Tenth bluegrass festival comes with gift to The City

The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival turned 10 this year, and for its anniversary it gave a present to San Francisco.

Warren Hellman, the San Francisco financier who bankrolls the festival, will donate about $75,000 to fix the irrigation system in a portion of Golden Gate Park where the three-day event is held, according to the Mayor’s Office.

The free, three-day music festival has been put on each year in Golden Gate Park. The event is bankrolled by financier Hellman, who appeared Saturday with Mayor Gavin Newsom to announce the gift.

Hardly Strictly, which drew roughly 800,000 people last year, is held on the meadows in the park that stretch between John F. Kennedy Drive between Crossover Drive and Spreckels Lake.

Years ago, copper wire was stolen from the irrigation system in the park. Since then, gardeners have been forced to turn on the sprinklers manually. The gift will go toward fixing the system around the meadows where the concert is held so the irrigation system will be automated again.

In addition to the gift, Newsom announced a proclamation honoring two of the artists who Hellman said were instrumental to the formation of the festival: Emmylou Harris and Hazel Dickens, both of whom perform at the festival Sunday.

Despite the award given to her, Harris told the crowd gathered under the overcast sky that Hellman was the one to thank.

“It’s all because of Warren Hellman that we gather here for three days of wonderful music,” she said.

mbillings@sfexaminer.com

Correction: This article was corrected on Oct. 2, 2010. The original article incorrectly identified the amount of the gift given. The correct amount is $75,000.

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