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The Meadows Festival’s Food Curator Dishes on Dining in Queens

The Meadows Festival’s Food Curator Dishes on Dining in Queens

The three-day Meadows Music & Arts Festival, produced by Founders Entertainment, brings together headlining musicians with Queens-based restaurants. The annual event is the sister festival to the Governors Ball Music Festival and takes place this year at the home of the New York Mets, Citi Field. Cole, Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, and The 1975 will play its four stages. From September 15 to 17, this year's event will be headlined by Jay-Z, Gorillaz, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with Weezer, LL Cool J, Nas, Erykah Badu, TV on the Radio, Foster the People, and Run the Jewels also on the bill.

One of the most delicious parts of the Meadows experience is its “Feastival of Queens.” Curated by food expert Joe DiStefano, the blogger and tour guide known as “The Guy Who Ate Queens,” the Feastival features Queens eateries of all kinds. On behalf of The Daily Meal, I had the pleasure of speaking with DiStefano about his work with The Meadows and what else he has going on.

More on The Meadows can be found at the festival’s website, while DiStefano can be followed on Twitter via @JoeDiStefano.

The Daily Meal: You are known to be among the most authoritative sources about dining in Queens. What drew you to Queens?

Joe DiStefano: Even though I was born in Queens, I grew up on Long Island. About 20 years ago, I moved to Woodside and began exploring the various cultures and cuisines along the 7 line. My nightly walks along Roosevelt Avenue from Jackson Heights to Woodside would include visits to Thai, Mexican, and Filipino restaurants and groceries. This was before [Anthony] Bourdain and [Andrew] Zimmern, back when SriPraPhai and Jackson Diner were still humble haunts for locals.

What fascinated me then and now about Queens and its food and culture was its immediacy and authenticity. When you eat Thai larb, Nepalese momo, Filipino crispy pata, or Mexican tortas in Queens, you’re eating those dishes in places where people of those cultures live, work, and play. I quickly became an avid Chowhound reader/poster and that eventually evolved into me becoming a food writer.

Where did the nickname "The Guy Who Ate Queens" come from?

Ah yes, that moniker was bestowed upon me by Daniel Maurer in a piece for GrubStreet announcing a now-bygone blog called “World’s Fare” that I wrote for Edible Queens.

How did you first get involved with The Meadows?

The folks at Founders came across my site Chopsticks and Marrow when they were researching Queens food. We developed the concept for the Feastival of Queens, an all-Queens food area featuring the borough’s best ethnic cuisines.

You curated food vendors for The Meadows. What criteria did you choose these vendors?

The vendors at the Feastival are all places that are near and dear to my heart and stomach. In many cases these people like Pedro Rodriguez of La Esquina del Camaron Mexicano are like family. I'm excited to add Thai desserts from Sugar Club and Indian chaat from Kurry Qulture to the mix this year. There’ll be everything from Pata Paplean’s soulful Thai boat noodles and Joju’s Vietnamese sandwiches, to the carnitas tacos from Tortas Neza and Colombian arepas, from the crown jewel of Colombian street food Areperia Arepa Lady.

What does curating food for a festival entail?

Eating and more eating! Also lots of outreach. There are some things I would love to have had at the Feastival, but they proved to be too difficult because of manpower. Korean fried chicken comes to mind. Most of all what it entails is keeping a sense of balance. It’s important to have dessert and vegetarian options. With foods from Colombia, India, Mexico, Thailand, and Vietnam, I think we did a good job of representing the world’s borough.

Any artists at The Meadows 2017 whom you're excited to check out?

I’m stoked to see Flushing’s finest, Action Bronson, and the pride of Hollis, LL Cool J. And of course Nas, and Jay-Z, even though he’s from Brooklyn.

Meadows Festival aside, any other upcoming projects that you can talk about?

I just wrapped up a guidebook called 111 Places in Queens That You Must Not Miss. It’s got everything from Harry Houdini’s grave to the largest tree in Queens to Golden Shopping Mall. You can pre-order a copy here if you like.

Are you still available for private food tours?

Absolutely! Interested, adventurous, and hungry parties can e-mail me at [email protected] to learn more.

When not busy with the food world, how do you like to spend your free time?

Wait, there’s another world? (laughs) I like to go to the Queens Museum and walk through Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

From experience, how does one manage to keep up on new restaurants and food trends while staying thin?

I am blessed with a high metabolism and I exercise frequently. Plus, I do eat such virtuous things as fruit and yogurt, but you’ll never see me blog about that.

Finally, Joe, any last words for the kids?

Enough with the levitating noodles already. Stop it and eat your food. I mean, I like Instagram, but sheesh!


Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival's new curator seeks authenticity in lineup

1 of 13 EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 19: Ani DiFranco performs on stage at Queens Hall on September 19, 2014 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns via Getty Images) Roberto Ricciuti / Redferns via Getty Images Show More Show Less

2 of 13 Sun light falls upon the fans during Emmylou Harris' performance at Banjo Stage during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

3 of 13 Emmylou Harris will be back at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

4 of 13 Singer-songwriter Roky Erickson performs in concert during the Maverick Music Festival at Maverick Plaza on March 21, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage) Rick Kern / WireImage Show More Show Less

5 of 13 Mavis Staples performs during BottleRock on Saturday, May 27, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

6 of 13 Howlin Rain's Ethan Miller Alissa Anderson Show More Show Less

7 of 13 Chris Porter Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

8 of 13 SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 03: Guitarist Roger McNamee of Doobie Decibel System performs onstage at Golden Gate Park on October 3, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images) Scott Dudelson / Getty Images Show More Show Less

9 of 13 Thousands gather at Rooster Stage Stage to watch Lampedusa perform during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

10 of 13 Jeff Tweedy Courtesy of the artist Show More Show Less

11 of 13 Robyn Hitchcock Yep Roc Show More Show Less

12 of 13 Alison Krauss is booked for this fall’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Press Here Show More Show Less

13 of 13 Alison Krauss Press Here Show More Show Less

Chris Porter had some mighty big boots to fill.

When the talent buyer was brought in to assemble the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass lineup in March, after the festival&rsquos longtime musical curator Dawn Holliday stepped down from the position to focus on other ventures, he knew he would have to please a lot of people.

The free three-day outdoor festival in Golden Gate Park, running from Oct. 5 to 7, has become one of the highlights of the Bay Area fall entertainment calendar, typically drawing an estimated audience of 500,000 over the weekend.

&ldquoI always say booking a festival is like juggling and putting a jigsaw puzzle together at the same time,&rdquo Porter said, calling from his home in Seattle. &ldquoThe creativity involved in it is an art.&rdquo

Well, it seems Porter has all the puzzle pieces he needs as the 18th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival will feature performances by Grammy-winning musicians Alison Krauss and Jeff Tweedy, a retrospective set by the eccentric English musician Robyn Hitchcock, and a rare live appearance by Roky Erickson, the reclusive Texan leader of the &rsquo60s psychedelic band the 13th Floor Elevators.

Organizers revealed the full lineup for the concert on Tuesday, Aug. 28, after weeks of dropping clues through a series of music medleys posted to the festival&rsquos app and website.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: Noon-7 p.m. Oct. 5 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 6-7. Free. Hellman Hollow, Marx and Lindley meadows in Golden Gate Park, S.F. www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com

With more than 80 acts performing on six stages, the event once again boasts an expansive roster spanning genres and generations.

Among the other artists on the bill this year are Graham Nash, Ani DiFranco, Vetiver, Steve Forbert, Ween, Prairie Prince, Mavis Staples, Hip Spanic Allstars, Gomez, JD McPherson, Howlin&rsquo Rain, I&rsquom With Her, Greyboy Allstars, Nick Lowe, Rodney Crowell and more.

&ldquoI wanted to stay true to what Hardly Strictly is about and what&rsquos appropriate for those stages,&rdquo said Porter, who for 18 years served as the programming director for the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle. &ldquoI wanted to be careful to keep it authentic.&rdquo

Holliday, who co-founded the festival with the late investment banker Warren Hellman in 2001 as a gift to the people of San Francisco, oversaw the expansion of the one-day concert with eight acts in a quiet corner of the park into a huge annual fete that last year featured more than 100 musicians performing across seven stages over three days.

During her tenure as the festival&rsquos musical curator, Holliday (who stayed on as a consultant this year) brought in headliners such as Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and Rosanne Cash.

She also established a stable of festival regulars including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass&rsquo perennial Sunday night headliner, Emmylou Harris, who will return this year, alongside other veteran acts like Steve Earle, the Del McCoury Band, Buddy Miller, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Justin Townes Earle, Moonalice, Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin, the Flatlanders and the Go to Hell Man Band.

&ldquoThose acts are part of the fabric of the festival,&rdquo Porter said.

The Hellman family continues to fund Hardly Strictly Bluegrass with an endowment.

While Porter would not comment on whether his talent buyer position is permanent, he said he looks forward to putting his thumbprint on future lineups if given the opportunity.

&ldquoI&rsquom very honored that the reins were passed to me,&rdquo he said.

Aidin Vaziri is The San Francisco Chronicle&rsquos pop music critic. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @MusicSF

Aidin Vaziri is a proficient reporter who covers news, health, and entertainment. He joined The San Francisco Chronicle in 2004. He has also written for other distinguished media outlets, including Rolling Stone, National Geographic, and E! Networks.


Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival's new curator seeks authenticity in lineup

1 of 13 EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 19: Ani DiFranco performs on stage at Queens Hall on September 19, 2014 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns via Getty Images) Roberto Ricciuti / Redferns via Getty Images Show More Show Less

2 of 13 Sun light falls upon the fans during Emmylou Harris' performance at Banjo Stage during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

3 of 13 Emmylou Harris will be back at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

4 of 13 Singer-songwriter Roky Erickson performs in concert during the Maverick Music Festival at Maverick Plaza on March 21, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage) Rick Kern / WireImage Show More Show Less

5 of 13 Mavis Staples performs during BottleRock on Saturday, May 27, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

6 of 13 Howlin Rain's Ethan Miller Alissa Anderson Show More Show Less

7 of 13 Chris Porter Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

8 of 13 SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 03: Guitarist Roger McNamee of Doobie Decibel System performs onstage at Golden Gate Park on October 3, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images) Scott Dudelson / Getty Images Show More Show Less

9 of 13 Thousands gather at Rooster Stage Stage to watch Lampedusa perform during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

10 of 13 Jeff Tweedy Courtesy of the artist Show More Show Less

11 of 13 Robyn Hitchcock Yep Roc Show More Show Less

12 of 13 Alison Krauss is booked for this fall’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Press Here Show More Show Less

13 of 13 Alison Krauss Press Here Show More Show Less

Chris Porter had some mighty big boots to fill.

When the talent buyer was brought in to assemble the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass lineup in March, after the festival&rsquos longtime musical curator Dawn Holliday stepped down from the position to focus on other ventures, he knew he would have to please a lot of people.

The free three-day outdoor festival in Golden Gate Park, running from Oct. 5 to 7, has become one of the highlights of the Bay Area fall entertainment calendar, typically drawing an estimated audience of 500,000 over the weekend.

&ldquoI always say booking a festival is like juggling and putting a jigsaw puzzle together at the same time,&rdquo Porter said, calling from his home in Seattle. &ldquoThe creativity involved in it is an art.&rdquo

Well, it seems Porter has all the puzzle pieces he needs as the 18th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival will feature performances by Grammy-winning musicians Alison Krauss and Jeff Tweedy, a retrospective set by the eccentric English musician Robyn Hitchcock, and a rare live appearance by Roky Erickson, the reclusive Texan leader of the &rsquo60s psychedelic band the 13th Floor Elevators.

Organizers revealed the full lineup for the concert on Tuesday, Aug. 28, after weeks of dropping clues through a series of music medleys posted to the festival&rsquos app and website.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: Noon-7 p.m. Oct. 5 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 6-7. Free. Hellman Hollow, Marx and Lindley meadows in Golden Gate Park, S.F. www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com

With more than 80 acts performing on six stages, the event once again boasts an expansive roster spanning genres and generations.

Among the other artists on the bill this year are Graham Nash, Ani DiFranco, Vetiver, Steve Forbert, Ween, Prairie Prince, Mavis Staples, Hip Spanic Allstars, Gomez, JD McPherson, Howlin&rsquo Rain, I&rsquom With Her, Greyboy Allstars, Nick Lowe, Rodney Crowell and more.

&ldquoI wanted to stay true to what Hardly Strictly is about and what&rsquos appropriate for those stages,&rdquo said Porter, who for 18 years served as the programming director for the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle. &ldquoI wanted to be careful to keep it authentic.&rdquo

Holliday, who co-founded the festival with the late investment banker Warren Hellman in 2001 as a gift to the people of San Francisco, oversaw the expansion of the one-day concert with eight acts in a quiet corner of the park into a huge annual fete that last year featured more than 100 musicians performing across seven stages over three days.

During her tenure as the festival&rsquos musical curator, Holliday (who stayed on as a consultant this year) brought in headliners such as Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and Rosanne Cash.

She also established a stable of festival regulars including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass&rsquo perennial Sunday night headliner, Emmylou Harris, who will return this year, alongside other veteran acts like Steve Earle, the Del McCoury Band, Buddy Miller, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Justin Townes Earle, Moonalice, Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin, the Flatlanders and the Go to Hell Man Band.

&ldquoThose acts are part of the fabric of the festival,&rdquo Porter said.

The Hellman family continues to fund Hardly Strictly Bluegrass with an endowment.

While Porter would not comment on whether his talent buyer position is permanent, he said he looks forward to putting his thumbprint on future lineups if given the opportunity.

&ldquoI&rsquom very honored that the reins were passed to me,&rdquo he said.

Aidin Vaziri is The San Francisco Chronicle&rsquos pop music critic. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @MusicSF

Aidin Vaziri is a proficient reporter who covers news, health, and entertainment. He joined The San Francisco Chronicle in 2004. He has also written for other distinguished media outlets, including Rolling Stone, National Geographic, and E! Networks.


Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival's new curator seeks authenticity in lineup

1 of 13 EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 19: Ani DiFranco performs on stage at Queens Hall on September 19, 2014 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns via Getty Images) Roberto Ricciuti / Redferns via Getty Images Show More Show Less

2 of 13 Sun light falls upon the fans during Emmylou Harris' performance at Banjo Stage during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

3 of 13 Emmylou Harris will be back at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

4 of 13 Singer-songwriter Roky Erickson performs in concert during the Maverick Music Festival at Maverick Plaza on March 21, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage) Rick Kern / WireImage Show More Show Less

5 of 13 Mavis Staples performs during BottleRock on Saturday, May 27, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

6 of 13 Howlin Rain's Ethan Miller Alissa Anderson Show More Show Less

7 of 13 Chris Porter Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

8 of 13 SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 03: Guitarist Roger McNamee of Doobie Decibel System performs onstage at Golden Gate Park on October 3, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images) Scott Dudelson / Getty Images Show More Show Less

9 of 13 Thousands gather at Rooster Stage Stage to watch Lampedusa perform during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

10 of 13 Jeff Tweedy Courtesy of the artist Show More Show Less

11 of 13 Robyn Hitchcock Yep Roc Show More Show Less

12 of 13 Alison Krauss is booked for this fall’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Press Here Show More Show Less

13 of 13 Alison Krauss Press Here Show More Show Less

Chris Porter had some mighty big boots to fill.

When the talent buyer was brought in to assemble the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass lineup in March, after the festival&rsquos longtime musical curator Dawn Holliday stepped down from the position to focus on other ventures, he knew he would have to please a lot of people.

The free three-day outdoor festival in Golden Gate Park, running from Oct. 5 to 7, has become one of the highlights of the Bay Area fall entertainment calendar, typically drawing an estimated audience of 500,000 over the weekend.

&ldquoI always say booking a festival is like juggling and putting a jigsaw puzzle together at the same time,&rdquo Porter said, calling from his home in Seattle. &ldquoThe creativity involved in it is an art.&rdquo

Well, it seems Porter has all the puzzle pieces he needs as the 18th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival will feature performances by Grammy-winning musicians Alison Krauss and Jeff Tweedy, a retrospective set by the eccentric English musician Robyn Hitchcock, and a rare live appearance by Roky Erickson, the reclusive Texan leader of the &rsquo60s psychedelic band the 13th Floor Elevators.

Organizers revealed the full lineup for the concert on Tuesday, Aug. 28, after weeks of dropping clues through a series of music medleys posted to the festival&rsquos app and website.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: Noon-7 p.m. Oct. 5 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 6-7. Free. Hellman Hollow, Marx and Lindley meadows in Golden Gate Park, S.F. www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com

With more than 80 acts performing on six stages, the event once again boasts an expansive roster spanning genres and generations.

Among the other artists on the bill this year are Graham Nash, Ani DiFranco, Vetiver, Steve Forbert, Ween, Prairie Prince, Mavis Staples, Hip Spanic Allstars, Gomez, JD McPherson, Howlin&rsquo Rain, I&rsquom With Her, Greyboy Allstars, Nick Lowe, Rodney Crowell and more.

&ldquoI wanted to stay true to what Hardly Strictly is about and what&rsquos appropriate for those stages,&rdquo said Porter, who for 18 years served as the programming director for the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle. &ldquoI wanted to be careful to keep it authentic.&rdquo

Holliday, who co-founded the festival with the late investment banker Warren Hellman in 2001 as a gift to the people of San Francisco, oversaw the expansion of the one-day concert with eight acts in a quiet corner of the park into a huge annual fete that last year featured more than 100 musicians performing across seven stages over three days.

During her tenure as the festival&rsquos musical curator, Holliday (who stayed on as a consultant this year) brought in headliners such as Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and Rosanne Cash.

She also established a stable of festival regulars including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass&rsquo perennial Sunday night headliner, Emmylou Harris, who will return this year, alongside other veteran acts like Steve Earle, the Del McCoury Band, Buddy Miller, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Justin Townes Earle, Moonalice, Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin, the Flatlanders and the Go to Hell Man Band.

&ldquoThose acts are part of the fabric of the festival,&rdquo Porter said.

The Hellman family continues to fund Hardly Strictly Bluegrass with an endowment.

While Porter would not comment on whether his talent buyer position is permanent, he said he looks forward to putting his thumbprint on future lineups if given the opportunity.

&ldquoI&rsquom very honored that the reins were passed to me,&rdquo he said.

Aidin Vaziri is The San Francisco Chronicle&rsquos pop music critic. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @MusicSF

Aidin Vaziri is a proficient reporter who covers news, health, and entertainment. He joined The San Francisco Chronicle in 2004. He has also written for other distinguished media outlets, including Rolling Stone, National Geographic, and E! Networks.


Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival's new curator seeks authenticity in lineup

1 of 13 EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 19: Ani DiFranco performs on stage at Queens Hall on September 19, 2014 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns via Getty Images) Roberto Ricciuti / Redferns via Getty Images Show More Show Less

2 of 13 Sun light falls upon the fans during Emmylou Harris' performance at Banjo Stage during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

3 of 13 Emmylou Harris will be back at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

4 of 13 Singer-songwriter Roky Erickson performs in concert during the Maverick Music Festival at Maverick Plaza on March 21, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage) Rick Kern / WireImage Show More Show Less

5 of 13 Mavis Staples performs during BottleRock on Saturday, May 27, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

6 of 13 Howlin Rain's Ethan Miller Alissa Anderson Show More Show Less

7 of 13 Chris Porter Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

8 of 13 SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 03: Guitarist Roger McNamee of Doobie Decibel System performs onstage at Golden Gate Park on October 3, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images) Scott Dudelson / Getty Images Show More Show Less

9 of 13 Thousands gather at Rooster Stage Stage to watch Lampedusa perform during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

10 of 13 Jeff Tweedy Courtesy of the artist Show More Show Less

11 of 13 Robyn Hitchcock Yep Roc Show More Show Less

12 of 13 Alison Krauss is booked for this fall’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Press Here Show More Show Less

13 of 13 Alison Krauss Press Here Show More Show Less

Chris Porter had some mighty big boots to fill.

When the talent buyer was brought in to assemble the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass lineup in March, after the festival&rsquos longtime musical curator Dawn Holliday stepped down from the position to focus on other ventures, he knew he would have to please a lot of people.

The free three-day outdoor festival in Golden Gate Park, running from Oct. 5 to 7, has become one of the highlights of the Bay Area fall entertainment calendar, typically drawing an estimated audience of 500,000 over the weekend.

&ldquoI always say booking a festival is like juggling and putting a jigsaw puzzle together at the same time,&rdquo Porter said, calling from his home in Seattle. &ldquoThe creativity involved in it is an art.&rdquo

Well, it seems Porter has all the puzzle pieces he needs as the 18th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival will feature performances by Grammy-winning musicians Alison Krauss and Jeff Tweedy, a retrospective set by the eccentric English musician Robyn Hitchcock, and a rare live appearance by Roky Erickson, the reclusive Texan leader of the &rsquo60s psychedelic band the 13th Floor Elevators.

Organizers revealed the full lineup for the concert on Tuesday, Aug. 28, after weeks of dropping clues through a series of music medleys posted to the festival&rsquos app and website.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: Noon-7 p.m. Oct. 5 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 6-7. Free. Hellman Hollow, Marx and Lindley meadows in Golden Gate Park, S.F. www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com

With more than 80 acts performing on six stages, the event once again boasts an expansive roster spanning genres and generations.

Among the other artists on the bill this year are Graham Nash, Ani DiFranco, Vetiver, Steve Forbert, Ween, Prairie Prince, Mavis Staples, Hip Spanic Allstars, Gomez, JD McPherson, Howlin&rsquo Rain, I&rsquom With Her, Greyboy Allstars, Nick Lowe, Rodney Crowell and more.

&ldquoI wanted to stay true to what Hardly Strictly is about and what&rsquos appropriate for those stages,&rdquo said Porter, who for 18 years served as the programming director for the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle. &ldquoI wanted to be careful to keep it authentic.&rdquo

Holliday, who co-founded the festival with the late investment banker Warren Hellman in 2001 as a gift to the people of San Francisco, oversaw the expansion of the one-day concert with eight acts in a quiet corner of the park into a huge annual fete that last year featured more than 100 musicians performing across seven stages over three days.

During her tenure as the festival&rsquos musical curator, Holliday (who stayed on as a consultant this year) brought in headliners such as Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and Rosanne Cash.

She also established a stable of festival regulars including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass&rsquo perennial Sunday night headliner, Emmylou Harris, who will return this year, alongside other veteran acts like Steve Earle, the Del McCoury Band, Buddy Miller, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Justin Townes Earle, Moonalice, Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin, the Flatlanders and the Go to Hell Man Band.

&ldquoThose acts are part of the fabric of the festival,&rdquo Porter said.

The Hellman family continues to fund Hardly Strictly Bluegrass with an endowment.

While Porter would not comment on whether his talent buyer position is permanent, he said he looks forward to putting his thumbprint on future lineups if given the opportunity.

&ldquoI&rsquom very honored that the reins were passed to me,&rdquo he said.

Aidin Vaziri is The San Francisco Chronicle&rsquos pop music critic. Email: [email protected]le.com Twitter: @MusicSF

Aidin Vaziri is a proficient reporter who covers news, health, and entertainment. He joined The San Francisco Chronicle in 2004. He has also written for other distinguished media outlets, including Rolling Stone, National Geographic, and E! Networks.


Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival's new curator seeks authenticity in lineup

1 of 13 EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 19: Ani DiFranco performs on stage at Queens Hall on September 19, 2014 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns via Getty Images) Roberto Ricciuti / Redferns via Getty Images Show More Show Less

2 of 13 Sun light falls upon the fans during Emmylou Harris' performance at Banjo Stage during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

3 of 13 Emmylou Harris will be back at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

4 of 13 Singer-songwriter Roky Erickson performs in concert during the Maverick Music Festival at Maverick Plaza on March 21, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage) Rick Kern / WireImage Show More Show Less

5 of 13 Mavis Staples performs during BottleRock on Saturday, May 27, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

6 of 13 Howlin Rain's Ethan Miller Alissa Anderson Show More Show Less

7 of 13 Chris Porter Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

8 of 13 SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 03: Guitarist Roger McNamee of Doobie Decibel System performs onstage at Golden Gate Park on October 3, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images) Scott Dudelson / Getty Images Show More Show Less

9 of 13 Thousands gather at Rooster Stage Stage to watch Lampedusa perform during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

10 of 13 Jeff Tweedy Courtesy of the artist Show More Show Less

11 of 13 Robyn Hitchcock Yep Roc Show More Show Less

12 of 13 Alison Krauss is booked for this fall’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Press Here Show More Show Less

13 of 13 Alison Krauss Press Here Show More Show Less

Chris Porter had some mighty big boots to fill.

When the talent buyer was brought in to assemble the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass lineup in March, after the festival&rsquos longtime musical curator Dawn Holliday stepped down from the position to focus on other ventures, he knew he would have to please a lot of people.

The free three-day outdoor festival in Golden Gate Park, running from Oct. 5 to 7, has become one of the highlights of the Bay Area fall entertainment calendar, typically drawing an estimated audience of 500,000 over the weekend.

&ldquoI always say booking a festival is like juggling and putting a jigsaw puzzle together at the same time,&rdquo Porter said, calling from his home in Seattle. &ldquoThe creativity involved in it is an art.&rdquo

Well, it seems Porter has all the puzzle pieces he needs as the 18th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival will feature performances by Grammy-winning musicians Alison Krauss and Jeff Tweedy, a retrospective set by the eccentric English musician Robyn Hitchcock, and a rare live appearance by Roky Erickson, the reclusive Texan leader of the &rsquo60s psychedelic band the 13th Floor Elevators.

Organizers revealed the full lineup for the concert on Tuesday, Aug. 28, after weeks of dropping clues through a series of music medleys posted to the festival&rsquos app and website.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: Noon-7 p.m. Oct. 5 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 6-7. Free. Hellman Hollow, Marx and Lindley meadows in Golden Gate Park, S.F. www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com

With more than 80 acts performing on six stages, the event once again boasts an expansive roster spanning genres and generations.

Among the other artists on the bill this year are Graham Nash, Ani DiFranco, Vetiver, Steve Forbert, Ween, Prairie Prince, Mavis Staples, Hip Spanic Allstars, Gomez, JD McPherson, Howlin&rsquo Rain, I&rsquom With Her, Greyboy Allstars, Nick Lowe, Rodney Crowell and more.

&ldquoI wanted to stay true to what Hardly Strictly is about and what&rsquos appropriate for those stages,&rdquo said Porter, who for 18 years served as the programming director for the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle. &ldquoI wanted to be careful to keep it authentic.&rdquo

Holliday, who co-founded the festival with the late investment banker Warren Hellman in 2001 as a gift to the people of San Francisco, oversaw the expansion of the one-day concert with eight acts in a quiet corner of the park into a huge annual fete that last year featured more than 100 musicians performing across seven stages over three days.

During her tenure as the festival&rsquos musical curator, Holliday (who stayed on as a consultant this year) brought in headliners such as Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and Rosanne Cash.

She also established a stable of festival regulars including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass&rsquo perennial Sunday night headliner, Emmylou Harris, who will return this year, alongside other veteran acts like Steve Earle, the Del McCoury Band, Buddy Miller, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Justin Townes Earle, Moonalice, Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin, the Flatlanders and the Go to Hell Man Band.

&ldquoThose acts are part of the fabric of the festival,&rdquo Porter said.

The Hellman family continues to fund Hardly Strictly Bluegrass with an endowment.

While Porter would not comment on whether his talent buyer position is permanent, he said he looks forward to putting his thumbprint on future lineups if given the opportunity.

&ldquoI&rsquom very honored that the reins were passed to me,&rdquo he said.

Aidin Vaziri is The San Francisco Chronicle&rsquos pop music critic. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @MusicSF

Aidin Vaziri is a proficient reporter who covers news, health, and entertainment. He joined The San Francisco Chronicle in 2004. He has also written for other distinguished media outlets, including Rolling Stone, National Geographic, and E! Networks.


Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival's new curator seeks authenticity in lineup

1 of 13 EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 19: Ani DiFranco performs on stage at Queens Hall on September 19, 2014 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns via Getty Images) Roberto Ricciuti / Redferns via Getty Images Show More Show Less

2 of 13 Sun light falls upon the fans during Emmylou Harris' performance at Banjo Stage during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

3 of 13 Emmylou Harris will be back at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

4 of 13 Singer-songwriter Roky Erickson performs in concert during the Maverick Music Festival at Maverick Plaza on March 21, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage) Rick Kern / WireImage Show More Show Less

5 of 13 Mavis Staples performs during BottleRock on Saturday, May 27, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

6 of 13 Howlin Rain's Ethan Miller Alissa Anderson Show More Show Less

7 of 13 Chris Porter Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

8 of 13 SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 03: Guitarist Roger McNamee of Doobie Decibel System performs onstage at Golden Gate Park on October 3, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images) Scott Dudelson / Getty Images Show More Show Less

9 of 13 Thousands gather at Rooster Stage Stage to watch Lampedusa perform during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

10 of 13 Jeff Tweedy Courtesy of the artist Show More Show Less

11 of 13 Robyn Hitchcock Yep Roc Show More Show Less

12 of 13 Alison Krauss is booked for this fall’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Press Here Show More Show Less

13 of 13 Alison Krauss Press Here Show More Show Less

Chris Porter had some mighty big boots to fill.

When the talent buyer was brought in to assemble the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass lineup in March, after the festival&rsquos longtime musical curator Dawn Holliday stepped down from the position to focus on other ventures, he knew he would have to please a lot of people.

The free three-day outdoor festival in Golden Gate Park, running from Oct. 5 to 7, has become one of the highlights of the Bay Area fall entertainment calendar, typically drawing an estimated audience of 500,000 over the weekend.

&ldquoI always say booking a festival is like juggling and putting a jigsaw puzzle together at the same time,&rdquo Porter said, calling from his home in Seattle. &ldquoThe creativity involved in it is an art.&rdquo

Well, it seems Porter has all the puzzle pieces he needs as the 18th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival will feature performances by Grammy-winning musicians Alison Krauss and Jeff Tweedy, a retrospective set by the eccentric English musician Robyn Hitchcock, and a rare live appearance by Roky Erickson, the reclusive Texan leader of the &rsquo60s psychedelic band the 13th Floor Elevators.

Organizers revealed the full lineup for the concert on Tuesday, Aug. 28, after weeks of dropping clues through a series of music medleys posted to the festival&rsquos app and website.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: Noon-7 p.m. Oct. 5 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 6-7. Free. Hellman Hollow, Marx and Lindley meadows in Golden Gate Park, S.F. www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com

With more than 80 acts performing on six stages, the event once again boasts an expansive roster spanning genres and generations.

Among the other artists on the bill this year are Graham Nash, Ani DiFranco, Vetiver, Steve Forbert, Ween, Prairie Prince, Mavis Staples, Hip Spanic Allstars, Gomez, JD McPherson, Howlin&rsquo Rain, I&rsquom With Her, Greyboy Allstars, Nick Lowe, Rodney Crowell and more.

&ldquoI wanted to stay true to what Hardly Strictly is about and what&rsquos appropriate for those stages,&rdquo said Porter, who for 18 years served as the programming director for the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle. &ldquoI wanted to be careful to keep it authentic.&rdquo

Holliday, who co-founded the festival with the late investment banker Warren Hellman in 2001 as a gift to the people of San Francisco, oversaw the expansion of the one-day concert with eight acts in a quiet corner of the park into a huge annual fete that last year featured more than 100 musicians performing across seven stages over three days.

During her tenure as the festival&rsquos musical curator, Holliday (who stayed on as a consultant this year) brought in headliners such as Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and Rosanne Cash.

She also established a stable of festival regulars including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass&rsquo perennial Sunday night headliner, Emmylou Harris, who will return this year, alongside other veteran acts like Steve Earle, the Del McCoury Band, Buddy Miller, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Justin Townes Earle, Moonalice, Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin, the Flatlanders and the Go to Hell Man Band.

&ldquoThose acts are part of the fabric of the festival,&rdquo Porter said.

The Hellman family continues to fund Hardly Strictly Bluegrass with an endowment.

While Porter would not comment on whether his talent buyer position is permanent, he said he looks forward to putting his thumbprint on future lineups if given the opportunity.

&ldquoI&rsquom very honored that the reins were passed to me,&rdquo he said.

Aidin Vaziri is The San Francisco Chronicle&rsquos pop music critic. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @MusicSF

Aidin Vaziri is a proficient reporter who covers news, health, and entertainment. He joined The San Francisco Chronicle in 2004. He has also written for other distinguished media outlets, including Rolling Stone, National Geographic, and E! Networks.


Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival's new curator seeks authenticity in lineup

1 of 13 EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 19: Ani DiFranco performs on stage at Queens Hall on September 19, 2014 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns via Getty Images) Roberto Ricciuti / Redferns via Getty Images Show More Show Less

2 of 13 Sun light falls upon the fans during Emmylou Harris' performance at Banjo Stage during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

3 of 13 Emmylou Harris will be back at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

4 of 13 Singer-songwriter Roky Erickson performs in concert during the Maverick Music Festival at Maverick Plaza on March 21, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage) Rick Kern / WireImage Show More Show Less

5 of 13 Mavis Staples performs during BottleRock on Saturday, May 27, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

6 of 13 Howlin Rain's Ethan Miller Alissa Anderson Show More Show Less

7 of 13 Chris Porter Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

8 of 13 SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 03: Guitarist Roger McNamee of Doobie Decibel System performs onstage at Golden Gate Park on October 3, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images) Scott Dudelson / Getty Images Show More Show Less

9 of 13 Thousands gather at Rooster Stage Stage to watch Lampedusa perform during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

10 of 13 Jeff Tweedy Courtesy of the artist Show More Show Less

11 of 13 Robyn Hitchcock Yep Roc Show More Show Less

12 of 13 Alison Krauss is booked for this fall’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Press Here Show More Show Less

13 of 13 Alison Krauss Press Here Show More Show Less

Chris Porter had some mighty big boots to fill.

When the talent buyer was brought in to assemble the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass lineup in March, after the festival&rsquos longtime musical curator Dawn Holliday stepped down from the position to focus on other ventures, he knew he would have to please a lot of people.

The free three-day outdoor festival in Golden Gate Park, running from Oct. 5 to 7, has become one of the highlights of the Bay Area fall entertainment calendar, typically drawing an estimated audience of 500,000 over the weekend.

&ldquoI always say booking a festival is like juggling and putting a jigsaw puzzle together at the same time,&rdquo Porter said, calling from his home in Seattle. &ldquoThe creativity involved in it is an art.&rdquo

Well, it seems Porter has all the puzzle pieces he needs as the 18th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival will feature performances by Grammy-winning musicians Alison Krauss and Jeff Tweedy, a retrospective set by the eccentric English musician Robyn Hitchcock, and a rare live appearance by Roky Erickson, the reclusive Texan leader of the &rsquo60s psychedelic band the 13th Floor Elevators.

Organizers revealed the full lineup for the concert on Tuesday, Aug. 28, after weeks of dropping clues through a series of music medleys posted to the festival&rsquos app and website.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: Noon-7 p.m. Oct. 5 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 6-7. Free. Hellman Hollow, Marx and Lindley meadows in Golden Gate Park, S.F. www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com

With more than 80 acts performing on six stages, the event once again boasts an expansive roster spanning genres and generations.

Among the other artists on the bill this year are Graham Nash, Ani DiFranco, Vetiver, Steve Forbert, Ween, Prairie Prince, Mavis Staples, Hip Spanic Allstars, Gomez, JD McPherson, Howlin&rsquo Rain, I&rsquom With Her, Greyboy Allstars, Nick Lowe, Rodney Crowell and more.

&ldquoI wanted to stay true to what Hardly Strictly is about and what&rsquos appropriate for those stages,&rdquo said Porter, who for 18 years served as the programming director for the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle. &ldquoI wanted to be careful to keep it authentic.&rdquo

Holliday, who co-founded the festival with the late investment banker Warren Hellman in 2001 as a gift to the people of San Francisco, oversaw the expansion of the one-day concert with eight acts in a quiet corner of the park into a huge annual fete that last year featured more than 100 musicians performing across seven stages over three days.

During her tenure as the festival&rsquos musical curator, Holliday (who stayed on as a consultant this year) brought in headliners such as Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and Rosanne Cash.

She also established a stable of festival regulars including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass&rsquo perennial Sunday night headliner, Emmylou Harris, who will return this year, alongside other veteran acts like Steve Earle, the Del McCoury Band, Buddy Miller, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Justin Townes Earle, Moonalice, Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin, the Flatlanders and the Go to Hell Man Band.

&ldquoThose acts are part of the fabric of the festival,&rdquo Porter said.

The Hellman family continues to fund Hardly Strictly Bluegrass with an endowment.

While Porter would not comment on whether his talent buyer position is permanent, he said he looks forward to putting his thumbprint on future lineups if given the opportunity.

&ldquoI&rsquom very honored that the reins were passed to me,&rdquo he said.

Aidin Vaziri is The San Francisco Chronicle&rsquos pop music critic. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @MusicSF

Aidin Vaziri is a proficient reporter who covers news, health, and entertainment. He joined The San Francisco Chronicle in 2004. He has also written for other distinguished media outlets, including Rolling Stone, National Geographic, and E! Networks.


Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival's new curator seeks authenticity in lineup

1 of 13 EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 19: Ani DiFranco performs on stage at Queens Hall on September 19, 2014 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns via Getty Images) Roberto Ricciuti / Redferns via Getty Images Show More Show Less

2 of 13 Sun light falls upon the fans during Emmylou Harris' performance at Banjo Stage during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

3 of 13 Emmylou Harris will be back at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

4 of 13 Singer-songwriter Roky Erickson performs in concert during the Maverick Music Festival at Maverick Plaza on March 21, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage) Rick Kern / WireImage Show More Show Less

5 of 13 Mavis Staples performs during BottleRock on Saturday, May 27, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

6 of 13 Howlin Rain's Ethan Miller Alissa Anderson Show More Show Less

7 of 13 Chris Porter Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

8 of 13 SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 03: Guitarist Roger McNamee of Doobie Decibel System performs onstage at Golden Gate Park on October 3, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images) Scott Dudelson / Getty Images Show More Show Less

9 of 13 Thousands gather at Rooster Stage Stage to watch Lampedusa perform during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

10 of 13 Jeff Tweedy Courtesy of the artist Show More Show Less

11 of 13 Robyn Hitchcock Yep Roc Show More Show Less

12 of 13 Alison Krauss is booked for this fall’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Press Here Show More Show Less

13 of 13 Alison Krauss Press Here Show More Show Less

Chris Porter had some mighty big boots to fill.

When the talent buyer was brought in to assemble the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass lineup in March, after the festival&rsquos longtime musical curator Dawn Holliday stepped down from the position to focus on other ventures, he knew he would have to please a lot of people.

The free three-day outdoor festival in Golden Gate Park, running from Oct. 5 to 7, has become one of the highlights of the Bay Area fall entertainment calendar, typically drawing an estimated audience of 500,000 over the weekend.

&ldquoI always say booking a festival is like juggling and putting a jigsaw puzzle together at the same time,&rdquo Porter said, calling from his home in Seattle. &ldquoThe creativity involved in it is an art.&rdquo

Well, it seems Porter has all the puzzle pieces he needs as the 18th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival will feature performances by Grammy-winning musicians Alison Krauss and Jeff Tweedy, a retrospective set by the eccentric English musician Robyn Hitchcock, and a rare live appearance by Roky Erickson, the reclusive Texan leader of the &rsquo60s psychedelic band the 13th Floor Elevators.

Organizers revealed the full lineup for the concert on Tuesday, Aug. 28, after weeks of dropping clues through a series of music medleys posted to the festival&rsquos app and website.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: Noon-7 p.m. Oct. 5 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 6-7. Free. Hellman Hollow, Marx and Lindley meadows in Golden Gate Park, S.F. www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com

With more than 80 acts performing on six stages, the event once again boasts an expansive roster spanning genres and generations.

Among the other artists on the bill this year are Graham Nash, Ani DiFranco, Vetiver, Steve Forbert, Ween, Prairie Prince, Mavis Staples, Hip Spanic Allstars, Gomez, JD McPherson, Howlin&rsquo Rain, I&rsquom With Her, Greyboy Allstars, Nick Lowe, Rodney Crowell and more.

&ldquoI wanted to stay true to what Hardly Strictly is about and what&rsquos appropriate for those stages,&rdquo said Porter, who for 18 years served as the programming director for the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle. &ldquoI wanted to be careful to keep it authentic.&rdquo

Holliday, who co-founded the festival with the late investment banker Warren Hellman in 2001 as a gift to the people of San Francisco, oversaw the expansion of the one-day concert with eight acts in a quiet corner of the park into a huge annual fete that last year featured more than 100 musicians performing across seven stages over three days.

During her tenure as the festival&rsquos musical curator, Holliday (who stayed on as a consultant this year) brought in headliners such as Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and Rosanne Cash.

She also established a stable of festival regulars including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass&rsquo perennial Sunday night headliner, Emmylou Harris, who will return this year, alongside other veteran acts like Steve Earle, the Del McCoury Band, Buddy Miller, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Justin Townes Earle, Moonalice, Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin, the Flatlanders and the Go to Hell Man Band.

&ldquoThose acts are part of the fabric of the festival,&rdquo Porter said.

The Hellman family continues to fund Hardly Strictly Bluegrass with an endowment.

While Porter would not comment on whether his talent buyer position is permanent, he said he looks forward to putting his thumbprint on future lineups if given the opportunity.

&ldquoI&rsquom very honored that the reins were passed to me,&rdquo he said.

Aidin Vaziri is The San Francisco Chronicle&rsquos pop music critic. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @MusicSF

Aidin Vaziri is a proficient reporter who covers news, health, and entertainment. He joined The San Francisco Chronicle in 2004. He has also written for other distinguished media outlets, including Rolling Stone, National Geographic, and E! Networks.


Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival's new curator seeks authenticity in lineup

1 of 13 EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 19: Ani DiFranco performs on stage at Queens Hall on September 19, 2014 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns via Getty Images) Roberto Ricciuti / Redferns via Getty Images Show More Show Less

2 of 13 Sun light falls upon the fans during Emmylou Harris' performance at Banjo Stage during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

3 of 13 Emmylou Harris will be back at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

4 of 13 Singer-songwriter Roky Erickson performs in concert during the Maverick Music Festival at Maverick Plaza on March 21, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage) Rick Kern / WireImage Show More Show Less

5 of 13 Mavis Staples performs during BottleRock on Saturday, May 27, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

6 of 13 Howlin Rain's Ethan Miller Alissa Anderson Show More Show Less

7 of 13 Chris Porter Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

8 of 13 SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 03: Guitarist Roger McNamee of Doobie Decibel System performs onstage at Golden Gate Park on October 3, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images) Scott Dudelson / Getty Images Show More Show Less

9 of 13 Thousands gather at Rooster Stage Stage to watch Lampedusa perform during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

10 of 13 Jeff Tweedy Courtesy of the artist Show More Show Less

11 of 13 Robyn Hitchcock Yep Roc Show More Show Less

12 of 13 Alison Krauss is booked for this fall’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Press Here Show More Show Less

13 of 13 Alison Krauss Press Here Show More Show Less

Chris Porter had some mighty big boots to fill.

When the talent buyer was brought in to assemble the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass lineup in March, after the festival&rsquos longtime musical curator Dawn Holliday stepped down from the position to focus on other ventures, he knew he would have to please a lot of people.

The free three-day outdoor festival in Golden Gate Park, running from Oct. 5 to 7, has become one of the highlights of the Bay Area fall entertainment calendar, typically drawing an estimated audience of 500,000 over the weekend.

&ldquoI always say booking a festival is like juggling and putting a jigsaw puzzle together at the same time,&rdquo Porter said, calling from his home in Seattle. &ldquoThe creativity involved in it is an art.&rdquo

Well, it seems Porter has all the puzzle pieces he needs as the 18th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival will feature performances by Grammy-winning musicians Alison Krauss and Jeff Tweedy, a retrospective set by the eccentric English musician Robyn Hitchcock, and a rare live appearance by Roky Erickson, the reclusive Texan leader of the &rsquo60s psychedelic band the 13th Floor Elevators.

Organizers revealed the full lineup for the concert on Tuesday, Aug. 28, after weeks of dropping clues through a series of music medleys posted to the festival&rsquos app and website.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: Noon-7 p.m. Oct. 5 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 6-7. Free. Hellman Hollow, Marx and Lindley meadows in Golden Gate Park, S.F. www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com

With more than 80 acts performing on six stages, the event once again boasts an expansive roster spanning genres and generations.

Among the other artists on the bill this year are Graham Nash, Ani DiFranco, Vetiver, Steve Forbert, Ween, Prairie Prince, Mavis Staples, Hip Spanic Allstars, Gomez, JD McPherson, Howlin&rsquo Rain, I&rsquom With Her, Greyboy Allstars, Nick Lowe, Rodney Crowell and more.

&ldquoI wanted to stay true to what Hardly Strictly is about and what&rsquos appropriate for those stages,&rdquo said Porter, who for 18 years served as the programming director for the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle. &ldquoI wanted to be careful to keep it authentic.&rdquo

Holliday, who co-founded the festival with the late investment banker Warren Hellman in 2001 as a gift to the people of San Francisco, oversaw the expansion of the one-day concert with eight acts in a quiet corner of the park into a huge annual fete that last year featured more than 100 musicians performing across seven stages over three days.

During her tenure as the festival&rsquos musical curator, Holliday (who stayed on as a consultant this year) brought in headliners such as Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and Rosanne Cash.

She also established a stable of festival regulars including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass&rsquo perennial Sunday night headliner, Emmylou Harris, who will return this year, alongside other veteran acts like Steve Earle, the Del McCoury Band, Buddy Miller, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Justin Townes Earle, Moonalice, Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin, the Flatlanders and the Go to Hell Man Band.

&ldquoThose acts are part of the fabric of the festival,&rdquo Porter said.

The Hellman family continues to fund Hardly Strictly Bluegrass with an endowment.

While Porter would not comment on whether his talent buyer position is permanent, he said he looks forward to putting his thumbprint on future lineups if given the opportunity.

&ldquoI&rsquom very honored that the reins were passed to me,&rdquo he said.

Aidin Vaziri is The San Francisco Chronicle&rsquos pop music critic. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @MusicSF

Aidin Vaziri is a proficient reporter who covers news, health, and entertainment. He joined The San Francisco Chronicle in 2004. He has also written for other distinguished media outlets, including Rolling Stone, National Geographic, and E! Networks.


Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival's new curator seeks authenticity in lineup

1 of 13 EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 19: Ani DiFranco performs on stage at Queens Hall on September 19, 2014 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns via Getty Images) Roberto Ricciuti / Redferns via Getty Images Show More Show Less

2 of 13 Sun light falls upon the fans during Emmylou Harris' performance at Banjo Stage during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

3 of 13 Emmylou Harris will be back at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

4 of 13 Singer-songwriter Roky Erickson performs in concert during the Maverick Music Festival at Maverick Plaza on March 21, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage) Rick Kern / WireImage Show More Show Less

5 of 13 Mavis Staples performs during BottleRock on Saturday, May 27, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

6 of 13 Howlin Rain's Ethan Miller Alissa Anderson Show More Show Less

7 of 13 Chris Porter Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

8 of 13 SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 03: Guitarist Roger McNamee of Doobie Decibel System performs onstage at Golden Gate Park on October 3, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images) Scott Dudelson / Getty Images Show More Show Less

9 of 13 Thousands gather at Rooster Stage Stage to watch Lampedusa perform during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, October 8, 2017. Mason Trinca / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

10 of 13 Jeff Tweedy Courtesy of the artist Show More Show Less

11 of 13 Robyn Hitchcock Yep Roc Show More Show Less

12 of 13 Alison Krauss is booked for this fall’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Press Here Show More Show Less

13 of 13 Alison Krauss Press Here Show More Show Less

Chris Porter had some mighty big boots to fill.

When the talent buyer was brought in to assemble the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass lineup in March, after the festival&rsquos longtime musical curator Dawn Holliday stepped down from the position to focus on other ventures, he knew he would have to please a lot of people.

The free three-day outdoor festival in Golden Gate Park, running from Oct. 5 to 7, has become one of the highlights of the Bay Area fall entertainment calendar, typically drawing an estimated audience of 500,000 over the weekend.

&ldquoI always say booking a festival is like juggling and putting a jigsaw puzzle together at the same time,&rdquo Porter said, calling from his home in Seattle. &ldquoThe creativity involved in it is an art.&rdquo

Well, it seems Porter has all the puzzle pieces he needs as the 18th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival will feature performances by Grammy-winning musicians Alison Krauss and Jeff Tweedy, a retrospective set by the eccentric English musician Robyn Hitchcock, and a rare live appearance by Roky Erickson, the reclusive Texan leader of the &rsquo60s psychedelic band the 13th Floor Elevators.

Organizers revealed the full lineup for the concert on Tuesday, Aug. 28, after weeks of dropping clues through a series of music medleys posted to the festival&rsquos app and website.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: Noon-7 p.m. Oct. 5 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 6-7. Free. Hellman Hollow, Marx and Lindley meadows in Golden Gate Park, S.F. www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com

With more than 80 acts performing on six stages, the event once again boasts an expansive roster spanning genres and generations.

Among the other artists on the bill this year are Graham Nash, Ani DiFranco, Vetiver, Steve Forbert, Ween, Prairie Prince, Mavis Staples, Hip Spanic Allstars, Gomez, JD McPherson, Howlin&rsquo Rain, I&rsquom With Her, Greyboy Allstars, Nick Lowe, Rodney Crowell and more.

&ldquoI wanted to stay true to what Hardly Strictly is about and what&rsquos appropriate for those stages,&rdquo said Porter, who for 18 years served as the programming director for the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle. &ldquoI wanted to be careful to keep it authentic.&rdquo

Holliday, who co-founded the festival with the late investment banker Warren Hellman in 2001 as a gift to the people of San Francisco, oversaw the expansion of the one-day concert with eight acts in a quiet corner of the park into a huge annual fete that last year featured more than 100 musicians performing across seven stages over three days.

During her tenure as the festival&rsquos musical curator, Holliday (who stayed on as a consultant this year) brought in headliners such as Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and Rosanne Cash.

She also established a stable of festival regulars including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass&rsquo perennial Sunday night headliner, Emmylou Harris, who will return this year, alongside other veteran acts like Steve Earle, the Del McCoury Band, Buddy Miller, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Justin Townes Earle, Moonalice, Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin, the Flatlanders and the Go to Hell Man Band.

&ldquoThose acts are part of the fabric of the festival,&rdquo Porter said.

The Hellman family continues to fund Hardly Strictly Bluegrass with an endowment.

While Porter would not comment on whether his talent buyer position is permanent, he said he looks forward to putting his thumbprint on future lineups if given the opportunity.

&ldquoI&rsquom very honored that the reins were passed to me,&rdquo he said.

Aidin Vaziri is The San Francisco Chronicle&rsquos pop music critic. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @MusicSF

Aidin Vaziri is a proficient reporter who covers news, health, and entertainment. He joined The San Francisco Chronicle in 2004. He has also written for other distinguished media outlets, including Rolling Stone, National Geographic, and E! Networks.