If you live in San Francisco and you're into music, it doesn't get much better than August through October. With the exponential rising fame for Outside Lands Festival (which boasted top notch headliners and huge spotlight write-ups from the likes of Rolling Stone this year), it's easy to spot it as our local celebrity.
So where does Treasure Island Music Festival fit into this constantly growing musical landscape in the Bay Area? The answer is... right where it is now.
Don't get me wrong, Outside Lands is great, and it's improved quite a bit since its Radiohead mishaps back in 2008, but there's some things that just get overlooked with TIMF (Treasure Island Music Festival) that should be addressed.
For one, TIMF is small. Those who fear large Disneyland-esque crowds (a-la Hardly Strictly Bluegrass) will feel right at home at the 15,000 person max capacity venue (compared to Outside Lands' 60,000+ people a day) with gorgeous cityscape views. They even bus people, for free, to the island. It's a seamless and effective way to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. Their greening efforts have boasted a record of up to ¾ of festival waste being diverted to recycling and compost. Pretty impressive.
It's headed up by the homegrown Bill Graham Presents offshoot, Another Planet Entertainment, in conjunction with the well-established Noise Pop Industries. Both parties are known and respected for their dedication and contributions to the preservation of the Bay Area music scenes.
TIMF is well-curated. It's one year older and wiser than Outside Lands and has the stellar forward-thinking lineup to prove it. Highlights this year include: Cut Copy, Death From Above 1979, Explosions in the Sky, Beach House, Friendly Fires, Weekend, Shabazz Palaces, and hometown heroes, Thee Oh Sees and Geographer.
There are never repeat artists. Since its inception in 2007, they've never once repeated an artist, and they don't intend to do so. Topping yourself every year is a tough task to swallow. I mean how can you beat a lineup headlined by French electro superstar outlet, Justice, back in 2008? They seem to be doing it just fine.
There are no overlapping set times. The dreaded festival heart-breakers are completely devoid at Treasure Island. With only two stages, 26 artists, and no overlapping set times, it's a festival that actually feels manageable in its two-day span.
It's affordable. Early bird prices for two-day passes started at $99 and have capped at $125. This feels like a completely reasonable price for two days jam-packed with music, food, arts, crafts, and entertainment. Added bonus activities include the Bay Bridged's annual "Ferris Wheel Confessions" series where they grill riders to expose their embarrassing musical assertions.
It's dynamic. Treasure Island features night shows and a pop up shop in North Beach for an extended long weekend celebrating music, food, and culture in San Francisco. Check out acts like The Head and the Heart with Release the Sunbird at The Independent on October 15th for a more intimate show.
Treasure Island Music Festival is on the brink of something really great. Unlike most festivals, it feels attainable and not overly jam-packed people or artist-wise. It's the lazy man's lounging festival. Bounce from stage to stage in a breeze or catch city views from the Ferris wheel. Tired of hearing people talk? Hit up the silent disco.
There's enough to keep you happy here for hours and hours. Sure it might be a little windy and cold sometimes, but you live in San Francisco. Bundle up, suck it up, and appreciate the amazing festivals being developed out of our great city. I know I am.
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