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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: Nonesuch Artists Perform Free in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2009

Summer may be the season of festivals, but two stand-outs keep the multi-artist music going into the coming fall weekend, each set to transform a major city park into a multi-venue source of non-stop music making. There's the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park, hosting three Nonesuch artists; you can read about it in today's Nonesuch Journal post. And in San Francisco, three fellow Nonesuch artists—Emmylou Harris, Allen Toussaint, and Amadou & Mariam—will play the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, which sets up for three days of free concerts at the Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park.

All three artists play the festival's final day on Sunday. Allen Toussaint is up first, playing the Towers of Gold Stage at 2:05 PM (offering an interesting segue to Marianne Faithfull, who follows). SFist, in its festival preview, calls him an "American treasure and a New Orleans legend not to be missed."

Emmylou Harris, whom SFist describes as "the backbone of this festival," and Amadou & Mariam play the closing sets on their respective stages: Harris on the Banjo Stage at 6:45 PM and Amadou & Mariam just five minutes later on the Star Stage.

Both Harris and the Malian duo's Hardly Strictly sets follow performances in Los Angeles earlier in the week. Emmylou performs at Club Nokia tonight as part of the All for the Hall benefit event in support of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum; fellow performers include Vince Gill and Dwight Yoakam. Amadou & Mariam will be at The Music Box at the Fonda on Friday night. You can also hear a live in-studio set from the couple on Santa Monica public radio station KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic today at 11:15 AM PST; listen online at

For more on the festival, visit For further tour information for these and other Nonesuch artists, visit


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