Cymande, Arooj Aftab, Cedric Watson, Alison Brown and Jim Lauderdale.

Steve Earle is scheduled to host a tribute to longtime festival regulars who have died over the past few years, like John Prine, Justin Townes Earle and Nancy Bechtle.

And Elvis Costello has added a night show: “Elvis Sings Hunter-Garcia,” a tribute to the Grateful Dead's Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia, is set for Sept. 30 at the Great American Music Hall, with two shows at 7 and 10pm. The evening is a benefit for the nonprofit Prader-Willi Homes of California, which funds residential facilities for people with developmental disabilities. Tickets and more info here.

Organizers say the full festival lineup will be announced Sept. 13. Check out the lineup (so far) on the HSB website here.

Update, Aug. 10, 2022: Festival organizers have rolled out a second installment of the lineup for this year's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and it's a good one, with a strong local showing. Artists added to the slate include festival veteran Emmylou Harris, Talking Heads' Jerry Harrison & Adrian Belew performing songs from "Remain In Light," Sacramento's Tré Burt, San Francisco's Meklit, Petaluma-born the Brothers Comatose, Seratones, the Tallest Man On Earth, Jake Blount, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers and Antibalas.

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“Playing Hardly Strictly for the first time ever this year feels a bit like coming home,” Tré Burt told organizers. “I used to sneak in and play for as long as I could on the footpaths before eventually being kicked out by security back in the day, so it feels great to actually be invited onto the stage!”

Expect at least one or two more lineup announcements in the coming weeks, teased on the festival's website here.

Update, July 27, 2022: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass organizers have released an initial lineup for this year's festival. Artists slated to perform include Marcus Mumford, Allison Russell, Las Cafeteras, Lucius, Galactic, AJ Lee & Blue Summit, Joy Oladokun, Charley Crockett, Buddy Miller and Dashawn Hickman. Further lineup announcements are expected in the coming weeks, teased via song medleys on the festival's website.

Original story, July 21, 2022:

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, the free music festival, is scheduled to return in-person to Golden Gate Park this year for the first time since 2019. The festival will run Sept. 30 through Oct. 2.

The lineup of performers at this year's Hardly Strictly festival has yet to be announced, with organizers planning to roll out artist announcements—via hint-filled song medleys—beginning July 26.

The all-ages festival was founded in 2001 by the late venture capitalist and bluegrass fan Warren Hellman, and has become a beginning-of-fall tradition for a generation of San Franciscans ever since. In pre-pandemic years, the fest reliably drew more than half a million people to Golden Gate Park for performances by folk and bluegrass icons like Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Steve Earle and Mavis Staples.

The 2020 and 2021 Hardly Strictly festivals were held virtually online due to COVID, with livestreams of performances by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Boz Scaggs, Chuck Prophet, Fantastic Negrito and Rainbow Girls.

Still funded by the Hellman Foundation more than a decade after its founder's death, the festival remains free to attendees, and has never taken on corporate sponsors, making it a cherished anomaly in the current music festival landscape.

Visit the festival's website for more information and lineup announcements beginning next week.