Author: Poling, Chuck

Live Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park

You donít have to wait until Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in October to enjoy some great bluegrass music in San Franciscoís Golden Gate Park. Coming up in May are two big events that combine my favorite music with my favorite place in the City.

On Saturday, May 5, Windy Hill brings their outstanding brand of traditional bluegrass to the stage of the Music Concourse Bandshell, located in between the de Young Museum and the California Academy of Sciences. Their performance is part of the Access for Adventure festival from noon to 3 and is free to the public. Jeanie and I will also be performing a short set and Iíll be the MC for the day.

Access to Adventure is an important organization that provides support for families of children with disabilities. The festival is a way to increase awareness of the resources available to these families and to have a lot of fun doing it. Last year, I emceed and with the most minimum of arm-twisting, cajoled the Wronglers into playing the event. The late Warren Hellman and his bandmates, Colleen Browne, Bill and Krista Martin, and Nate Levine pitched in to make it a super day.

This event is very important to me for several reasons. For starters, itís organized by a longtime friend who works her butt off to make it happen. Closer to home, Iím happy to support this organization because I have two nephews who have been diagnosed on the Aspergers/autism spectrum. Thereís so much we donít know about Aspergers/autism, but we do know that kids need special attention and parents need all the help they can get.

Iím thrilled that Windy Hill has stepped up to the plate for this one. Of course, we CBA members all know how good they are, but it should be a real eye-opener for the general public when they see those boys take the stage in their white shirts, natty ties, and straw hats to deliver some of the best hardcore bluegrass music this side of Pike County. Johnny Campbell, Ryan Breen, Henry Warde, Thomas Wille, and Cousin Kyle McCabe are showing how you can count on the bluegrass community to lend their talents to a good cause.

Food and beverages will be for sale, and raffle tickets for a lot of terrific prizes will be on sale as well.

Then weíre back in the park the following Saturday, May 12, for our annual CBA-sponsored Pickiní Picnic.

All the information for this fun and free event is right here, just waiting for you to read it:

We hope to see some of our CBA pals one or both of these fine bluegrass gatherings. Golden Gate Park is one of the most beautiful urban settings in the world - a veritable paradise created in the midst of miles of sand dunes. It has a rich musical history, including the Golden Gate Park Band, now in its 130th year. Opera in the Park is another fine old tradition, and during the Ď60s, San Franciscoís psychedelic sound flourished in the park and the nearby Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. And while Hardly Strictly Bluegrass presents a lineup that is just what the name says it is, it still regularly includes top bluegrass performers like Hot Rize, the Del McCoury Band, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Ralph Stanley, and the late Earl Scruggs.

So we figure someone needs to tend to the bluegrass in our wonderful park and weíre happy to take on the chore. We could use your help, though. You wonít have to do any hoeing or weeding, just a lot of pickiní and grinniní.

Posted:  4/23/2012

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