Monday, August 03, 2009
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and Towers of Gold
If you live in the Bay Area, or are a bluegrass fan, you have certainly heard of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, the 3-day free music festival that financier Warren Hellman puts on in Golden Gate Park.
Between 500,000 and 750,000 people come each year to bask in the sun (or fog) and listen to fantastic music. Emmylou Harris, Hazel Dickens, Steve Earle, Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Gillian Welch, and many more are regulars.
This year Marianne Faithful and Lyle Lovett will join around 75 other musical guests.
Well, the festival keeps growing, and Warren Hellman and Dawn Holliday, who organizes the festival, decided to add a sixth stage to the event. And guess what they are going to call it? (Hint:Warren is my cousin.)
Towers of Gold .... after my book of the same name.
When Warren told me this I couldn't believe it. I know he got some flack because the other stages have simpler, folksy names like Arrow and Banjo stage. But when I published the book, Warren and I vowed to have fun together with the project. (He encouraged me to write it, since it is about our mutual ancestor, Isaias Hellman.) We were on the radio together on Michael Krasny's show on KQED. He wrote a song about Isaias, which he plays with his band. The Wronglers, and which I promote on my website. I dedicated the book to him.
So you see, it's been a lot of fun and he decided to continue the fun by honoring Isaias Hellman at the festival. The graphic and banner for the stage is above. That is Isaias Hellman on the coins.
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Leah Garchick wrote about this and this is what she said:
"The term refers to Hellman during the bank panic of 1893, taking his money from San Francisco to Los Angeles, piling it on a counter - in stacks of gold - and opening an institution that was ancestor to today's Wells Fargo.The term refers to Hellman during the bank panic of 1893, taking his money from San Francisco to Los Angeles, piling it on a counter - in stacks of gold - and opening an institution that was ancestor to today's Wells Fargo."
I am so delighted by this. I love HSB and usually go for at least 2 of the 3 days. Now the concert will resonate with me even more deeply.