This year’s Treasure Island Music Festival (TIMF) brought a number of departures from the well-loved, annual Bay Area event. As the festival celebrated its tenth anniversary, we knew it would be the last edition to take place on the namesake island between Oakland and San Francisco. Additionally, the festival grounds shifted from the traditional location on the west side of Treasure Island (with an absolutely gorgeous view of San Francisco) to the east side. Moreover, while those Bay Area Indian summers usually deliver phenomenal weather during TIMF’s mid-October dates, Treasure Island 2016 was blitzed by the biggest rainstorm we’ve seen in over 7 months.
When the east side location was announced, many of us wondered how the concrete dominated area would fare for a festival. To Noise Pop and Another Planet Entertainment’s credit, they rolled out the “green carpet” aka layered the whole area with sod. Unfortunately, that carpet made for the least of the concerns this weekend as you really couldn’t separate TIMF 2016 from the torrential downpour that hit the bay.
With a wet forecast on the way, Noise Pop informed festival patrons the event would be “rain or shrine”. Faithful fans adamantly arrived to the island on Saturday, managing to channel their eclectic festival garb into weather-ready variations. However, by 4pm things began turning south. By no fault of Noise Pop or Young Thug’s, the Atlanta rapper’s flight was delayed into SFO. As the storm truly arrived to the island, his set was originally postponed an hour. Given that TIMF only schedules a single act at one time, drenched attendees stood without live music wondering what was happening. As 5:30 rolled by, Kamaiyah would eventually take the stage for her second set of the day to fill the gap (someone please anoint her Bay Legend status). Unfortunately, this was one of many, many delays for the night on top of several cancelled sets (Duke Dumont, Flight Facilities). Weather happens. But the largest issue of Saturday was the altogether lack of communication from Noise Pop. It’s one thing to brave the weather for engaging festival sets, yet quite another to stand in a downpour hours without any idea of when or if said sets will happen.
To Noise Pop’s credit, they recognized this issue and stepped up for Sunday. By morning, they had issued a notice apologizing for the communication and logistical errors. With another day of weather barreling at the bay, they did an solid job keeping the festival running and (perhaps more importantly) greatly stepping up the communication with social media responses and up to the quarter hour time changes. That being said, the evening storm would prevent James Blake from performing his headlining set.
Photo: Kelly J Owen
With enough social media fury pouring in to employ an entire SoMa customer support team, Noise Pop re-scheduled James Blake’s set to the Fox Theater in Oakland on Monday night. You can hate on Noise Pop all you want, but this was an incredible look and an excellent showing that they did indeed care. James Blake’s show itself was simply spellbinding. Truth be told, you could not have had anywhere near that type of intimate acoustic experience in a festival. Those who made it out to the Fox were treated to one of the finest shows that theater hosted all summer. The sonic nuances of Blake’s self-titled album, Overgrown and this year’s The Colour in Nothing radiated throughout the Fox. All in all, Noise Pop played the cards they were dealt–miscommunication, mishaps and the like–to close out a decade on Treasure Island with the warmth of James Blake’s delicate vocals inside the dry confines the 88 year old venue.