Aah, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. As I've written previously, the crown jewel of free San Francisco festivals is, hands down, the best music festival in the country, and I will defend that statement with all I've got.
The lack of corporate sponsorship changes not only the feeling in the crowd but something in the air itself: At a time when inhabitants of 1960s San Francisco would be hard-pressed to recognize the city should they suddenly land on Valencia Street as it currently exists -- when the vitriol between our newer, tech-employed denizens and natives (however you want to define that) seems to reach a new maxed-out dog-whistle pitch every day -- Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is the music festival equivalent of a public swimming pool: There's no caste system, everyone can have fun doing cannonballs, and everyone looks stupid when they get water up their nose.
Okay, so maybe that analogy needs a little work, but you get my point: It's a unifying thing, and the city needs that right now, maybe more than ever. Consider this a PSA to say that if you can't make it to Golden Gate Park for whatever reason this weekend, you can join in that feeling by streaming various sets online right here. Personally we're stoked on this tribute to Big Star's Third later on this afternoon. Check out Gabe Meline on KQED Arts for other recommendations.
If you are planning to make it to the fest in all its physical glory: Bring sunscreen. Bring water. Bring layers! Alright, done being your Jewish mother. See you in the park.