Thousands attend 19th Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Thousands of people are expected to attend the 19th Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park over the weekend.
The music celebration that started as a gift from philanthropist Warren Hellman is taking extra precautions this year, though, in the wake of the Gilroy shooting.
New security measures include fencing around the perimeter. Clear bags and backpacks are required. Extra staff are monitoring the stage areas. More police, park rangers and K-9 units will be patrolling.
Organizers and festival-goers said there were no backups or bottlenecks.
"Security was easy, I mean, it's Friday night, so it's probably going to be heavier traffic on the weekends, but yeah, it's been good," said Caroline DiMauro of Alameda.
"It was way easier than we thought it was going to be," said Chris Porter, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music programmer, "People took it in stride. It's a new situation. We all understand why we're doing it. We wanted to have our attendees to be safe."
"It was still very relaxed and friendly at least when I came in at a chill time on Friday, so I didn't' feel stressed out about it," said Tori Seitelman of San Francisco.
Some 83 musical acts on six stages will be open free to the public.
"We do aim to be an eclectic festival that hits a lot of different genres, so soul, funk, singer-songwriters, rock, indie rock, etc," said Porter of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.
No coolers are allowed, so the festival increased the number of food trucks and booths, with new offerings such as Navajo tacos and vendors as far away as the Ozarks.
"A lot of this food is from my grandmother and the food I remember eating at her table growing up so I took a lot of those inspirations," said Bryan Maness, owner of the Ozark Mountain Biscuit Company.
For many attendees, the warm weather and music made for the perfect day.
"I'm transport from Tennessee and it's a piece of home for me," said Paula Fellows, a San Francisco resident from Rockwood, Tennessee, tearing up as she spoke, "This is all my history and all my old songs that I grew up singing. It just means a lot."
The wide range of music, brought people from different communities, ages and walks of life, closer together.
"It's wonderful, we can bring our baby he runs around and plays. We can bring the dog. It's so special that SF has this for us," said Kate Freeman of San Francisco who was there with her toddler James and their family dog.
Among the artists performing are Robert Plant on Saturday, and Emmylou Harris, Judy Collins Meat Puppets and Punch Brothers on Sunday.
For a full schedule and details on new regulations click here.