I used to brag that I had the dubious honor of attending the Austin City Limits Music Festival every year. Every. Single. Year. Don't try and top me, because that first year - there were like three people there (okay 300) and I was related to half of them.
Then it got all popular. And crowded. And the lines, good grief the lines. And the heat. And the dust. And suddenly my ticket didn't have those special little letters: VIP on it. And my kids got too big to stick in stroller or wagon and push to the front of the stage. And they kept begging to play in the sand at the volley ball courts. Do you know how impossible it is to throw your panties on the stage from the volley ball courts - aka Austin Kiddie Limits? I tried once and they ended entwined around Clifford The Big Red Dog's head. Head's up - back stage with Clifford, not as crazy as you might think. He's all straight edge, organic kibble, pro-cat nap. Booooorrrrring.
So after Amy Winehouse cancelled in '07, I kind of lost interest. (Not true) I bought tickets for this year last October. But I felt a huge pang of disappointment when they announced the headliners and they turned out to be the exact same headliners playing the Outside Lands Festival right here in Golden Gate Park. I like to think every music festival is some special cosmic gathering reminiscent of the original Woodstock v. pre-arranged corporate scheduling sponsored money making event. Then I found out the amazing Hardly, Strictly, Bluegrass Festival was scheduled for the exact same weekend. Here's the thing about HSB - it is FREE!!! FREE!!! FREE!!!!
All my people will be there: Lyle, John Prine, REK, Emmylou, Old 97's, Steve Earle, Drive-by Truckers, Old Crow Medicine Show on and on. And even MC Hammer.
Before you go poking fun and asking some silly "would I like some country with my western?" jokes, let's remember two things. One, I'm from Texas. I'm more Texas than most of the people who will actually be at ACL this weekend. (Ironically, most of the out-of-towners will be from California.) Two, it's supposed to rain ALL WEEKEND LONG in the 512. So, I will think of you, while I'm drinking store bought beer in an ACL '02 koozie that I am allowed to bring into the park to my free concert surrounded by redwood trees and in return, I hope that the umbrella you hold over your head during Pearl Jam doesn't get struck by lightening or wielded wildly and ends up poking someone in the eyeball. Deal?
This does not mean that I will be disappointed if you buy me a T-shirt.