I continue my zero-dollar days with a listen at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Billionaire and philanthropist Warren Hellman kicked off this music festival 14 years ago with the bluegrass music he enjoyed. He hosted his concert in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park at the warm beginning of October. Admission has always been free, an unheard of price in this expensive city.
Sadly, a few years ago Warren played his last banjo chorus and joined the other musicians in the sky. His benevolent legacy funds the performances for many more years of festivals. He expanded his bluegrass theme into “hardly strictly bluegrass” to bring in rock, reggae, and international acts. Many famous performers over the years have played the 3-day festival such as Lucinda Williams, Yo La Tengo, and Robert Plant.
I bike the Wiggle path this Sunday afternoon to the park. I carry along lunch, water, and a picnic blanket. I want to hear Sun Kil Moon, Rosanne Cash, and Jeff Tweedy. The recent heat wave makes this weekend one of the hottest Hardly Strictly Bluegrasses.
The crowd throws back to the sixties. Even the kids these days wear big sunglasses and hemp. The six stages spread the people out although pathways are quite crowded. I steer clear of booths selling meat on a stick. There is no alcohol vending.
Three years ago at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Ruben met Greg for the first time. I was so nervous when my best friend met my new boyfriend. They got along fine. No need to be nervous.