Warren Hellman: Slims, Great American Music Hall, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival … R.I.P.

Emmylou Harris on Warren Hellman: What are your favorite things about Hardly Strictly?

Harris: Warren is a great host — everybody is treated equally, but in a great way. It’s for the people, but it really celebrates musicians. So many people want to play it, because it’s like going to music camp, you get to see a lot of friends who you don’t get to see because you’re always on the road — and then you get to see performers that you may love, but have never gotten to see. You get to sit in with different folks.

And the idea that it’s free — it’s an amazing gift to the people who hear the music and the people who play the music. I don’t know of any other festival like this, at least not in this country.

The setting that Warren offered, in Golden Gate Park, in San Francisco, one of the great cities of the world, free to the public — and the dogs! God, I love the people and their dogs.

It’s almost what Woodstock tried to be. The culmination of the joy of music with the better angels of our nature, and the healing and inspiring power of music.

Warren was someone who was capable of making extremely large gestures and he did it very well.

– The Bay Citizen
  December 22, 2011 

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