For the 12th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, the organizers are doing something a little different to release the lineup.
In previous years, the list of musicians playing the free music festival in Golden Gate Park was made public all at once. For this edition, the organizers have created mixes of songs by the artists and are letting music-loving members of the public guess who. When someone guesses correctly, they put that musician's name up for everyone to see.
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One mix has been posted on the festival's website for each of the previous three weeks.
The final mix recently went up and is currently open for guesses. All we know is that we heard Les Claypool and Willie Nelson on there. Those both very, very good signs.
This year marks the first Hardly Strictly since the festival benefactor Warren Hellman passed away late last year. The private equity billionaire funded the festival out of his own pocket every year since its inception and his will has provided for the event's continued funding for at least a decade after his death.
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass runs the weekend of October 5 through 7 and is, as always, completely free.
As a result of said freeness, the event has become increasingly crowded over the years--to the point where attempting to move between multiple stages to see different bands, like one might do at a paid festival like Outside Lands, has become a particularly arduous task.
Our suggestion: pick a spot at a stage with a lineup you generally like, stay there all day and hope the guy selling coconuts filled with rum finds his way over to your blanket.
Another suggestion: don't miss Robert Earl Keen.
Check out this slideshow of some live clips of bands playing the festival, then scroll down for the full list of musicians that have been confirmed. Then head over to the site to venture a few guesses on the latest mix:
Robert Earl Keen
Here's a Spotify playlist of HSB2012 bands:
Robert Earl Keen
Steve Earle & The Dukes (and Duchesses)
The Del McCoury Band
The Soul Rebels
The Milk Carton Kids
Amanda Shaw & the Cute Guys
Patterson Hood & the Downtown Rumblers
Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands
Chuck Prophet & the Mission Express
O'Brien Party of 7
Giant Giant Sand
Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys
The Head and The Heart