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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

October 4, 2012

Warren HellmanWarren Hellman has passed away, but the torch has been passed: Long live the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival. His largesse is legendary and he arranged an endowment to support the festival for 15 years after his death, which was in December 2011. His fortune was largely made as co-founder of a private equity firm. And so now he will be remembered in Hellman Hollow this weekend before such performers as Chuck Mead and His Grassy Knoll Boys, Red Baraat, Lloyd Cole, Patty Griffin, Dwight Yoakam, and the absolutely incomparable Patti Smith.

This is a festival appreciated by both connoisseurs and the merely curious. It is something for the entire family. There are kids everywhere. On a clear day this is a spectacular setting; but even not on a clear day, which quite honestly, it might well not be, even though this is supposed to be an Indian summer in the Outer Sunset District. No matter, this is one of those festivals where everybody’s in a good mood. The music rises to the occasion. It’s hassle-free and pure fun. Highly recommend.

Mark MacNamara, a writer and journalist based in Asheville, North Carolina, has written for such publications as NautilusSalonThe Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Vanity Fair. From time to time, his pieces in San Francisco Classical Voice also appear in  Noteworthy examples include a piece about Philip Glass’s dream to build a cultural center on the Pacific Coast; a profile of sound composer Pamela Z and an essay on the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. MacNamara recently won several awards in the 2018 Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards presented by the San Francisco Press Club.  His website is