Treasure Island Music Festival 2013 – As a first-timer. Day Two Treasure Island Music Festival 2013 – As a first-timer. Day Two

Photos by Misty Dawn; Words by Ashley Lauren Dickinson


As I mentioned in my previous article, I had an amazing time at Treasure Island Music Festival’s day one. As a very recent SF transplant and TIMF first-timer, I didn’t know what to expect. But after my most excellent of adventures on Saturday and the awesome band performances, I had high expectations and worried Sunday wouldn’t keep up. Fearing this, I planned ahead and wore my “party pants.” A bellbottomed, frayed pair of jeans with a funky pattern: these bad boys always spark conversation and guarantee a good time. They are my equivalent to Superman’s cape.

Party pants on, I arrived on the island solo, but open to adventure. I quickly noticed today’s attendance was much less than that of Saturday. I attributed this to the possibility that many of Saturday’s goers partied too hard to the mostly danceable, electronic acts to make it back for today’s more guitar and rock oriented lineup. I quickly made a friend, thanks to the pants, and thus began today’s adventure.



Impressed not only by their tight, high energy performance but also their story: the three-sister band has been playing music for years and were previously in a traveling cover band with both of their parents. That folksy-Americana story alone earned them a few special brownie points. The band concluded with the three drumming in unison, definitely a highlight to the day.



Taking to the main stage, STRFKR wasted zero time in ramping their energy up to “full throttle”. Bright blowup dolls crowd surfed as the stage became crowded with sumo-wrestlers, a green man, the Easter bunny, and several other creatures resembling the weird kids in grade school whose parents let them dress themselves. The band played several songs, including the one that everyone knows “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second,” and crowd pleasing covers such as “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. Fortunately, the band sounded great, but you almost needed to close your eyes to actually appreciate the music rather than just the sensory overloaded performance.


James Blake

The soundtrack to Sunday’s sunset, he played under red lights as the cold air quickly swept in. His deep, calming voice echoed over reverbed electronics, allowing the crowds to get lost enough to, if only momentarily, forget the current tundra like temps. The performance definitely earned the title of “baby making music”.



The garage-rock duo took to the Tunnel Stage and brought the energy levels way up, playing one of the most rock-heavy sets of the two day festival. Performing several tracks off of their latest album, Celebration Rock, they opened with “Adrenaline Nightshift,” providing the perfect track to get the crowd moving. Their set played like a great album, with several rises and falls to the level of heavy rocking, and without a shortage of awesome guitar riffs and drum solos.


Animal Collective

The experimental band of four played a highly psychedelic set that included several fan favorites, in addition to some debut material. Crowds moved to the heavy beats that played to the colorful images of galaxy and space-like objects that flashed on the screens.


Sleigh Bells

Strobe lights beamed off the faces of those head-banging in the crowd as glowing jellyfish-like objects and the brightly lit ferris wheel created a highly picturesque background. I caught the hard-core act with a new friend who wasn’t familiar with the group, but his incessant need to constantly and loudly narrate his thoughts of “they rule,” “right on” and whenever at a loss for words, “oh yeah” indicated he, just as the rest of us, totally dug the performance.



The headliner finally took to the stage, and my childlike heart swooned as he mentioned something about the 90’s, which I didn’t fully catch because I was too enamored with his awesome hat, red jacket, and killer dance moves. Surprisingly, the frigid temps caused many to flee the island, but staying true to my craft and love for the awesome, I stayed and rocked solo until a beautiful weirdo approached me. He said: awesome pants, I said: nice antennae, and we danced to the amazing show that included hits such as “Loser,” and “Devil’s Haircut.” Set surprises included a track with Alexis Krauss from Sleigh Bells and an amazing cover of “Billy Jean.” My favorite moment of the set, and possibly the festival, happened during “Where it’s at,” when the words “Two turn tables and a microphone … San Francisco” flowed from the stage, causing me to feel perfectly positioned and thrilled to now live in this beautiful, amazingly weird and quirky city.


As the festival wrapped up, I felt more whole, like I had recovered a portion of myself I previously lost. There is something poetic and incredibly cathartic about music festivals. I arrived solo, but remaining open to an adventure, I made several friends along the way; the result was an amazing two-day journey.

That in a nutshell is one of the reasons I love music festivals: Everyone is lost in their own little world, but never lonely as the embarked upon journey is experienced with friends, both new and old, and total strangers who share in the love of music.

While Treasure Island Music Festival already has several monikers, including “The Anti-Music Festival” and “The little boutique festival that could,” I think it has a decent shot of also pulling off  “Best Festival Ever.

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