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3 of the Quirkiest Souvenirs You Can Bring Home from Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Written by Sarah HoltzPublished Oct. 01, 2022 • 11:48am
Alvaro Ramirez places a headband on Theresa Vitanza's head during Hardly Strictly Bluegrass at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. | Brian Feulner for The Standard
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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (HSB for short) is as much about the music as it is about the people you meet along the way. If you’re lucky, you might come away with a memento in the form of a daisy halo or a sonnet. The Standard wandered Hellman Hollow and met three roving vendors who are making their marks on the festival. 

The Daisy Dude

Alvaro Ramirez sells headbands during Hardly Strictly Bluegrass at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. | Brian Feulner for The Standard

If you find yourself in Golden Gate Park as HSB weekend continues on, chances are you’ll see more and more faces in the crowd donning daisy headbands. They likely came from Alvaro Ramirez. He’s one half of Peace Love & Halos with his wife, Emily Joy.

The former San Francisco residents braid hippie headbands, which range from $10 to $60, that harken back to the Summer of Love. Wandering through the grass in front of the Banjo Stage, an electric smile on his face, Ramirez told The Standard, “With our halos, I can be a conduit of this larger lineage and help people tap into it.”

Chance Encounters that Stick

From left, Aiden Barrick and Rheanna Binkley give away novelty stickers as a way of connecting with strangers during Hardly Strictly Bluegrass at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. | Brian Feulner for The Standard

When The Standard met Rheanna Binkley and Aiden Barrick in between sets, we were drawn in by their ability to effortlessly carry on a conversation with strangers, but also by the stack of unusual stickers they were handing out. The two friends gave us an adhesive image of Snoop Dogg with a cryptic message based on our time together. In the spirit of the free festival, they ask for nothing in return.

Though Binkley and Barrick came to HSB with the goal of making transient connections with people, their philosophies about interacting with strangers diverge. Barrick told The Standard, “I want to reach at the core of a person,” while Binkley responded, “I’m just trying to riff.” The two friends will be giving out personalized stickers all weekend.

See Also

Spontaneous Poetry

Stan Vilensky writes poems for concertgoers at a typewriter during Hardly Strictly Bluegrass at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. | Brian Feulner for The Standard

Most days, Stan Vilensky can be found on the sidewalks of the French Quarter in New Orleans, clacking away behind a Royal typewriter and writing poems for passersby. The donation-based transaction is simple. Vilensky asks for a word or a short anecdote, and then he calls upon the muses to craft a short collection of verses to encapsulate the idea. When asked about his creative process, Vilensky didn’t hesitate. 

“I zoom in and out. It’s a moving meditation,” he said. “My mind is a black box.”

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Sarah Holtz can be reached at [email protected]


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