Warren Hellman, Founder of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Dies

Categories: Local News
RIP Warren Hellman
The indelible Warren Hellman, founder of the popular Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival and the Bay Citizen, has died.

His family told reporters that the 77-year-old San Francisco icon died Sunday from complications of leukemia. Public services are planned for Wednesday at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco.

He died just three days after the city renamed Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park, the site where he held the annual bluegrass festival, as Hellman Hollow.

"Warren was a great mentor, partner and friend, and above all, a great man," Brian Powers, chairman of Hellman & Friedman, said in a press release posted on the company's website. "He will be deeply missed. His commitment to civic and philanthropic activities and his extraordinary generosity to the many causes he supported will have a lasting impact on our community."

Hellman was a hugely popular philanthropist and community activist who bankrolled local ballot measures and helped to fund the San Francisco Free Clinic. He also built a parking garage under Golden Gate Park.

In 2001, he founded the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, calling it a "selfish gift" that would carry on even "after I croak," he once said.

And indeed it will carry on, his family confirmed Sunday.

"How could you have more fun than that?" he told Forbes in 2006. "What the hell is money for if it isn't for something like that?"

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Warren sang a song he wrote about Bernie Maddoff, for my wife and i in Ann Arbor Michigan when the Wronglers played with Jimmie Dale Gilmore at the ARC.When Warren heard that i was a volunteer at HSBG, he and his grandson chatted with us for a hour, while he and the band signed my Grateful Dead Hat.We Love you Warren. We will miss you everyday.  HSBG won't be the same without your physical presence.


FOREVER Grateful~ Words cannot describe how much joy Mr Hellman brought to Bay Area Music Lovers

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