New Video: Late Founder of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Tells How It Began

Shortly before he died last year, financier/philanthropist Warren Hellman talked to the Oral History project at UC Berkeley, which released this video Friday of him describing the origin of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, now playing in SF.

Coinciding with the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival this weekend, the Regional Oral History Office at UC Berkeley has released a new video of the late festival founder, Warren Hellman, talking about how it got started.

Now in its 12th year, the free festival at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco attracted an estimated 750,000 people last year.

Hellman, a venture capitalist, philanthropist and lover of country music, died in December at age 77. 

The interview was posted Friday by the Oral History project, part of Cal's Bancroft Library.

“The interview we posted today is fascinating and funny,” said Lisa Rubens, who conducted 24 hours worth of interviews with Hellman last year about his life. “Hellman had a low-key delivery style and peppered many of his answers or comments with jokes or lyrics that he recited or sang.” Rubens was quoted in a campus news release.

Hellman was a Cal alum and major donor to the university. In 2003 he was named Alumnus of the Year by the California Alumni Association.


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