Gimme Indie Rock!

Local promoters take a big risk to give S.F. a music fest that will restore the city's cool cred

Caltrans public information officer Bob Haus notes, "The exit and entrance routes going to and from T.I. don't have a lot of capacity; they can only handle about 700 vehicles an hour."

Kurland says the Treasure Island Music Festival Web site has received some emails complaining about the lack of buses from the East Bay, but that in this trial year, the promoters are just "going to have to take it on the chin a little bit."

San Francisco's Entertainment Commission executive director Davis says transportation is on the minds of every promoter interested in doing something public on Treasure Island. Another Planet Entertainment is at least helping lead the way. "It's good to have someone like [Another Planet co-founder] Perloff, who is experienced and has worked in the area to be the first out of the box," says Davis. Davis has sent three different teams out to Treasure Island, and the other operators are now "taking a small step back to see what Perloff does," he notes.

But the anticipated transportation nightmares don't always become reality, says White, who claims that contrary to the press coverage leading up to his blues festival, traffic scares never materialized. "There was no problem with transportation," he says, later adding, "There is no transportation problem [now]. Getting on that island is a snap."

But there is a difference between White's concert and the Treasure Island Music Festival. White installed the necessary disabled ramps for ferry service. Noise Pop and Another Planet have decided to forgo the ramps and lose out on ferries this year. "There's a dock here but it isn't compliant," says Scott. "There's a cost to it and it's something we hope to do in the future. [This year] it was a cost issue and a timing issue as well."

But Duquette later added that "everything had to loop through the city, building permit-wise, and we felt like with their time constraints we couldn't do it." He says the Navy and the city would have to approve the plans for ferry ramps at the festival, and that the promoters couldn't put tickets on sale until they had an approved transportation plan in place, a process that would take too much time this first year.

Instead of ferries, Another Planet and Noise Pop are offering free transport in state-of-the-art biodiesel buses on loan from Google. Sixty of these eco-friendly beasts will be on call, shuttling ticket holders free of charge from parking lot A at AT&T Park to Treasure Island and back. Those commuting from the East Bay will just have to get themselves to San Francisco for this first year. Aside from festival staff, only VIP ticket holders will be able to drive to the event and park there. Caltrans will leave one lane of the Bay Bridge blocked off just before the Treasure Island entrance ramp for one hour both nights to ensure an easy exit.

For now, the only boats that will dock at Treasure Island are private vessels whose owners rent or own the required slips. And in the meantime, the music festival is sailing full speed ahead toward its start date.

In the last days before the Treasure Island Music Festival, it's sounding like indie connoisseurs are indeed rallying to make the big passage. A little over a week before the festival, Kurland writes in an e-mail, "Ticket sales are super strong and have really picked up since last week," with Sunday's more rock-oriented lineup outselling Saturday's mix of electronic and hip-hop acts. "I don't anticipate that it will sell out in advance," he says, "but it's going to be close." At shows for the Another Planet–run Independent, concertgoers picking up tickets for bands like Okkervil River are greeted with stacks of fliers pushing last-minute buyers into action.

For all the music fanatics in this city, San Francisco's rock festival lore is sorely stuck in the past. The endless Summer of Love anniversary coverage reminds people of what a culturally groundbreaking place this town used to be, both in the bands it supported and with the large-scale concerts it used to showcase them. That cutting edge has been blunted over time, but that's no reason to give up. One weekend on Treasure Island probably won't put San Francisco in the history books, but it does signal an important first step. It's a reminder to the outside world of our rock cred. It's local promoters taking a chance on creating a musical zeitgeist in a unique place that lodges in the memory.

If the Treasure Island Music Festival is a success, the plan is to make the concert a yearly event. But Arnold hedges his bets there, announcing, "You never say that the first year. If this doesn't go well we don't want to look like jackasses for calling it the 'first annual.'"

Even if it scrapes the bottom of Noise Pop's bank account, though, the hope is that rewards will come in other ways. "I think we'd have more regret if we hadn't done [an event] where we didn't know what we were doing," Arnold concludes, "than if we just sat back and waited."

« Previous Page
My Voice Nation Help
Sort: Newest | Oldest
San Francisco Concert Tickets
©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.