Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (HSB) has selected John Caldon as Executive Director, following an executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG). He will begin his tenure on February 21, 2023.
A trusted voice in the San Francisco arts and culture community and a seasoned expert in strategic planning, government relations, diversity, equity, inclusion, and event management, John Caldon joined HSB as the festival’s inaugural executive director. Prior to stepping into this role, Caldon served as Managing Director of the San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center, one of the largest performing arts centers in the United States, comprised of the War Memorial Opera House, Davies Symphony Hall, and Veterans Building. During his tenure, Caldon oversaw the organization’s financial planning, capital projects and operations, and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Preivously, Caldon held the position as Director of City Hall Events at San Francisco City Hall Events Office, where he implemented new budgeting and reorganized staff roles and venue booking processes to generate additional earned revenue from events. Caldon has also fulfilled roles such as Development and Communications Associate at Women’s Foundation of California and Producer at Amedias Motion Pictures.
Caldon is a member of the San Francisco Arts Alliance and a member of the Board of Directors for the Civic Center Community Benefit District. He has worked in partnership with numerous organizations dedicated to cultivating the artistic expression of underrepresented communities, including Bindlestiff Studio, the National Queer Arts Festival, The EXIT, Youth Speaks, and Brava Theater Center. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in English and creative writing with a minor in theater, graduating magna cum laude from San Francisco State University.
In making the announcement, HSB Executive Producer Sheri Sternberg said, “Having explored virtual presentations and the new ways that HSB was able to contribute to the health of the musical ecosystem over the past two years, bringing on an Executive Director like John Caldon was a natural evolution. John’s deep roots in the Bay Area provide a unique opportunity for us to reinforce our commitment to the community. His experience with the City and County of San Francisco, leading DEI initiatives and developing community partnerships will all be invaluable in guiding Hardly Strictly Bluegrass into the future.”
HSB Chair Mick Hellman added, “We are so excited that John Caldon will be filling our inaugural Executive Director position, adding his own exceptional managerial, governance, and municipal skills to Sheri’s production genius and deep love and knowledge of the event and its artists. This dynamic partnership will surely help us realize the Hellman Family dream of making HSB a sustainable part of San Francisco’s artistic, cultural, and economic community.”
“I am thrilled to join the HSB family! Few festivals of this size and caliber exist in the United States that are available at no cost to attendees, located in a setting as beautiful as Golden Gate Park, and kept free of corporate sponsorship to focus on celebrating music,” said John Caldon. “Joining an organization that exists entirely to give the gift of incredible music to its community is the perfect next step for a career in which I have worked to promote access to arts and culture as a public good. I look forward to being a partner to the HSB Managing Board, Sheri Sternberg, and the entire team that works so hard to make magic every year.”
“Congratulations to HSB on naming John Caldon as the festival’s first-ever Executive Director. John has devoted his career to serving artists and the San Francisco Bay Area community,” said ACG Senior Vice President Nan Keeton.