San Francisco has its share of great music festivals, including Outside Lands, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and Treasure Island. I’ve been to the first one a couple of times, consider myself a HSB veteran at three, but had never been to Treasure Island Music Festival (TIMF) in the San Francisco Bay before. The changing moment came on Sunday, October 14, 2012 when I saw the lineup of Joanna Newsom, Best Coast, and M83 back-to-back-to-back, with The xx closing the festival.
The moment I arrived on the island, it was a much different change from the scenery of Golden Gate Park. I had been so accustomed to the smell of eucalyptus and pine trees, hiking hills, and the whole music-in-the-forest experience. This was by the ocean, where you could see the city line and Bay Bridge. Like Outside Lands, Treasure Island had all sorts of activities, such as a “Silent Disco,” arts and crafts, trampolines, and best of all, a ferris wheel. However, bigger than the change of scenery was the crowd size. Outside Lands brings in around 60,000 a day while Hardly Strictly’s weekend total can reach around 750,000. Those are far larger numbers compared to Treasure Island’s 12,500 per day. People say that Treasure Island is intimate—not an easy word for a mass festival—but it turned out to be true. TIMF achieved it.
The transportation out to the island via shuttle was super efficient and quick, as we all lined up and just got on. They were clean and very comfortable. Good job TIMF, zero stress. Festivals can be stressful enough already. This is pretty much opposite of Caltrain/BART/MUNI trips to fests in the past.
It was all blue sky coastal weather as Joanna Newsom came on at the Bridge Stage. She hardly ever does festivals, but it happened in San Francisco. Dressed in a picnic cloth dress, Newsom was the definition of quirky charm and sweetness. The audience was treated to a new song, amongst material from previous albums Ys and Have One on Me. She always reminded me of a sort of American Kate Bush, her persona very old and very young at the same time. I have never heard anyone play harp as Newsom does; she is in her own genre I’m sure.