3 Major Changes You Need To Know for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Fantastic Negrito, one of the performers at HSB ‘19

Fantastic Negrito, one of the performers at HSB ‘19

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, the free music festival is Golden Gate Park, returns this weekend, but there are a few changes worth noting this year. From acceptable bags to limited points of entry, there’s a whole new set of rules in the park.

Let’s start with points of entry. Gone are the days when you could tumble into the park from random breaks in the tree lines on Fulton and Lincoln because there’s a temporary fence line around the festival venue. There are now only four point of entry to the festival: JFK Drive and Transverse Drive, Fulton Street and 30th Avenue, JFK Drive and 36th Avenue, and the South Polo Field. Check out the points on this handy map.

Next up: baggage. Leave your picnic baskets and rolling coolers at home, folks. Festival goers are restricted to clear backpacks and insulated bags no larger than 16” x 16” x 8”. (Note: these are slightly different dimensions from what was allowed at Outside Lands.) Small fanny packs and purses no larger than 6” x 8” x 3” are also allowed, as as well as 2.5 L or smaller hydration packs or water bottles. There will be free water refill stations between Banjo Stage and Arrow Meadow. You can bring more than one bag, but the organizers ask you to keep it “reasonable” to keep the lines moving at the points of entry. Blankets and short chairs are still allowed, as are collapsible wagons. If you’re in the market for a wagon, you can get this one on Amazon Prime or Prime Now.

Organizers are making up for the limits on baggage and coolers with additional food options within the festival. There’s a solid lineup of San Francisco classics like A16, Little Skillet, and Curry Up Now. You’ll pack less and spend more, but at least it’s good food. All vendors will accept both cash and credit cards.

HSB may no longer be the free for all free-for-all that you know and love, but it’s still got a seriously talented lineup and no cover charge. Make sure your gear complies with the rules, and don’t forget to pack sunscreen. It’s shaping up to be a perfect San Francisco-summer-in-October weekend.