Treasure Island Music Festival’s Triumphant Return

Cover photo from Kyun Saiidnia

Treasure Island Music Festival returned from its one-year hiatus at a new location in Oakland and it did not disappoint. The venue at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park was more spread out than the festival’s previous location on Treasure Island, and it offered arguably better views of San Francisco and the Bay Bridge. The sun was shining all weekend long, you could sit and look out over the Bay between sets, and there were no overlapping sets so you could see everyone you wanted to see! 

The only drawback to the new location, in my opinion, was the festival was dusty. Festival-goers were wearing bandanas and scarves to try to block the dust, but it was hard to avoid inhaling it. I hope the festival organizers can figure out a solution for next year.

But no amount of dust could ruin this spectacular festival’s return. Check out the artist moments that stole the weekend:

SATURDAY

MOSES SUMNEY HITS THE HIGH NOTES

Photo Credit: Josh Withers

Moses Sumney showed off an impressive vocal range while taking breaks to joke around with the crowd. Throughout the set he used a loop pedal to loop his voice, creating a hypnotic and entrancing sound. He also created beats on the mic with his hand and his three-piece band gave even more depth to his songs with the flute, guitar, drums, and violin. Sumney’s passion was evident on stage, in moments he even slid to his knees to belt out his lyrics. Fans rejoiced when he played past his set time to fit in “Plastic.”

His personality shone through as well. He kicked off his song “Make Out in My Car,” joking “this song is about making out. I’ve never tried it, but I hear it’s great.” He even snorted on stage laughing at one of his own jokes. He was endearing and immensely talented. I have no doubt that he’ll start playing later set times as his fan base begins to grow.

POLO & PAN’S TROPICAL DAYTIME VIBES

Photo Credit: Josh Withers

Polo & Pan perfectly captured the sunny Saturday daytime vibes. The French duo released their first album Caravelle last year and it’s fun, whimsical, and uplifting. Their music has a heavy South American influence with cumbia beats, mixed with French lyrics, and the crowd was feeling it! I felt like we were on a tropical island, with the water lapping nearby, and it was EVERYTHING. I’ve already looked up the next time they’re playing in California and bought my ticket…that’s how much fun they were.

SANTIGOLD AND HER STRAIGHT-FACED DANCERS

Photo Credit: Josh Sanseri

I knew Santigold’s performance was going to be fun before she even came on stage. Brightly colored pom-pom trees decorated the stage with cartoon letters reading Santigold. Santigold came out in a bright red cape with empty water bottles, green mossy patches, and money stuck to it, with bright green hair to match. Mixed with the fun, Santigold’s outfit and cartoon images that played on screen gave a deeper message about the effects of consumerism and corporate greed on our planet.

Saturday’s lineup featured more hip-hop, electronic, dance, and high-energy acts than Sunday, and Santigold fit right in. She was full of energy and had the entire crowd dancing and singing along. Santigold played songs from all her albums, playing “Coo Coo Coo” and “Run the Road” from her newest release I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions, while also playing “L.E.S Artistes,” “Unstoppable,” and “Creator” from her first album Santigold. During her performance, she even invited the crowd on stage to dance during “Creator,” with enthusiastic fans getting on stage and unabashedly throwing their hands in the air.

In addition to Santigold’s phenomenal vocals and spirit, her two dancers dressed in all white tennis outfits, sunglasses, and sweatbands, who danced with straight faces the entire time added to the fun. The crowd got great delight from watching the contrast between the dance moves which were clearly meant to elicit smiles and the dancers’ serious demeanors.

SILK CITY GETS FUNKY

Photo Credit: Josh Withers

Silk City was groovy, funky, and fun. Mark Ronson and Diplo collaborate well on stage and the crowd was not afraid to dance! Having only debuted their collaboration in June, I get that Mark Ronson and Diplo wanted the fans to know who they were, but I couldn’t help hoping they had better visuals than their names circling on screen for most of the show. The crowd loved when they played their hit “Electricity” featuring Dua Lipa and “Feel About You” featuring Mapei. It was a great show that got people pumped before the rap artists ended the festival Saturday night.

SUNDAY

COURTNEY BARNETT TELLING IT HOW IT IS  

Photo Credit: Josh Withers

Courtney Barnett showed off her quirky, no fucks given attitude perfectly in her performance late Sunday afternoon. Singing hits like “Avant Gardener,” “I’m Not Your Mother, I’m Not Your Bitch,” and “Crippling Self Doubt and a General Lack of Self Confidence,” Barnett rocked out on stage while shredding the guitar, and the crowd was rocking out right there with her.

LORD HURON PLAYING VIDE NOIR

Photo Credit: Josh Withers

Lord Huron was a trip! I came in expecting a pretty mellow set, maybe even sitting on a blanket, but man was I wrong. They fused indie, folk, and Americana and got the whole crowd dancing in glee. Lead singer, Ben Schneider, gallivanted jubilantly across the stage while playing jammers from Vide Noir. Then he mellowed things out a bit with a “Ends of the Earth,” a Kenny Chesney song.

JUNGLE GETTING THE CROWD GROOVING

Photo Credit: Josh Withers

Hot damn! Jungle got the crowd moving and grooving to their funky beats! With bongo drums and soulful singing, the seven-piece band shimmied and boogied on stage and the crowd shimmied and boogied right back. Jungle was absolutely the danciest set of the day and as people began drifting over to Tame Impala, many stopped to shake it out to one last song, not ready to let the good vibes go.

OVERALL

Photo Credit: Ann Hodge

Treasure Island was absolutely incredible! The location, the production, and organization were all on point! I will absolutely be going back next year!

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