Oscar’s Urban Education at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
For the best annual family-friendly event in San Francisco, I’ll put my money on Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.This year–yesterday and today– was the sixth in what I hope will be a longstanding venture. What makes this event so swank? It’s in Golden Gate Park; it’s free; the music is swell; the food ranges from corndogs to jambalaya; and the people-watching is hard to beat. We missed out on Billy Bragg, Gillian Welch, and Kelly Willis yesterday, but made it to T-Bone Burnett & Iris Dement today.
If there’s anything our toddler Oscar loves more than music, it’s a party, and HSBG is one big music party. Oscar got his groove on while chowing down on Cheerios and raisins, and because this is San Francisco where, on a good day, the love doesn’t stop with blood relations, the woman sitting on the green green grass in front of us swept in for the rescue when Oscar tried to ingest a few raisins that had fallen into the dirt. She held out her hand for him to spit the chewed riasins into her palm, which he did happily. There comes a point early on in motherhood when asking your kid to spit crap into your palm is second nature, but I’ve yet to reach that state of maternal nirvana whereby I extend the courtesy to other people’s children.
The British guy behind us was talking about the first outdoor concert he ever attended in SF, back in 1969. Meanwhile, some folks were lighting up the happy stuff a few feet away, and we were close enough to pretend we were vicariously stoned, although, of course, it never really happens that way.
When Oscar started playing race-around-the-port-a-potty, we had to leave. Walking home, he got to see a really big dog, pet a Park Police horse, and watch a girl in green rubber boots make out with a boy in a sari behind the trees by Spreckels Lake. All in all, a good day in Golden Gate Park.
HSBG is the brainchild of bluegrass-lovin’ financier Warren Hellman, whose pockets run deep for this show. Did you go? Who did you see? What’d I miss?