Every year for the past few years, the boyfriend and I go to the annual San Francisco Blues Festival. The festival is always held in late September when the weather finally gets nice and warm in the City. The location is perfect – out at the Great Meadow at Fort Mason, right on the Bay with a view of the Golden Gate. Inevitably the days are hot, and just as the concert is winding down, that chilly breeze comes in through the Gate, and people who were half undressed a half hour before are throwing on their sweaters or huddling in blankets.
Admittedly, most of the time I am barely familiar with most of the acts. The type of blues artists I’m most familiar would be old old delta blues legends like Robert Johnson, Ledbelly, Son House, Blind Lemon Jefferson, etc. They are long gone, so I just go to because I enjoy the blues, not any one particular artist. And it’s fun being surprised. We always just sit in the less pricey general admission area, which is some distance from the stage, so my attention is never fully on the stage, but rather on the spectator sport of people watching.
This year I focused on festival fashion . . . if you can call it that. But, hey, this wasn’t Bryant Park, it’s an outdoor music festival where people take in too much sun, too much beer and then attempt to dance all funkylike when most of them don’t have a funky bone in their body.
For the men, the classic look was a commemorative t-shirt from one of the past SF Blues festivals – the older the better. This tells everyone you’re a true aficionado, not some festival Johnny-come-lately. Or if you want to show you’re a bit more traveled, you wore a t-shirt from some other blues or jazz festival (extra cool points for anything from New Orleans). And then there was the tie dye. Why oh why the tie dye? Perfectly normal looking men – not your basic old hippies who never left the 60s, but men who look like they may draw a salary – wearing tie dyed t-shirts. Sigh. Granted some were tie dye commemorative t-shirts, but still.
The women were not nearly as uniform as the men. In fact, it would be hard to make generalizations, so I shan’t. But, there was something very odd going on with the few young girls there. Every girl under the age of 16, and I kid you not, was wearing a belly dance coin shawl thing wrapped around their hips. Seriously, every freakin’ girl child was wearing one. At first, I conjectured that perhaps they were some kind of young dance troupe who all came together. But, no. There seemed to be no correlation between them except for that belly dance coin thing they were all wearing. Weirdest damn thing. It was like it was belly dance coin thing day at the festival – bring your girl child under 16 and she’ll get a free belly dance coin thing.