Hey, everybody! It's time once again for everybody's favorite, non-shitshow-y music event in the middle of San Francisco Bay, the Treasure Island Music Festival. Despite there being not a lot of room for getting lost, and easy transportation to and from, it is still possible to screw this up or to get so wasted on smuggled booze that you sleep through the Outkast set. So, allow me to offer some handy words of wisdom, since I've been to one or two of these things.
First, There Are Still Tickets
Single day and two-day passes are still available if you're still on the fence.
The free shuttle buses will be departing all day from Bill Graham Auditorium in Civic Center. This means easy access from BART and Muni, via the Civic Center BART station a few blocks away. (Here's a map to Bill Graham Auditorium at 99 Grove Street.) The Bike Valet will also be located at Bill Graham, so you can leave your ride safely downtown.
Note that there's no parking on the island unless you spring for the extra parking passes, which are
$30 $40 per day.
Regarding Cabs And Ridesharing Apps
No one's stopping you from getting an Uber SUV to bring you and six friends to the island in style. But seriously, the shuttles are really easy, and frequent.
Optimal Arrival Times
Shuttle lines are worst in the mid-afternoon around 2 to 3 p.m. We recommend beating the lines by heading out to the island early and setting up shop on a blanket gates open at 11 a.m. and the music starts at noon both days. You'll thank yourself when you catch early sets by Painted Palms and Cathedrals. One of the best parts about the TIMF is that you really can't miss any of the acts if you set yourself up halfway between the Tunnel stage on the West side facing the city and the main Bridge stage at the end of the grounds. Just remember, when things start getting crowded, your space is no longer sacred.
The Weather May Have Some Nasty Mood Swings
The forecast calls for low 70s today and clear skies, with similar conditions on Sunday, however temperatures will drop after sundown, particularly on Sunday. So, absolutely bring an extra layer, and shorts or skirts might not be the best idea if you're in it for the long haul. The No Flip-Flops Rule is still in effect. [Ed. note: It is always in effect.]
Bring Water, Snacks, and Your Favorite Beach Blanket
While there are food options available out on the island, outside food isn't explicitly banned so you're welcome to bring your own nibbles. Note that large coolers and picnic baskets are prohibited, however, so keep that stuff in your backpack or purse. Blankets and towels are crucial (see above). Also, in our experience there's always more than enough room to spread out on the festival grounds.
Everybody's allowed to bring in two factory-sealed water bottles. Be sure to stock up.
Beers Are Still Too Expensive
This is a fact of music-festival life. That said, no one actually buys those frozen lemonades for any reason other than mixing with their smuggled vodka.
A Public Service Announcement About Controlled Substances
We probably shouldn't have to point this out each time a music festival comes around, but there will be some revelers who (surprise!) have consumed controlled substances. We'd like to take this moment to remind anyone considering such chemically-enhanced enjoyment to do so responsibly. Tagging along with a less narcotically-inclined friend is ideal, especially for you drug rookies.
Check out the Silent Disco on the East side of the festival grounds always a good place to trip out for a little bit. Or find a nice spot on the grass to take a nap while XXYYXX is on. Or step away from the music entirely whip up some hand sewn beer koozies and flower crowns at Camp DIY, put on by our friends at Workshop SF, and then catch the sunset over the San Francisco skyline from the top of the ferris wheel. ALSO, take not: San Francisco’s famed Trumpet Kid will be playing the Bandwagon Stage on Sunday.
Getting Home Is Annoying
The cattle herding to get on the shuttles is always a good 20-30 minute wait, even if you dip out before the end of the last set. Embrace the line, make friends with your fellow line-waddlers; it's all part of the experience.
Cabs do show up on the island to pick up impatient folks. However, you'll have to walk out of the festival grounds and past the shuttle line to find them. On a related note: this is another opportunity to try out those ridesharing apps, but keep in mind drivers might not be psyched to go out to Treasure Island on a busy Saturday night in town.
Come Back On Sunday
Don't be that guy who pounds enough $8 beers to end up with a debilitating hangover come Sunday morning. It's a two-day affair, folks. Keep your stamina up. And, as always, drink plenty of water.
Andrew Dalton contributed to this guide.