Hardly Strictly is a major cultural event in California’s Bay area, a free 3-day music festival held each October at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, subsidized by successful equity investor Warren Hellman. The first festival was held in 2001 as a bluegrass weekend, billed as the Strictly Bluegrass Festival, a gift to the city from Hellman, a bluegrass lover and banjo player. As folk, Americana, pop, and rhythm and blues acts were included over the years, the festival added “Hardly” to the name.
The 2010 fest drew an estimated 600,000 over the three days, bringing music lovers from all over the US to savor the varied offerings at multiple stages.
So what does a monthly live show in NYC have to do with a mega-fest in San Fran? Steam Powered host Matt Diffie is emceeing the second annual Battle of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Bands on February 19, at Theatre 80 in Manhattan’s East Village. 12 invited bands will compete for a performance slot at the 2011 Hardly Strictly festival, along with a cash award to help defray travel expenses.
Here’s a look at the 2010 winners, Citigrass.