Monday, October 5, 2009

In honor of one of the best weekends in San Francisco

First, a big Thank You goes out to Warren Hellman, the billionaire investment banker who puts on the what is probably the best free music festival in the country, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. It's in a forest (Golden Gate Park), there are top acts, and you're allowed to bring in whatever you want to the festival: chairs, coolers, beer, wine....anything.

Check out this quote from Hellman, who is also an amateur banjo player and puts on the festival as a gift to the city. I talked to a guy who said there is even a provision in his will that the festival should continue after his death.
Hellman says "it costs a lot -- bigger than a bread box, smaller than a house, one of those new billionaire homes, I guess." He tells how he was approached by someone who said he ran America's biggest (non-bluegrass) festival. "He wanted to buy mine. I said, 'Why? It's free.' He said, 'Well it wouldn't be if I owned it.' " Hellman said it wasn't for sale. "There's this famous Texas oil guy's remark about money: 'It's like manure -- if you spread it around, beautiful things grow. But if you leave it in a pile it smells like manure.' "


Thanks again, Warren, for paying for me to see Okkervil River, Dave Alvin, Boz Scaggs, The Old 97s, Steve Martin (comedian/banjo player), The Ferocious Few*, Richie Havens, Robert Earl Keene, Steve Earle, Elvis Perkins, Booker T and the Drive-By Truckers, Billy Bragg, Allen Toussaint, Galactic, Mavis Staples, Neko Case, Emmylou Harris, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Amadou and Mariam.

*Actually, you didn't pay for them. They just showed up.


This weekend was also LovEvolution*. I went this year and didn't feel the need to go hear obscenely loud electronic music in front of City Hall amidst sweaty spunions while Hardly Strictly was going on, no matter how many underage topless girls there were at Love Parade. But that orgy of late 20th Century chemical energy gives me the perfect excuse to post this all-time classic video, TECHNOVIKING:

*Formerly Love Parade and then Love Fest.

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