Author: Carlin, Larry

October 1, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010

Hardly worth the effort -- If you have never been to it, the free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park sounds like a daunting task. A few hundred thousand folks swarm to the event, and it can be a bit challenging getting to the park and settling in. But once you do such, there is nothing else like it. Six stages and 86 acts over the course of three days. If you want strictly bluegrass, then camp out at the Banjo Stage, because that is where you will find most of the bands, such Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, Blue Highway, Hazel Dickens, Earl Scruggs, The Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands, Dry Branch Fire Squad and The Del McCoury Band. As for getting there, BART and the N-Judah MUNI streetcar may be your best bet, as parking is pretty much non-existent. But the Hardly Fest is well worth the effort.

Hardly fun -- For all of you techies out there The Bay Citizen, a nonprofit news organization that is funded in part by HSB benefactor Warren Hellman, is doing a fun collaboration with the festival. They’ve created a mobile game that folks can play on their iPhones or Androids by going to this link here. Festival goers can do quick challenges – like snapping a photo of the bands or answering a trivia question – to earn points and win amazing prizes, such as a guitar signed by Warren and his band The Wronglers, a pair of tickets to any show at the Great American Music Hall or Slim’s, a year’s subscription to The New York Times' Crossword Puzzle Society, and a limited edition HSB keychain. Go to the site for more info.

Wall Street Warren -- While Warren Hellman certainly knows his way up and down Wall Street, that progressive bluegrass publication known as the Wall Street Journal had this interview with him in yesterday’s edition.

IBMA awards -- The IBMA had their annual awards show last night in Nashvegas, and you can look at the list of winners here. Kudos to California native – and only Californian even on the ballot – Rob Ickes, for once again winning Dobro Player of the Year.

No go in Agoura Hills -- The Americana Music Festival in Agoura Hills that was mentioned here in previous columns has, for reasons unknown, now been canceled for this weekend.

Americana night in SF -- The 4th Annual Hardly Strictly Anything Goes event hosted by Jeanie & Chuck Poling will be happening at the Velo Rouge in SF on the 1st starting at 7 p.m. No cover, all ages welcome.

Murphy’s in Sonoma -- At Murphy’s Irish Pub in the town of Sonoma it will be bluegrass and country on the 1st by the Sonoma Mountain Band from 8-10 p.m., and on Sunday the 3rd join the monthly Celtic jam session starting at 6 p.m. No cover, and great food and drink in a family friendly atmosphere. Kids are welcome.

Sisters at Slim’s -- The Stairwell Sisters and The Carolina Chocolate Drops will be sharing the bill at Slim’s in SF on the 1st.

Wild and crazy banjo guy -- See Steve Martin (with the Steep Canyon Rangers at some of these shows) in Arcata on the 1st, in Chico on the 2nd, in Davis on the 3rd, in Reno, NV, on the 5th, San Luis Obispo on the 6th, Santa Barbara on the 8th, and San Diego on the 9th.

Square dance in Oakland -- Another installment of the every-first-Friday monthly square dance will take place at the Niebyl-Proctor Library (6501 Telegraph Avenue) on the 1st at 8 p.m. with the Squirrelly Stringband and caller Jordan Ruyle. $5 or whatever you can pay. No prior experience necessary, and all dances will be taught.

Bluegrass invitational jam -- The invitational jam on the first Friday of every month at Bacheeso's Mediterranean Restaurant, 2501 San Pablo Avenue, at the corner of Dwight Way, in Berkeley takes place from 6:30-9:30 p.m. The players will be Deirdre Donovan on bass, Jerry Barush on banjo, Jill Cruey on fiddle, Neil Linden on guitar, and Scott Thompson on mandolin. Bacheeso's is a major supporter of all kinds of acoustic music, and it is great that they have now added bluegrass to their mix.

Green grass in the valley -- For folks that don’t want to travel to SF this weekend you can enjoy the KVMR Celtic Festival in Grass Valley on the 2nd and 3rd.

Turn your radio on -- Tune into Peter Thompson’s Bluegrass Signal radio show on KALW (91.7 FM) in SF on the 2nd from 6:30-8 p.m. The show this weekend is titled Happy Birthday, Chubby Wise, a salute to the influential fiddler from the classic bluegrass band. You can listen online on the KALW web site, and the first hour of the show is also broadcast five times each week on

Mild earthquake in San Gregorio -- The Mild Colonial Boys will be playing Americana music on 2nd from 2-5 p.m. and on the 3rd it will be bluegrass by Earthquake Country at the San Gregorio General Store south of Half Moon Bay. No cover, you can have a beer and also get you shopping done while you are there.

Jammin’ in Sebastopol -- The place for bluegrass pickin' on Saturdays is the Coffee Catz, 6761 Sebastopol Ave, from 2-5 p.m.

Dusty Shoes in Grover Beach -- Every Saturday from 5-7 p.m. the Dusty Shoes Gospel Band plays bluegrass at the Station Grill, 170 W. Grand Avenue, in Grover Beach. This is a free event.

Chris and Herb in Poway -- The fabulous duo of Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen is the featured act at the Poway Music Fest on the 2nd. The Eve Selis Band is also on the bill.

More grass in SF -- If you don’t get your fill of bluegrass on Saturday afternoon in Golden Gate Park, then head on over to the Plough & Stars on the 2nd by 9 p.m. when Shelby Ash presents Bucky Walters, The Mad Cow String Band, Citigrass and Hang Jones.

Upper crust jam -- On the 2nd from 2-5 p.m. the Butte Folk Music Society sponsors a free acoustic jam at the Upper Crust Bakery, located at 130 Main Street in Chico. Everyone is welcome (including children) to go and play music, share songs, sing-along and get acquainted with others who love folk music and Americana.

Brunch with the Spillit Quikkers -- On the first Saturday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. you can have a late breakfast or early lunch in Sacramento with the Spillit Quikkers at the Hoppy Brewing Company, 6300 Folsom Boulevard. No cover.
Posted:  10/4/2010

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