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Bluegrass Grows in Golden Gate Park.
August 17, 2008 2:36 PM   Subscribe

Bluegrass Grows in Golden Gate Park. The line-up for the 8th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival has been announced for the first weekend of October in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, its traditional location since its inception in 2001.

Concieved (and fully funded out of pocket) by San Francisco billionaire (and amateur banjo player) Warren Hellman as "a selfish gift" to his hometown, the festival has featured bluegrass legends like Earl Scruggs and Ralph Stanley, to more tangentially-related acts like Drive-By Truckers and Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. This year's eclectic line-up features some regulars, some odd surprises, some bonafide Legends and even a folky Balkan curveball or two.

Also, have I mentioned that it's free?
posted by Senor Cardgage (22 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is my first submission, so I beg you to please be gentle and constructive if I messed this up somehow.
Frankly I just wanted to talk about this incredible event, which is quickly becoming on of my favorite weekends of the entire year, but didn't expect that anyone else would get the ball rolling.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 2:38 PM on August 17, 2008


GREAT, GREAT Event! Here's a funny pic I snapped from last year's.

Gogol Bordello should be real interesting there.

This would be a great spot for a Metafilter meetup as well.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:54 PM on August 17, 2008


Pepsi Bluegrass?
posted by nevercalm at 4:23 PM on August 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


It would be a great spot for a meetup...if we can find each other.

It's a tremendous weekend, but it's getting near the point (for me) of being crowded to the point of unpleasantness. But you know, fuck it. It's worth it. You might spend all weekend squished in next to strangers, but everyone's in such a good mood that it's hard to get worked up about stuff like that.

My favorite performance, I think (ask me again in 10 minutes) was Elvis Costello on the opening friday of HSB in 2006. It was the same weekend as Fleet Week, and so the Blue Angels were flying practice runs overhead. They roared overhead at one point and the crowd as one lifted middle fingers to the air. And right before the last song, the sun, which had been banked behind fog, split the clouds and lit the meadow.

And I love the fact that it continues to be free. Quite a contrast to Outside Lands' $85/day tickets.
posted by rtha at 4:25 PM on August 17, 2008


Sounds like fun.
posted by nola at 4:55 PM on August 17, 2008


Pepsi Bluegrass? posted by nevercalm

Did you read the part where its a free show?

Nick Lowe, Iron and Wine, Robert Plant...yes...MC HAMMER! Great American/Slim's staff manage and produce the event. I also plan to be on volunteer staff this year. Its a great show.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 5:28 PM on August 17, 2008


Gogol Borello?
Holy Shit? Where you been all my life?
My new favorite band.
posted by charlesminus at 6:12 PM on August 17, 2008


Meetup please?
posted by Quietgal at 6:49 PM on August 17, 2008


These guys have a distressingly loose definition of bluegrass -- Odetta? MC Hammer? Elvis Costello? I mean, I like a lot of these people, but maybe they should call it something else. How about, Altamont II?
posted by Faze at 7:27 PM on August 17, 2008


That's part of the joke, Faze. It is a very broad definition of bluegrass, with some complete wildcards thrown in just for fun.

I'll definitely be there. Most years, I make myself very tired and irritated by trying to see every act I want to see on every stage. This year, Mrs. truck roll and I are just going to pick a stage and stick with it.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:38 PM on August 17, 2008


I live like ten blocks away, yippie. I only hope they can avoid last year's problem: the obnoxious Blue Angels roaring over the crowd during the music. It's a catastrophe waiting to happen.
posted by digaman at 8:29 PM on August 17, 2008


If I had bazillions of dollars I hope this is exactly the kind of thing I'd do with it. Hey Warren Hellman--if you read this, I could use a new guitar! Hint hint.

It would be cool if he had a strictly-for-real bluegrass festival too, hopefully much smaller and more intimate. Best time I ever had was at a bluegrass festival where you got a hayride from the grass parking lot to the music area. Kids ran around naked chasing butterflies, everybody was totally cool and friendly and relaxed, and the music was straightup authentic and hardcore high and lonesome--real old-timey bands. That was like 20 years ago and I've never been to another event with anywhere near that great a vibe.

There's too many people now. Sigh.
posted by Camofrog at 8:31 PM on August 17, 2008


Its more of a Roots or Americana show. There's a festival in Portland, Oregon each year that is called the Pick A Thon, and to the unsuspecting, its believed to be strictly bluegrass when it really is a roots music festival.
posted by captainsohler at 8:55 PM on August 17, 2008


Love the festival, loved it even more after I heard the story behind it. What a great way to spend massive amounts of money! I love that the disc golf course runs right through it, so you can drink beer, throw discs, and listen to bluegrass and other roots music. Yay!

There are so many rad performers this (every) year, but - I must admit I'm kinda fired up to see Robert Plant...yah, yah, I know.
posted by freebird at 10:08 PM on August 17, 2008


These guys have a distressingly loose definition of bluegrass.

Well, it's called the hardly strictly Bluegrass festival.
posted by ORthey at 10:24 PM on August 17, 2008


Man. I wish I were still on the "book your own life" floor space lists...that's pretty damned tempting. I'd absolutely figure out how to get us there for such an amazing show.

Kinda weird to leave Austin to see the Gourds, but seeing them in amidst all of those other gems would definitely elevate the experience to another level.
posted by batmonkey at 10:31 PM on August 17, 2008


Good point, ORthey. I chuckled when I read that and said "Oh yeah!" to myself.

Can anyone point out who from the bluegrass world is missing at this festival? I"m surprised to see no comments like "I can't believe so-and-so won't be there". That's a helluva line-up. Greg Brown is really fantastic to see live. Also, anyone see any names on there that might be pseudonyms for some surprise group? I mean, hell, let's fire up the rumor mill.
posted by Lukenlogs at 11:17 PM on August 17, 2008


The Blue Angels are always in SF for Fleet Week. Thankfully, this year Fleet Week is the week after HSBG, so we don't have to have the concert interrupted by obxoxious planes (although it was fun to watch the Mekons flip them off two years ago). I still have to listen to them disrupt classes and freak out my cats the whole week leading up to the air show, though.
posted by chbrooks at 11:45 PM on August 17, 2008


When did MC Hammer start playing the banjo?

Actually, I guess I see him more rocking the mandolin.
posted by baphomet at 10:59 AM on August 18, 2008


i wouldn't be a bit surprised if gogol bordello throws a little banjo pickin' into their act. they're very versatile.

great post, thanks for the heads up Senor Cardgage!
posted by msconduct at 12:28 PM on August 18, 2008


MC Hammer sorta makes sense because he's from the Bay Area. Like I said, it only sorta makes sense. I am particularly excited about seeing the Bad Livers.

I hope my band gets to play there again. We probably won't, but that festival is a breeze with backstage passes, boy howdy.
posted by smartyboots at 4:20 PM on August 18, 2008


I love HSB. If you're needing the bluegrass part, and the hardly strictly is not your cup of tea, there's always the San Francisco Bluegrass and Old Time Festival.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:19 PM on August 19, 2008


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