What really happened at Treasure Island Music Festival 2016?
Overall Experience: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆
Guys can we talk about 2016’s Treasure Island Music Festival? Like, queen to queen?
I will preface this review with the fact that in my five years living in San Francisco, I had never before attended Treasure Island Music Festival before this past weekend. I attended day one, as I heard that this would be the last concert of its sort held at Treasure Island, and that it was the 10 year anniversary. And yes, before I complain, I will have you all know that I did read that the tickets were labeled “Rain or Shine”…but come on. It was Jurassic Park raining.
For the first time, the event took place on a different section of the island than before. While there was no way for me to be able to compare the two different locations, I must say that this spot had a perfect view of the architectural beauty of San Francisco and the Bay Bridge to admire from wherever you were in the venue. That view would come in handy while you waited patiently for artists who would ultimately never arrive, but we’ll get to that in a bit. The reason why the venue gets such a low score is because of large patches of slippery mud and uneven ground where water would pool. I’m hoping no one broke an ankle in that mess. The vending machine falling on someone in the beginning of the day was dramatic enough.
Besides the coif-haired gentlemen wearing teashades near me during Mura Masa, the most flawless thing I witnessed that day was the free shuttle from San Francisco to Treasure Island and back. San Francisco pickup/dropoff was near Bill Graham Civic Center and pickup/dropoff for the venue was a few hundred feet from the venue entrance. All from my experience went on without a hitch. We never waited more than 45 seconds for a bus and the rides were all quite smooth and speedy.
FOOD AND DRINK: ★★★★★★★★☆☆
Fans of Skyy Vodka, Heineken beer and its baby Lagunitas IPA, were in luck at this event. They also served Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Cupcake Wines (I know the name sounds pretty gross but it wasn’t awful.) I don’t personally remember waiting too long for alcoholic beverages, although my friend Jon was gone for so long in a Peet’s Coffee truck line that I was starting to miss him.
As for food, they outdid themselves in the selection of popular Bay Area food trucks and stands. I enjoyed a fabulous tofu burrito from the always amazing Senor Sisig foodtruck, and got a taste of my friend’s dish from Gerard’s Paella. At first I was nervous as to why theirs was the shortest line for food, but then I realized it was merely due to the fact that just happened to be the most efficient of all the vendors. If you’re ever at a music festival and you don’t have half an hour to wait for garlic fries, head straight for the giant pits of paella. There are even vegan options for those of you who don’t understand the purpose of paella. (Kidding…sort of…)
I arrived at the festival while Honne was performing and saw most of the acts until the end of Zhu. By the time we arrived, the act schedules were already about 45 minutes behind. And as everyone knows by now from their heated Facebook feed, many of the acts did not show up or were not able to perform their full sets due to the weather affecting their flights into the Bay Area or due to safety and technical issues.
The first issue we were made aware of was that Flight Facilities were having the worst issues with their plane schedule (tips hat to irony) and would for sure not be performing that evening. Then, after some filler performances, we experienced much silence.
Apparently some sound equipment was affected by the rain and the Tunnel Stage, the smaller of the two, was being put on hiatus. I will give How To Dress Well props for attempting to perform under the circumstances and with limited sound equipment. Unfortunately, they were told by TIMF organizers to wrap it up after only a few songs so that Glass Animals could begin their performance on the larger Bridge Stage.
Glass Animals however was also almost cut short as well…BEFORE PLAYING GOOEY I MIGHT ADD to make room for Zhu. (Because hours of silence, filler acts, and confusion followed by an attempt to rush and cut in half the next few performances makes a lot of sense.) But luckily, they read the room and decided to play on anyway. It truly made the whole thing worth it for me to hear Gooey. There were even moments when I suspected the lead of lip-syncing because they sounded so on point.
It’s no surprise that I’m going to give this event a low score for organization. It was a terrible weekend to host a music festival, (preceded and followed by beautiful sunny days I regret to add,) clearly all of the music artists were arriving by plane at too close of an hour to the event and the combination of the physical discomfort and collective disappointment made this $200 weekend a huge bust for most.
And the jury is still out on whether or not there was some shady business going on behind the scenes of the concert due to a recent statement by Duke Dumont, who claimed to have not performed Saturday due to safety issues and a lack of organization on TIMF’s end. Meanwhile someone from TIMF staff arrived at the Tunnel stage after How To Dress Well’s performance, throwing shade at Duke Dumont for allegedly not performing because “he doesn’t feel like getting wet.”
Luckily for me, I was there due to my bad case of FOMO and not to see any band in particular. But the disappointment was real for those who saved up, traveled far or cleared their day for the artists who weren’t able to perform.
As someone who has planned events before, I realize that when unfortunate circumstances occur, sometimes it’s the fault of various individuals, companies, vendors or associations that we never would have considered getting angry at. And sometimes elements like unexpected weather obstacles are just an act of nature. So I cannot say that I fully blame Treasure Island Music Festival organizers or Another Planet Entertainment; however, in the spirit of James Blake (as he went on to perform a follow-up show for all Treasure Island ticket holders at the Fox Theater on Monday the 17th after cancelling his Sunday performance,) I hope that TIMF will do something to reward attendees for their patience, time and inconvenience from this event.
Overall, I can’t say I’ll ever forget my experience at Treasure Island Music Festival 2016.
PS: Shout out to the real star of Treasure Island Music Festival 2016, the spinning fire ball display that we all used to dry and warm ourselves in our time of need. I’m having a hard time looking for the designer or collective that created this piece (Flaming Lotus Girls perhaps?) so if anyone knows, I’d love to credit them.