Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

By October 12, 2011

I needed a change in venue. My friend suggested we check out the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco. It was free, we could crash at his cousin’s, why not?

It was much more than just strictly bluegrass.

We arrived late Saturday afternoon, in time to see Steve Earl. Cousin informed me that Steve Earl was featured in HBO’s “The Wire” (arguably the best TV series ever). The rebel folk fusion pioneer was amazing — I was an instant fan.

I randomly ran into an old friend from Davis that I haven’t seen in a while. Turns out he’s going through a difficult time — divorce and cancer. He, too, worked at a family business. Talking to him put my life into perspective. I should appreciate the positives, people out there have it much worse — you know, glass half full.

We pass by drum circles and the usual festival hippies. I love the energy of San Francisco and its history — City Lights Bookstore, the beats, Bukowski. It’s sacred ground for us writers and just an hour away.

Cousin and his girlfriend are good people. We climb a ladder to his roof for a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city. It was the perfect nightcap to an eventful day.

Sunday we got up early and headed off. The festival felt different in the sunlight. Saw a lot of Hula Hoops, pot heads, beer, hippies, families — it truly ran the gamut.

My friends and I were jazzed to see The Devil Makes Three. Another Davis connection —Davis fiddler Andy Lentz (of Mad Cow String Band) recently joined the Devil Makes Three side project, Cooper McBean and The Vested Interests. Look for this in the near future.

“You and me and the Devil Makes Three..” is how the saying goes.

The sound wasn’t loud enough, that is, until “The Bullet.” The entire crowd sang along. (I was told 250,000 people attended that weekend.)

“‘Til that bullet flies, that bullet flies, that bullet flies to carry me home.”

And on that note, we went home.

Landon Christensen

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