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This Weekend in SF: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival 14

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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 14 Poster (via HSB Facebook Page)

The EC San Francisco‘s Student Activity Calendar for this week recommends checking out the 2014 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, which takes place October 3 – 5. The three day music festival has become one of the most popular annual events in San Francisco, and, according to the festival’s Wikipedia page, over 750,000 people now attend the event each year.

Why should you consider attending the festival this weekend? Here are several reasons why:

1) It’s free!

Hardy Strictly Bluegrass was started in 2001 by a local venture capitalist named Warren Hellmann, who donated the money to make the event free for anybody interested in attending. As we all know, San Francisco is an expensive city, so it’s always great when it is possible to do something fun without spending any money!

2) It’s at Golden Gate Park!

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is world famous, with its art and science museums, gardens, Conservatory of Flowers, lakes, stadiums, windmills, polo fields, and even a Bison Paddock. The festival takes full advantage of the public grounds and open spaces in the middle of the city, and is particularly beautiful when the weather is nice–as it is supposed to be this weekend.

And while you can explore nearby the Sunset and Richmond Districts of San Francisco. The Inner Sunset (9th Ave and Judah St) is known for its many restaurants and bars, as well as bookstores and other small shops. Clement Street in Richmond has some of the best Asian food to be found in San Francisco. If you haven’t been to either of these areas, they are definitely worth checking out!

3) It’s summer in San Francisco (or as summer-like as it gets)!

For many places October is considered autumn, perhaps even winter. But San Francisco is known for its cold and foggy summers (May – July), and often August, September, and even into October can have some of the nicest weather of the year. This weekend’s forecast projects cloudy weather, but warm temperatures,  in the upper 70’s, perhaps even 80 degrees during. Enjoy the warmth while you can, because it’s probably not going to be around much longer!

4) The music is world class!

Maybe you don’t think of yourself as a Bluegrass fan–or don’t even know exactly what Bluegrass music is–but don’t let that stop you! There are a number of famous and up-and-coming musicians from a variety of genres. Just a few of the many acts that will be playing this weekend include Emmylou Harris, T Bone Burnett, Conor Oberst, Yo La Tengo, Tweedy, San Francisco resident and local favorite Chris Isaak, Lucinda Williams, Roxanne Cash (Johnny Cash’s daughter), Sharon Van Etten, and many, many others!

05) Experience something that is uniquely American!

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, bluegrass music is “a country and western style that emerged in the United States after World War II.” And what exactly is Bluegrass music? It is “distinguished by its more syncopated (off-beat) rhythm, its relatively high-pitched tenor (lead) vocals, tight harmonies, and a strong influence of jazz and blues.” But many modern musicians of Bluegrass music show the influence of a number of different musical genres and styles.

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A view of the crowd at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2013. (Image via East Bay Express)


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