Friday, September 24, 2010

Hardly good for Golden Gate Park

Ken Garcia throws a bouquet this morning to Warren Hellman's annual free music festival, and it's not undeserved. 

But isn't it time to start considering the impact 700,000 people have on the park? Check out this website for some photos of what this and other events do to the park:

Hardly Strictly a musical gift to The City
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since philanthropist-banjo player Warren Hellman came up with “this little idea’’ about throwing a free concert in Golden Gate Park featuring his favorite music.

“We had no idea what it was going to be,’’ he told me. “I thought nobody might show up.’’

Yet about 10,000 did, and then things started getting big. And when blues artists, rock and roll stars, soul singers and folk bands started asking to play, he had to come up with a new name. And that’s how the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival was born.

Hellman’s multimillion-dollar gift to San Francisco is now a tradition, a worldwide attraction and one of the biggest concerts in the United States. It arrives next weekend (Oct. 1-3) with more than 60 acts, including the legendary Doc Watson, Nick Lowe, Justin Townes Earle and Sharon Jones; the Dap Kings.

For a man who has made his fortune investing in companies, the festival is a testament to real growth. More than 700,000 people turned out one year and Hardly Strictly is now on the wish list for just about every musician in the country.

“The question always is should we have more days or more stages?’’ Hellman said. “But I think we’re probably topped out. The enormity of it now is just kind of amazing.’’

It’s also created a new social element for Hellman, who said he received the biggest compliment of his life recently after a performance by his band.

“Someone came up to me and said ‘Hey, aren’t you in The Wronglers?,’” he said. “In 40 years of investment banking, no one has ever recognized me.’’

He calls the music festival the “world’s most selfish gift.’’ Thanks to Hellman, it’s one that keeps on giving.

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At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The GG Park Preservation website is the crappiest site I've seen in years. I'd like to educate myself regarding their concerns, but I'll delay doing so until they upgrade it to a format that's able to be perused without risk of brain damage.

At 10:59 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Look at the pictures, which at least illustrate the issue.

At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the point of a park?

For people to use it. Otherwise we wouldn't put a park there.

Rob Anderson bitching about Bike-Nuts locking their bikes to trees and fences at HSBG in 3...2...1...

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Try to focus on what I actually write. I know that's hard for you bike people, because it's always all about bikes. I didn't even say I opposed these events, just that it's perhaps "time to start considering" the impacts on the park itself.


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