Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, online during this pandemic year, has announced a third group of acts appearing in “Let The Music Play On,” its virtual 20th anniversary celebration on Oct. 3. They include HSB veterans Chuck Prophet, Patty Griffin and first-time performers Birds of Chicago, Los Coast and Shakey Graves.
Already announced musicians participating in the “Hardly Strictly Broadcast” include Alison Brown, Yola, John Doe, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Sierra Ferrell, Amythyst Kiah, Buddy Miller, The War & Treaty, Steve Earle and the Halfgrass Dukes featuring Tim O’Brien and Dennis Crouch, and, of course, the beloved Emmylou Harris, who has appeared every year.
As some 750,000 fans have attended the famed free festival in Golden Gate Park through two decades, this year’s online event will offer archival sets and fans’ memories as well as new performance footage.
Griffin, a repeat HSB performer, has said of the event: “Because it’s free, there’s this huge swath of humanity there, every continent on earth is represented, and largely Americans so that shows you how diverse America is and it’s really beautiful that way.”
The late Warren Hellman created the one-of-a-kind extravaganza as a gift to San Francisco and celebration of American roots music.
This year’s event includes a focus on Black Lives Matter as well as fundraising efforts to assist musicians and others who cannot work due to the pandemic. HSB organizers mention that fans can purchase official 2020 commemorative merchandise, including “curated home kits,” with proceeds going to Sweet Relief’s Rex Roadie Fund, which helps crew facing economic hardship.