In an old brick building off Folsom street, down a narrow alley that runs behind Slim's 333 Club, lies the Warren Hellman Museum, a tribute to the late founder of San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Though opened in October 2012, the museum is now open to the public every Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., giving Hardly Strictly fans a more convenient opportunity to learn about the banjo-pickin' billionaire investment banker who founded the free festival, and the history of the event itself.
Visitors to the museum will inevitably meet Michael Pedro, a diehard fan of Hellman and Hardly Strictly, who drives down from his home in Vacaville every week to oversee the museum during its opening hours. Pedro, a retired accountant and operations manager, volunteers his time. Often he gets paid in dinner from the kitchen at Slim's. But mostly, Pedro does it out of appreciation.
“[Hellman] kind of changed my perspective on things, just because of the guy he was,” says Pedro. “He spent all his time making this money, and then he figured out what he wanted to do with it. And because of his love of the music and his genuine passion for it, he created Hardly Strictly.”