Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival Announces theme and lineup

The onset of COVID-19 caused the HSB team to pivot in a unique way: the artists/bands on the lineup filmed brand new performances at venues around in Austin (like The Continental Club), Nashville (like The Ryman Auditorium), and San Francisco (like Golden Gate Park) to stream as a unified broadcast.

5PM – 8PM ET (2PM – 5PM PT)

Be sure to watch “Let The Music Play On”, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass’ journey to bring the music we all enjoy in the park to you in your living rooms and backyards. Tune in as we share new performances by our treasured regulars and welcome some first time artists with footage from their hometowns and favorite venues. Don’t miss our one-time broadcast on October 3, from 2-5pm PT, 5-8pm ET.The event will be broadcast via Circle TV, streamed at and, along with the HSB Facebook and YouTube channels. The broadcast is a celebration of roots music, honoring the 20th anniversary of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.

The Lineup includes:

Aaron Lee Tasjan, Alison Brown, Amythyst Kiah, Birds of Chicago, Boz Scaggs, Buddy Miller, Chuck Prophet, Emmylou Harris, Fantastic Negrito, Jim Lauderdale, John Doe, Los Coast, Patty Griffin, Rhiannon Giddens & Francesco Turrisi, Robert Earl Keen, Shakey Graves, Sierra Ferrell, Steve Earle & The Half Grass Dukes Feat. Time O’Brien and Dennis Crouch, The War and Treaty, Yola.


Ashley Monroe, Black Banjo Reclamation Project, Bo & Lebo, Bonnie Raitt, Carrie Rodriguez, Doobie Decibel System Duo, Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock, Jon Langford & Sally Timms, Kieren Kane & Rayna Gellert, Laurie Lewis & Nin Gerber, Ron Thomason & Heidi Clare, Stuart Duncan, The McCrary Sisters, The sons of The Soul Revivers, Tré Burt.

“I’ve been so lucky to be able to host a day on the Rooster Stage for the last six years or so and invite friends and acts that I just love and think people would adore,” says Buddy Miller. “This year, we’re doing the “Cavalcade of Stars” from my studio with a lot of those same people – Emmylou Harris, The War & Treaty, Ashley Monroe, Kieran Kane and Rayna Gellert, The McCrary Sisters, and Jim Lauderdale.”  The performances will be accompanied by select archival moments and interviews highlighting the festival’s rich history.

HSB is unique in a lot of ways, actually. It’s free to attend and there are no corporate sponsors. This year, the festival launched the Hardly Strictly Music Relief Fund: Bay Area, a $1.5M charitable initiative to support the local music community during the pandemic. And, since the community aspect of the experience is the festival’s lifeblood, programming will include a few archival performances mixed in, along with fan memories and stories from years past. 

Coming on the heels of the Bay Area funding is a national releief effort. A national, multidisciplinary partnership between Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund, National YoungArts Foundation, and United States Artists, Artist Relief is a emergency relief fund  that provides  $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19.  Since launching in April, the fund has disbursed over $13 million to artists across the nation with $2.3 million to musicians directly. With Hardly Strictly Bluegrass’ support, Artist Relief will be able to continue to make grants to musicians through December.

“As artists we are constantly being motivated by our passions, but during hard times it can be difficult to create and innovate,” says  GRAMMY Award Winner, Two-Time EMMY Nominee, 2020 United States Artists Fellow and Let the Music Play On participant Dom Flemons the American Songster. “Art has always served as a reflection of the world, so now more than ever it’s important for artists to keep on creating.  Through the partnership with Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival and the Artist Relief Fund, folks have an opportunity to receive some financial relief that can ultimately help us plant roots and build bridges.”

Another unique aspect of the Festival this year is their support of the The Black Banjo Reclamation Project, led by artist Hannah Mayree. The Black Banjo Reclamation Project is a vehicle to return instruments of African origin to the descendants of their original makers, to spread awareness and pass along stringed traditions. It also includes fostering the trade of instrument building and repair. “We are pursuing ancestral healing and envision a world where the act of remembering gives us the power to shape our world.” Hannah/Black Banjo Reclamation Project will perform at this year’s HSB! 

Keep Up With Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: | fbtwit  |  Spotify

Tax-deductible donations can be made at; 100 percent of donations made through this link will be applied directly to aid for musicians.

Kim Grant

Kim Grant

After growing up listening to Dolly, Merle and Willie, Kim Grant spent the 90’s immersed in the Chicago indie rock scene. Spending many nights at the famed (now-defunct) venue Lounge Ax, bands like Bad Livers, Giant Sand, Handsome Family, Palace Brothers and Wilco turned her on to what was then called Alt-Country. After moving to Los Angeles in 2000, she found this same feeling of musical community at a tiny west side bar called The Cinema Bar where she met artists, Mike Stinson, Randy Weeks, Tony Gilkyson, Ramsay Midwood, and Kip Boardman. These talented folks spurred her enthusiasm for the Southern California roots music scene and the Americana music scene as a whole. Now a music publicist, Grant (alongside Liz Garo and Pam Moore) founded the Los Angeles, weekly roots music series, The Grand Ole Echo in 2005. Also with Garo, Grant helped to curate the Roots Roadhouse American-roots music festival in both 2011 and 2012. Also in 2011 she began co-producing a SXSW day party with Julie Richmond titled, Grand Ole Austin which is still going strong. Visit TJ West on fb and
Kim Grant

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