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Public Celebration for Warren Hellman Set for Feb. 19


Warren Hellman

For 10 years, financier Warren Hellman hosted a free music festival, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, at Golden Gate Park's Speedway Meadow.

Next month, the meadow, which has been renamed Hellman Hollow, will be the site of a public celebration of Hellman's life.

The bluegrass and country music-loving billionaire died last month at the age of 77 from complications related to treatment for leukemia.

The free event will take place on Feb. 19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature a variety of musical performances. Organizers of the event have released few details and said they have not finalized the list of artists who will appear.

Hellman's memorial service last month featured musical performances by family members and stars like Emmylou Harris.

In addition to founding venture capital firm Matrix Partners in 1977, and then private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC in 1984, Hellman was a philanthropist who, among other projects, founded The Bay Citizen in 2010 and served as chairman of the board.

Despite his many business commitments, Hellman made time to play the banjo and started a band, The Wronglers, which first played at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in 2006. Before he died, Hellman made sure to provide the festival with enough money to continue for at least the next 15 years.

Hellman once said the festival "is as close to heaven as I'm going to get." A post on the festival's site announcing the public celebration includes a line from a country music song written by Robert Earl Keen, Jr.: “The road goes on forever and the party never ends!”

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