“Actually, you have too much weed in your bag.” I could’ve sworn a security guard had uttered those bizarre and entirely Californian words to the person in front of me as I entered Treasure Island Music Festival for one final day of fun. Yes, bag checks were more thorough than yesterday but as for the sweeping improvements that mark the tail end of most festivals, not a lot had been done to alter the fabric of TIMF.
The fact speaks to the festival’s efficacy and its limits. There’s not a lot to complain about out here on the island, unless you happen to loathe the line-up – in which case, why did you buy a ticket anyway? This isn’t that kind of festival. Perhaps the most frustrating blip on its relatively calm radar was rather amateurish sound issues at the main stage. Janelle Monae threatened to stop her entire set unless her microphone got boosted so fans could hear; this coming after the initial microphone that her hype man was handed not even working in the first place. Still, it took until the middle of her set for levels to even out and a too hot bass to simmer. Similar low levels were heard at the beginning of TV on the Radio’s stellar set as well.
The elephant in the room at Treasure Island was the blighted, abandoned buildings overlooking the festival at very strange junctures. The island’s history is entirely man-made and overflowing with literal and figurative waste: built on a landfill, filled with potentially radioactive waste and few amenities outside of breathtaking views. It appeared that no amount of neighborhood concern could tarnish a festivalgoer’s good time, however. I felt like one of the only people who wondered about the island’s day to day life and whether or not the festival itself does anything more than set up camp near its rocky edge.
Conscientious observations aside, Sunday was the comedown day of the festival – good, bad or otherwise, music was downtempo and fans were scarce by the time Massive Attack took the stage to close things out. SFAppeal’s picks of Chet Faker and the Growlers did not disappoint, nor did Massive Attack, whose elaborate stage show stretched the limits of the festival’s video walls and lighting. The weather was frigid, the Zedd crowd had mellowed, and TIMF wrapped itself up quite neatly with a Massive Attack’s grand finale featuring TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe during the epic (and fitting) “Pray for Rain”. And rain it did today on a Treasure Island that appears as it always does when a music festival isn’t there: its complexities just half a bridge away from Noise Pop and the festivities they brought.