SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – COVID-19 has once again ended the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival as a live event, but on Sunday a handful of residents of San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood were fortunate enough to see this who could be the only live, in-person performance of the event.
An increase in COVID cases may have depressed Bayview a bit, but Sunday afternoon there was pace to add to the blues.
The group “Spangalang”, with singer Tony Lindsay, 11 times Grammy winner, gave a pop-up concert on the stage behind the Bayview Opera House. Sponsored by Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, which is going virtual again this year, the event was one of the few places where people could watch an HSB event live.
“At first we didn’t realize it, but then we thought ‘awesome! ” – you know? Like, it’s really fantastic that it works! said Ashley Smiley, program manager for the Bayview Opera House.
“Having anything – ANY live music – is like medicine for your soul, I guess. I know how important this is, ”said Dr Tricia Hellman Gibbs, Board member for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.
There were also medicines for the body. Outside the Opera House, a free COVID screening and vaccination clinic drew a small group of people – not as many as Bayview resident Dwight Brown would have liked to see.
“We were overpowering him and now look at him! It’s back on the rise, almost back to where we started from, ”Brown said. “Come on, give me a break, I have no understanding at all.”
COVID has silenced live music for a year and a half and now the Delta variant has extended its duration and those who make music for a living are eagerly awaiting a period of “community immunity” so that the crowds can return.
This year’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass virtual offering will be a mix of documentary videos and live concert recordings. There is more information on http://hardlystrictlybluegrass.com