Souls of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Article by: Dijon Bowden|@DijonBowden

Mon October 06, 2014 | 00:00 AM

Each October, when the weather is preternaturally beautiful, denizens of San Francisco and music lovers from around the globe gather in the meadows of Golden Gate Park to pay tribute to Warren Hellman’s generosity, which has manifested as the free festival known as Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Folks commune to listen to Hellman's favorite music, and to eat, drink and be merry under the sun. For three days, it’s like the flower children have come home again.

Dijon Bowden was at HSB this year photographing the flower children and other Souls of San Francisco, capturing their stories to share with us. For more photos of HSB, go here.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014 Interviews Dijon   02

"Great style. What’s your inspiration?"
“I find inspiration everywhere and then piece it all together in my fashion. I love mixing old and new. I'm always attracted to bold and bright! I got this parasol at an Indian store in the Haight. I have several different colors and I never leave home without one.”
"Why’d you pick yellow today?"
"I thought it would match the sun."
"And what’s your favorite part of festivals?"
"I just love huge groups of people having a good time, they’re really laid back, it’s a huge party that’s really peaceful."

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014 Interviews Dijon   04

"You two look super stoked! Where does your attraction lie?"
Him - "Our attraction lies in having the same roots. We have punk rock in us. Yoga in us. Balance in life. We try to do things that are enlivening and balancing. Concerts, yoga..."
Her - "Healthy eating..."
Him - "Sex."
Her - "Lot’s of sex."
Him - "Not as much sex as we would like but…sex."
"Why not as much sex as you'd like?"
Him - "I’m a busy, terrible, business man…I need to take more time for sex with this woman."
Her - "Yeeeeeeeeeaaaaaahhhhhhh!"

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014 Interviews Dijon   06

"What happens when you get activated by the Flower Power?"
"You know…it’s like…flowers grow everywhere. Everyone sees flowers…but the moment you transition from just looking at them to appreciating flowers and wearing them, and being like them…that’s when you know Flower Power."

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014 Interviews Dijon   07

"You look like you’re enjoying yourself. What do you love about this festival?"
"It’s my first time here. I just got here a little bit ago."
"Whaddya think?"
"Lots of people, lots of pretty girls, lots of hot hippie girls, dude."

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014 Interviews Dijon   10

"Basically, I love that there are people here that can’t normally afford a music festival."
"Do you think the festival being free makes for a different vibe?"
"Most definitely, check it out. You’re going to see the plethora of all that are typically in a park. Let’s look around. There’s a family with kids, this guy…hammered, probably a bottle somewhere nearby. That guy is cold chilling. Some street kids with a ginormous dog. That guy over there has been a hippie for way too long. Some hippie chicks that just got outta school for some kind of break. We’ve got everything."

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014 Interviews Dijon   11

"This is my fourth year here. It’s always my favorite weekend in the city."
"How come?"
"The weather and the people. The first year I came I’d lived in the city for 4 months and it was hard to believe this existed. Having a festival that was free to any and everyone. So many people…it was mind-blowing. I just fell in love. It made me love San Francisco hardcore. I feel like without fail Hardly Strictly is the weekend with the best weather of the year. Even if Monday is gonna be shitty, Friday, Saturday, Sunday is like 80 degrees. And I’m not even always here for the music, I love being here for the vibe and the people."

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014 Interviews Dijon   14

"Tell me about this tattoo, it’s epic!"
"So I’m from Southern California and I grew up in the hills of the desert. There’s a lot of coyotes and crows. The crow represents the mystery in life, the unknown, what you can’t understand. I got that close to my heart because the mystery is so fun to explore. The coyote is the symbol of home so I keep that on the other side."
"Cool man, I feel like the artistry of the tattoo and the story behind it are both on a super high level."
"Thanks man."
"Yeah, what’s your favorite part of this scene?"
"Honestly what it is is how open and friendly people are."

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014 Interviews Dijon   15

Her- "We’re gonna open up our own shop called the Forest Temple. It’s gonna be energy healing during the day and art gallery by night."
"Do you do the energy healing?"
Her - “Yeah, Reiki and stuff like that.”
"How’d you learn you could do stuff like that?"
Her - "I went to massage school and learned from a man who traveled to China for 20 years and brought it back. I took a workshop from him."
"Cool, what kind of art do you make?"
Him - "Graphic illustration. Check me out, my instagram is hellajimmytho."

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014 Interviews Dijon   16

"I love to dance and hula hoop!"
"What’s your dream?"
"To dance as much as possible…which I’m doing. I’m a go-go freestyle dancer and I teach dance fitness classes."

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014 Interviews Dijon   18

"What an awesome necklace! Where’d you get it?"
"So you went to India…tell me about your time."
"It was beautiful. The people were warm and happy and wonderful."
"What inspired the trip?"
"A friend was getting married."
"And what do you enjoy doing in general?"
"Dance. Classical contemporary dance. I do a lot at ODC."

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014 Interviews Dijon   20

"What’s one of your favorite things about her?"
Him - "She always intuitive about what’s going on. She’s connected to the airwaves and that’s very important. She can find anything. She clears the confusion, makes it more simple."
"That’s quite a compliment. Great trait to have in a partner. What about you?"
Her - "He’s very very kind."

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014 Interviews Dijon   21

"That’s an amazing costume!"
"Thanks! I made it myself."
"Is there a story behind it?"