The grass is always bluer in Golden Gate Park: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival 2013

Zack McDonald-Ryan

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The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival returned to Golden Gate Park for its 13th consecutive year the weekend of Oct. 4-6.
This year’s lineup included artists such as Manchester Orchestra, Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, First Aid Kit, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Boz Skaggs, and Gogol Bordello.
The free admission, beautiful location, varied food options, and variety of live music make the festival attractive to fans from the Bay Area and beyond.
“Of all possible places to see a concert, I think Golden Gate Park is my favorite. Unlike Outside Lands, Hardly Strictly’s crowd is unfiltered and you end up in a wild mix of Bay Area stereotypes,” said sophomore Jake Baldwin.
According to festival organizers, this year’s event drew a record 900,000 attendees.
Pictured below, New York folk-rockers the Felice Brothers set the bar high for every performer at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass early on Friday afternoon with their wild yet moving performance.
They played a healthy variety of songs ranging from a solo performance of “The Mating of the Doves” by lead singer Ian Felice, to upbeat crowd favorites such as “Whiskey In My Whiskey” and “Frankie’s Gun!”, which led to a broken fiddle bow and a washboard being smashed on the cymbals of the drum set.
They performed on the Rooster stage which consisted of a lineup entirely curated by singer-songwriter Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, who headlined that evening.
Other weekend highlights included the Swedish sister duo, First Aid Kit, who performed a graceful cover of Paul Simon’s “America;” Atlanta’s Manchester Orchestra, who performed a stripped down set of their wittily sentimental rock jams using just two guitars and a keyboard; and a fast paced performance by the San Francisco-based bluegrass group, The Brothers Comatose, who performed for a packed audience at the Arrow Stage on Sunday afternoon.
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass was founded in 2001 by San Francisco billionaire, Warren Hellman, who desired a cost-free and commercial-free music festival. The festival was originally called “Strictly Bluegrass” because it was Hellman’s initial idea to only host bluegrass musicians like himself. However, by 2004 the title was changed to “Hardly Strictly Bluegrass,” as artists from different genres began to participate in the festival.
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass takes place in Golden Gate Park the first weekend of each October.