R.I.P. Warren Hellman (Hardly Strictly Bluegrass)

© Ron Baker / Wikipedia

Bay Area music fans got some sad news last night when it was confirmed that Warren Hellman, the philanthropist who throws the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park, passed away after battling leukemia.

Warren Hellman, the San Francisco financier whose willingness to fund an unlikely range of passions made him a force in Bay Area politics, education and music, died Sunday evening from complications of leukemia, his family said. He was 77.

Since moving out to this city and seeing how the entire area comes out to this festival to celebrate the variety and free sounds wafting through the park, it’s clear his effect on the city will be missed in the coming years. Thankfully the festival was set up to go on without him, so no doubt the 2012 version of this festival will continue to appeal to the old and young, grunge or bourgeois, hippie or hipster classes that permeate the city culture. What a guy for leaving such a gift to the rest of us…