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Monday, December 19, 2011

Warren Hellman, Founder of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Dies

Posted By on Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 8:25 AM

RIP Warren Hellman
  • 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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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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