The Hump Day Pick Me Up – Top 5 SF Events 9/30-10/2

Ladies and gents, it is now time for another Hump Day. Congratulations, you’ve made it half-way through the week! We’ve found some exciting events to help you push through that seemingly never-ending Wednesday hump. Whether it’s a food festival, a raging party, or a live performance that revs up your engines for the weekend, you’ll be over that hump and coasting into the weekend in no time.

Photo credit: °Florian, CC BY-SA 2.0

There are some amazing things going on this weekend. In addition to what we’ve already written about (Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Oktoberfest, Smuin Ballet and APE), we thought you all should know about these other awesome events:

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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2011 [Preview]

San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival is in its 11th year, and with such a consistently impressive 3-day lineup, it’s truly amazing that this festival is still completely free. Even folks who can’t dig bluegrass tunes will find something at HSB to get excited about. Just as the name suggests, the festival offers an armful of great bluegrass bands, as well as a good amount of folk, rock and country music. The festival kicks off at Speedway Meadows in Golden Gate Park on Thursday, September 29th with MC Hammer’s Children’s Program. I wonder if he’ll be sporting those famous pants.

On Friday, the festival introduces indie sensation Conor Oberst, who performed at last year’s HSB. This year, Oberst is in charge of Friday’s Rooster stage, bringing some friends along with him like his band, Bright Eyes, which is sure to draw a flurry of dedicated fans. I was fortunate enough to see Bright Eyes play at Coachella this spring and let’s just say that their streak of artistic genius was showing. Oberst also brings M. Ward of Monsters of Folk and the “him” of She & Him, as well as Kurt Vile & the Violators, among others.  Other incredible acts on Friday include Chris Isaak (Wicked Game, anyone?), Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, and Robert Plant & the Band of Joy. Starting to forget that this festival is FREE of charge? Yeah, me too.

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Outside Lands, Inside Hunger

What was your first-ever concert, back in the day?

I remember mine. It was an all-day outdoor music festival in Mountain View. I have great memories of jumping around, dancing with my friends and getting to see Bloc Party and The Cold War Kids. However, those great memories were tainted by one not-so-great memory: paying $7 for some undercooked garlic fries, redolent of stale oil and raw potato. After those uninspiring fries, I found myself wishing I had packed myself a peanut butter sandwich instead, and ate nothing for the rest of the day. It’s a wonder I didn’t pass out from low blood sugar or something along those lines.

On the other hand, if you plan on venturing to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park next weekend for Outside Lands 2011, then dining should be an added bonus at the festival rather than a matter of concern. After all, the Bay Area has been known nationwide for its foodie culture ever since Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Whether you’re at the SFMOMA cafeteria, the zoo, or an ice cream shop on a hot summer day, you’re going to find that San Franciscans really pay attention to the overall taste and quality of their food. The food here is fresh, combines unique flavor profiles, and is made with organic, sustainable and local ingredients where possible. And since “food and wine” are listed as taglines on Outside Lands promotions along with “music and art,” you can rest assured that the festival directors put just as much thought into the lineup of food vendors as the lineup of musicians.

Presenting the Piglet from The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen - a preview of the deliciousness that is Outside Lands. Photo by Katherine Hamilton.

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