Open Letter to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Dear HSB folks,

Though I’ve approached the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass personnel in every direct (and indirect) way imaginable to allow me backstage access to this year’s event I’ve gotten nothing from you but polite but firm “no chance.” It’s not like I’m a newbie fan-boy looking to drool over M Ward (who I will be skipping) I’ve been back there before. In 2008 I was backstage because of the kindness of Billy Joe Shaver and in 2009 it was the awesome Elizabeth Cook that came through for casa Twang. Last year a deal for access with an artist and label never came through so I got to feel what it was like to  work through a 600k free attendance while trying to blog from a phone, get a decent photo and look for electrical outlets. Not to mention the bathroom lines. I didn’t care for it.

Do I deserve backstage access? I don’t know. I have been a guest for the Grammys in L.A. and the Americana Music Association in Nashville for the work I’ve done on this blog over the last 7 years. I do it because I love the music and I want to share it with like-minded people. I do it as a fan speaking to other fans. There is no other better example off a labor of love when it comes to as fickle an industry as music. Sure the HSB is a huge success and it’s free so publicity is not an issue but what about showing some love from one fan to another? I mean it is after all why we both do what we do.

The reason you gave for a blanket media (of which I’m not) shut-out was given as overzealous folks in the past has overstepped their place and bothered the artists. As I’ve stated, I have been backstage two years in the past and never did as much. I would nod, a hello and ask for the photo here and there, but really it was about me tweeting and posting what was going on around me. I am a courteous guest. My mama raised me right.

So yes,  I will be at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival next weekend and will be posting my picks to see this week as usual. Yours is the premier Americana and roots music event in the country and Mr. Warren Hellman deserves hillbilly Sainthood for arranging and funding the entire event. But in San Francisco, a city that claims a spirit of cooperation and technology innovation, to have this event bar me from the event based on some historic bad apples is arbitrary and unfortunate to a lowly blogger that just want’s quiet place to do his thing.

Baron Lane

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