Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Act Drops Bill Due to Hurricane Ian, Plus Other Festival Updates

Anna Foster, 42, of San Francisco, dances with her son Augie Foster, 3, during Hardly Strictly Bluegrass at Golden Gate Park on Saturday, October 1, 2022 in San Francisco. Photo: Yalonda M. James/The Chronicle

The 22nd annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival returns to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park after a two-year pandemic hiatus. The free three-day outdoor concert runs from Friday, September 30 through Sunday, October 2, featuring dozens of eclectic acts performing live music across six stages under a mix of warm sunny skies and beloved fog. from the city.

The strict safety measures introduced in 2019 are back, and while there are no COVID-19 protocols, there is a contextual coronavirus vaccination and testing site – two safety protocols that aim to bring back the freewheeling spirit of the festival.

Here are some highlights from the weekend.

Crowds flock to first in-person Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival since pandemic: ‘It’s just good to be here’

Saturday October 1

The Travelin’ McCourys sidelined by Hurricane Ian

Grammy-winning Hardly Strictly Bluegrass regulars The Travelin’ McCourys were forced to cancel their set at this year’s festival because their flight to San Francisco was ‘sidelined by Hurricane Ian “, announced the organizers on Saturday morning.

The band’s 12:25 p.m. timeslot is now set to be filled with an encore performance by East Coast multi-instrumentalist Jake Blount, who also performed on Friday.

The Travelin’ McCourys were stuck in Raleigh, North Carolina, where Guitarist Cody Kilby was named Guitarist of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association at its annual awards show on Thursday, September 29.

Mmore than 3,500 other flights were canceled across the country because of the hurricane.

— Aidin Vaziri

Friday September 30

Asleep at the wheel

As Asleep At The Wheel lead singer Ray Benson took a photo of the Hardly Striclty Bluegrass crowd in front of him at the Banjo Stage, he noted the beauty San Francisco brought to the festival’s first day.

“Oh my god, how am I going to be able to fit all these beautiful people into one picture?” Benson said.

Toward the end of their headline, the band performed “Half a Hundred Years,” a track from the band’s 26th studio album of the same name released last year. It’s an ode to the band’s longevity (the band was co-founded by Benson in 1969), written before the COVID-19 pandemic forced hiatus on the festival.

Benson noted Friday was the band’s first time returning to Golden Gate Park since their performance at Hardly Strictly in 2015.

— Joel Umanzor

Joy Oladokun

The Nashville-based singer confessed her love for cannabis and all things Kurt Cobain and Elton John during her set on the Towers of Gold stage as the crisp fog rolled into the park late in the afternoon.

Between providing his own cover of Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit” and Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” Oladokun showcased his own songwriting performing songs like “if you got a problem” from his 2021 release “In Defense of My Own Happiness”. .”

— Joel Umanzor


The 22-year-old Oakland-born singer made her Hardly Strictly debut opening the Bandwagon stage and immediately drew a crowd with her song “In Another Time”, her sweet voice floating atop the soft sound of the piano as the afternoon heat has set in.

A smooth blend of soulful R&B and folk, Satya’s mellow sound gave his Golden Gate Park audience a taste of the East Bay as he performed songs from his early summer EP, “Deep Blue “.

— Joel Umanzor


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