It is once again for the monstor free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival held in Speedway Meadow at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. The donated festival is given each year by Warren Hellman. This year's event is being held in loving memory of Hazel Dickens. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is a family-friendly festival. Children and on-leash dogs are welcome but they should be comfortable with large crowds and loud music. Police estimate that more than 600,000 people attended the festival last year over three days, including 350,000 on Sunday, the festival's traditional top attendance day.
Warren Hellman gives his community this giant free musical gift as a way of giving back. This is a massive event that features scores of top roots, Americana, and, yes, even bluegrass artists is probably the finest festival of its kind in the world. This year, the eleventh rendition of the festival will unfold to tens of thousands of music fans who take over the park. As many of the Super Bluegrass Festivals are today, this one isn't strictly bluegrass and caters to a wider audience while keeping the interest and the following right at home.
Taking a deep breath, this is the current roster of artists who will take to the stages of the 11th Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival: 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.
As in past years, the multi-day, multi-staged event will feature scores of artists performing for tens of thousands of music fans. That is quite a gift from F. Warren Hellman, chairman and co-founder of Hellman & Friedman LLC.
The University of Arizona named Hellman as their 2008 Executive of the Year. Hellman finds success in all walks of life. From leading a multi-billion dollar private equity firm to competing in endurance horseback riding and playing the 5-string banjo, F. Warren Hellman, founder of the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Music Festival in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, is far from the business-as-usual CEO. The Eller College of Management honored Hellman for his significant accomplishments in business and philanthropy at the annual Executive of the Year Luncheon at the Westin La Paloma March 7, 2008.
"Warren Hellman is an unconventional but exceptional leader," said Paul Portney, dean of the Eller College of Management. "It s important for our students to connect with executives of his caliber, and at the same time understand that personal passions can play a central role in a career. The fruits of Mr. Hellman's success have benefited many individuals and organizations ranging from the clients whose money he has invested to the poverty-level uninsured to young assistant professors to bluegrass music lovers."
Hellman was a 2007 IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award Recipient at IBMA World of Bluegrass trade show, awards show and fan festival held in Nashville, Tennessee.