Hardly Strictly Bluegrass isn’t happening in Golden Gate Park in 2020 due to the pandemic; in its place, festival organizers are offering grants for roots musicians. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner 2017)

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass offers grants for roots musicians

Applications for relief funding due on Sept. 14

Instead of filling Golden Gate Park in 2020 during COVID-19, San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival is offering online programming in October and has launched a $1.5 million charitable effort to assist local musicians and music presenters, with the deadline for individual artists to apply soon approaching.

The Hardly Strictly Music Relief Fund, which includes $450,000 for individual artists, is accepting applications through Sept. 14 from musicians living in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo or Sonoma counties. People granted the funds will be notified by Sept. 25.

“Our fund for roots music musicians, in the form of grants up to $2,000 in unrestricted funds, is available to all but will give priority to Black, Indigenous and other communities of color,” said Frances Hellman, one of the directors of the Hellman Foundation, which supports Bay Area organizations and initiatives. “This is not only because these communities have been historically under-funded by philanthropy, but also because they have been adversely affected by the pandemic.”

The Fund will be administered by the Alliance for California Traditional Arts and the Center for Cultural Innovation, both known for promoting and advancing racial and cultural equity.

“This music relief effort recognizes the impact of artists whose roots music reflects the expressions, histories and values of their communities,” said Amy Kitchener, executive director of Alliance for California Traditional Arts.

The Hardly Strictly Music Relief Fund also includes a grant program for Bay Area music venues with a record of presenting American Roots styles. The nomination process for venues is closed with funding announcements coming soon.

Musicians interested in the grant opportunity should visit actaonline.org/hardlystrictly.

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