karaokegal (karaokegal) wrote,
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Weekend report - Part 2-Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Remember that heat wave that I was bitching about last week? Well it would have come in really handy this past weekend. Instead we had typical San Francisco weather. Cold and foggy. Usually we get the hot stuff for the Hardly Strictly Festival, at least for a few hours, and then the fog comes in and freezes the headliners. I remember seeing Ralph Stanley up there and he couldn't even play his "banjer" cause it was so cold.



Well it was like that ALL DAY. The sun never burned through, so we were on the ground, in the fog, and basically surrounded by kiddies. Also, since we were sort of knocked out from not getting to sleep until 3 in the morning, we didn't get up to the part till around 12N. Since we were most interested in the acts playing on the Banjo Stage, we were basically too far from the stage to see anything without the high-powered binoculars and when the winds picked up it was hard to hear the softer acts.

The line up was as follows:

Dry Branch Fire Squad-They played good hard-driving bluegrass, but what we could hear of their patter was less than impressive and kind of lost our interest.

Carolina Chocolate Drops-This was a really fun band. Their repertoire ran from bluegrass and old-tyme to jug band (which an actual jug) and even some Gaelic music. Also, they have a great sense of humor as you can tell from the name, when you find out that they're an African American group. Check them out!

Joan Baez-I saw her at the festival about three years ago and it was one of the most amazing things I've ever experienced. This year, I gotta say was sort of a disappointment. I think it was a mistake putting her on the "main stage" instead of one of the smaller ones. She was playing an all acoustic set with just her on guitar and one mandolin player, and singing some of her "classic" repertoire, but we could barely hear her and she didn't seem to be putting any energy into it. It was hard to tell when songs came to an end, and it just felt like she wasn't enjoying herself at all. I completely love and admire her, but this wasn't a great performance. Maybe it was the cold.


David Grisman Quintet-This was what hubby really wanted to see and they did not disappoint. We could hear them perfectly and they were TIGHT! Grisman is God The Father in the Mandolin Trinity and he's still got it.

Unfortunately by that time, the cold and the kids and hubby's leg were really getting to us.

ETA-I think the only reason I was able to tolerate the whole thing as long as I did was being contact high from all the pot that was being smoked around us.

So we started getting out of the park, but that doesn't mean it was easy to get home. Warren Hellman has created a monster and it consumes the entire city. No cabs, no buses to be had and we were cold and tired, so we ducked into a noodle shop on Irving Street. Some seafood pho and a Thai Iced Tea totally hit the spot. One of the most needed and satisfying meals I have ever had.

Properly warmed and fed, we headed up to Judah street and waited and waited and waited with the crowd in the fog, but a trolley did eventually show up and shuttle us back down to the Mission, although we had to stand most of the way and Hubby's legs were not happy, especially since he was schlepping a fold-up seat in his bag.

Finally we got to Church and Duboce and then staggered home. The idea was to pop in the 2nd disk of Stephen Fry in America. That was delayed while I spend some time in the bathroom doubled over and puking. Maybe the seafood pho at the noodle house wasn't the best idea after all. Luckily there was no dizziness, and once I'd expelled the offending toxins, I was fine.

Stephen was delightful, although I thought the Vegas segment wasn't really the best way to "see" Las Vegas, but I can imagine that he didn't want to do the casino thing more than necessary. Also, while I was happy to see Stephen on the Streets of San Francisco, skipping both LA and the Central Valley, I would really hate for anyone to think that you can drive from Nevada to California and immediately arrive at the Cliff House.

We went to bed, having pretty much decided that we were NOT going back to the festival the next day, even if it meant missing Randy Newman and Patty Smith. I'm not even sure we're going to even try it next year. It's too big and we're too old.




On the other hand, there were a lot of great dogs around and there will be an all-doggy picspam tomorrow.
Tags: blog, hardly strictly bluegrass, journal, stephen fry
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