About This Festival
First launched in 2007, Treasure Island Music Festival (TIMF) has quickly become a local favorite---not just for fans, but for performers as well—marking the official end of summer-y outdoor events in the San Francisco Bay Area. The quirky setting—a former military base on a man-made island that anchors the eastern and western spans of the Bay Bridge—and stunning views make for an unparalleled and surprisingly intimate event.
Born & Raised in San Francisco
It’s all the brainchild of SF-based promoters Noise Pop (founders of the annual Noise Pop Festival that takes place in San Francisco in February and March) and Another Planet Entertainment (responsible for the excellent Outside Lands Festival held in Golden Gate Park each August). TIMF stands out due to its limited size (less than 30,000 people attend over two days) and its unique scheduling practices—there are only two main stages, and only one is in use at any time during the festival, solving the problem most festivals have when they pit two popular acts against each other with simultaneous performances. It’s a win-win for attendees. A third and much, much smaller stage hosts local acts including a tween busker, burlesque and cabaret performances, and one-man bands.
In its seven years, TIMF has featured power acts like LCD Soundsystem, Girl Talk, TV On The Radio, the wacky and uber-edgy Die Antwoord, Belle & Sebastian, The xx, Beck, Major Lazer, Atoms for Peace, and so many more. Smaller bands and DJs help fill out the bill.
Summer Camp Gone Bad
When you’re not watching one of the many performances, take time to stroll the grounds that typically serve as host for one of the Bay Area’s best weekend flea markets. During TIMF, look for Camp DIY put on by Workshop SF. They bill it as a summer camp gone bad, where you can join in on any number of (mostly) free activities (some crafts do cost, though). Here you can make your own hand-decorated cut-off jean shorts, a mylar superhero cape (they hold a runway walk-off where you can strut in your costume), emboss leather for a custom wallet, weave god’s eyes and dreamcatchers, plant a terrarium, screen print your clothes, make a flower crown, and partake in other various and sundry hands-on crafts.
Elsewhere on the grounds are giant Jenga games that tower over the participants (don’t let a brick crack your skull when it all comes tumbling down), yarn-bombing efforts (knit sweaters for the trees!), mural painting, interactive 3D video games, locally-made movies shown in a truck trailer, and face-painting.
But, two activities stand out above all others: The Silent Disco and riding the Ferris Wheel. Off in its own little space, a variety of DJs spin for the crowds, but to hear the music, you have to check out a pair of headphones. It may seem a bit silly and the participants frankly look wonderfully ridiculous dancing to music only they can hear, but it's a great time. The Ferris Wheel is set up for fantastic views of the SF’s cityscape, the bay, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Pro tip: brave the lines after the sun sets to get a stunning view of artist Leo Villareal’s “Bay Lights” that dance along the entire western span of the Bay Bridge.
There is also plenty for sale, and we suggest bringing a sturdy poster tube to keep any purchases safe. You’ll find a bevy of local graphic artists selling prints of their work—most will keep your tube for you until the end of the day so you don’t have to haul it around.
And be sure to check out the food vendors, featuring some the Bay Area’s best hash slingers. We recommend a hardy portion of chicken and waffles from Little Skillet, a perfect sponge for those drinks you’ll most likely be consuming.