The first time I went to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass was 2010. This was the first time I saw Conor Oberst live. I had been a fan for 5 years, but I was barely 18 and barely going to shows on a monthly basis. My friends were more consumed by the fact that Kirsten Dunst could be seen backstage from where we were standing, while I was consumed by the fact that I was quickly becoming obsessed. Since then, I have seen Conor Oberst (in all his projects, except Monsters of Folk) 13 times, (which can either be the most impressive or disappointing thing about me, depending on who’s reading and my mood). Next weekend it will be 15.
Sure, nowadays I only think of my emo days as a way to make fun of a time that I was very unhappy and 13. Sure, nowadays people actually go out to bars to be unhappy and laugh about being 13 in public. Sure, I’ve never gone to a bar to be emo and unhappy in public – there’s just something about Hardly Strictly that brings back all my emo feelings. Maybe it’s because Hardly Strictly weekend is also dubbed “Conor Oberst Weekend” to me and many people I know. This past year has also been a long year of emo reviving victory.
So to those past and current emo kids who have never been to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, I have written a guide just for you.
How to prepare:
In the last five years the weather in SF has changed dramatically, due to global warming and the drought, but it has only slightly rained at HSB one time, the first year I went. Last year, I got sunburned. So it’s best to prepare for all the possible weather outcomes. It may be foggy in the early afternoon, the grass may be dewy, and there could be a slight breeze. Bring a light striped sweater, a windbreaker, a good blanket for the grass, and a backpack big enough to stuff all these things back into when the sun decides to show its face. Bring your fave cap, lots of sunblock to protect your fragile skin that barely goes out before 6pm, a gallon of water, and whiskey.
Transportation to and from can take a while – buses lag, parking is impossible, and that lyft or uber will be on surge prices, so give yourself some time to arrive.
The Rooster Stage is where I have resided the past 4 years during HSBG, this year I will probably do the same. Though I do suggest catching a glimpse of Saintseneca, as their song “Happy Alone” will make the emo kid in you feel at ease. The problem: they are playing at 12pm on Friday and so is Johnathan Rice.