Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Organizers Announce ‘Let The Music Play On’ Virtual Festival & Music Relief Fund

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While the 2020 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival has been canceled due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, organizers will present the Let The Music Play On virtual festival October 2 – 4, 2020. In addition, organizers launched the Hardly Strictly Music Relief Fund: Bay Area, a charitable initative that will distribute $1.5 million to American roots musicians living in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo and Sonoma Counties as well as select venues.

Let The Music Play On will feature a mix of newly recorded performances and archival footage as well as interviews that tell the 20-year history of the event founded by Warren Hellman and usually held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Those who have attended HSB in the past are encouraged to send their favorite memories including stories, videos and photos to memories@hardlystrictlybluegrass.com for potential use in the October broadcast.

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“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,” said festival advisor Mick Hellman in a statement. “We’re excited to share parts of HSB that aren’t feasible in a festival environment such as screening archival footage, sharing memories, and shining a spotlight on our non-profit partners.”

The Hardly Strictly Music Relief Fund: Bay Area comes in an effort to “recognize, appreciate, and care for the people who lend their creativity, heart, and hard work to the American roots music ecosystem in the Bay Area.” An application link and deadline will be shared here in August for local musicians to apply for up to $2,000 in one-time, unrestricted support.

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Venues can also apply for grants and “a select number of nominated venues will be invited to submit a formal application for $100,000-$200,000 grants.” The money can be used to help pay ongoing “ongoing operating expenses, capacity building, and/or planning related to reopening, and must include funds dedicated to front-of-house and back-of-house staff.” The nomination form for venues is available here.

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