Hardly Strictly Bluegrass goes virtual in 2020, creates fund for local roots artists

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, HSB

The producers of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass have officially canceled the 2020 festival in Golden Gate Park. In its place in October, an online broadcast will include live performances by numerous artists, as well as archival streams. Additionally, the festival has launched a $1.5-million relief fund to support the local music community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement was made during a special online performance by Los Lobos on Saturday.

“While we know we can’t replace the feeling of being together physically, the safety of our attendees, artists, volunteers, and staff are our highest priority and our team has been hard at work creating a vibrant broadcast in line with what attendees have come to expect from HSB: community, discovery, and the all-time best in roots music, ” festival advisor Mick Hellman said in a news release.

American roots musicians living in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo and Sonoma Counties are invited to apply for unrestricted one-time support grants up to $2,000. The fund is also open to Bay Area music venues with a track record of presenting and supporting roots music of all kinds.

Venues are encouraged to nominate themselves for the grant opportunity. From those nominations, some venues will be invited to submit a formal application for up to $200,000 in grant funding for operating expenses, capacity building or planning related to reopening, and must include funds dedicated to front-of-house and back-of-house staff. To apply, visit the festival’s website.

The online broadcast will take place the weekend of Oct. 2 in conjunction with a celebration of the festival’ 20th anniversary. Fans of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass are encouraged to send their favorite memories via stories, videos and photos to memories@hardlystrictlybluegrass.org. They may be featured during the live broadcast in October.

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