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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival expected to attract 750K attendees

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The 16th Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival is this weekend in Golden Gate Park. (S.F. Examiner file photo)
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Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to pour into Golden Gate Park this weekend for the 16th Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival.

The free annual concert, which will feature over 100 musical acts on seven stages, began Friday around 12 p.m. and will last through Sunday, according to the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department.

Some of the performers gracing the stage this weekend include CAKE, Cyndi Lauper and Chris Isaak, among others. In addition to performances, there will also be 50 food vendors.

The stages will be located at Hellman Hollow, Lindley Meadow and Marx Meadow areas of the park. Recreation and Parks officials expect about 750,000 people to attend.

The event was first organized by the late Warren Hellman, whose family foundation continues to fund the festival.

“We’re so excited to work with Rec & Park again this year to put on The City’s best party,” Hellman’s eldest granddaughter Laurel Hellman said in a statement. “It’s become the event we plan our year around and we couldn’t be more thankful for everyone who helps.”

Just before his passing in 2011, Warren Hellman began a tradition of holding a special pre-festival event for thousands of San Francisco school children.

In keeping with that tradition, about 3,000 San Francisco middle school students were treated to a free outdoor concert Friday at the park by the group Poor Man’s Whiskey, recreation and park officials said.

“Providing music of this caliber for free in our beloved Golden Gate Park is an experience of a lifetime,” recreation and parks General Manager Phil Ginsburg said in a statement. “We’re extremely grateful to the late Warren Hellman and his family for their generosity in supporting San Francisco parks, and for making the arts within them a priority.”

Throughout the weekend, several street closures within the park will take effect.

John F. Kennedy Drive will be closed between Transverse and Spreckels Lake drives, as well as between Stowe Lake Circle and 36th Avenue. John F. Kennedy Drive will also be closed between 36th Avenue and Chain of Lakes Drive.

Also, 36th Avenue will be closed between Fulton Street and John F. Kennedy Drive. 30th Avenue between Fulton Street and John F. Kennedy Drive will also be closed.

Transverse Drive will be closed between Crossover and Martin Luther King Jr. drives. Overlook Drive will also be closed between Transverse and Martin Luther King Jr. drives.

Middle Drive will also be closed between Transverse and Martin Luther King Jr. drives. Metson Drive will be closed between Middle and Martin Luther King Jr. drives.

Additionally, the parking area near the Polo Fields will be closed.

Paid parking will be located all three days on a first come, first serve basis at George Washington High School at 600 32nd Ave. and at Argonne Elementary School at 680 18th Ave.

Paid parking on Saturday and Sunday only will be located at Lafayette Elementary School at 4545 Anza St., Jefferson Elementary School at 1725 Irving St. and Lawton Alternative School at 1570 31st Ave., recreation and park officials said.

Organizers are encouraging concertgoers to walk, bike, use a ride-hail service or take public transportation to the festival.

Extra Muni service will be offered starting today through Sunday, between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., on Muni lines 5, 5R, 5X Fulton, 31 Balboa, 38 Geary and N Judah.

Taxi stands will be located on Fulton Street, from 29th to 28th avenues and between 36th and 35th avenues, as well as on Lincoln Way between Sunset Boulevard and 25th Avenue.

Drop-off and pick-up locations for ride-hailing services will be at Balboa Street and 30th Avenue, recreation and park officials said.

For more information about the event, concertgoers can visit
www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com.

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