Founded by philanthropist F. Warren Hellman, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival is an annual event in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park that is completely free and open to the public. Held over the first weekend in October, in 2012, it starts at 10 a.m. on Friday, October 5 and ends on Sunday, October 7. Each day’s concerts conclude at 7 p.m. There’s always an amazing line-up of new, established, and rising talent, but count on headliners like Elvis Costello, Cowboy Junkies, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, The Chieftains, Les Claypool, The Civil Wars, Patti Smith, and Dwight Yoakam. Bands play on outdoor stages located in Hellman Hollow, Lindley Meadow, and Marx Meadow. It’s a gorgeous setting, accessible by public transportation as well as a park shuttle. Paid parking at surrounding school lots will be available. The event is family-friendly, and leashed, well-behaved dogs are welcome. Bring a picnic blanket, short-back chairs, and a cooler, as well as your camera, because photography is A-OK. If you don’t want to lug your own food in, there will be food vendors, but no alcohol for sale.