The West Oakland park where the Treasure Island Music Festival happened in 2018 is the subject of a dispute between the Port of Oakland and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), and it's unclear what effect that may have on future events there.
At issue is the use — and the BCDC says abuse — of Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, an infrequently visited waterfront park at the edge of Port property, built on the site of the former Oakland Naval Supply Depot. The park has lovely views of San Francisco, a few trails and picnic areas, but was otherwise not a widely known feature of West Oakland until Noise Pop and Another Planet decided to move the Treasure Island Music fest there last year, following a hiatus in 2017 after the original festival grounds on Treasure Island entered a new redevelopment phase.* That was followed by Goldenvoice bringing the EDM-focused Second Sky Music Festival there in June, and now two more festivals — the All Day I Dream festival in September, and a Halloween Music Festival in October — are scheduled there.
Representatives for the Port of Oakland say these events are "a unique way to attract new visitors" to Middle Harbor Shoreline Park — which sounds like a thinly veiled reference to the fact that no one uses this park. But the BCDC was up in arms after Treasure Island Music Fest happened last fall, with a rep for the group telling the Chronicle's Phil Matier this week, "Even a month after the festival, you could still see the damage that was done to the park's landscape and sprinkler system."
The BCDC apparently has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Port, telling them that the BCDC must approve all upcoming events. The group expresses concern that closing the park means it's inaccessible to West Oakland residents, and that such big events were never intended for the space.
The Port admits that it has been "remiss" in seeking written approvals for the events, but says it did "inform" the BCDC that they were occurring.
The cease-and-desist may not have any teeth — but nevertheless the organizers of the Treasure Island Music Festival have yet to announce that it's actually happening. Google has the dates October 12-13 listed, but those are not reflected on the festival website or Facebook page as of yet. SFist reached out to the festival organizers for clarification, but they have not yet responded.
TIMF, as it's become known, launched in 2007, before the current era of "mega-festivals" became "ingrained" in the music scene, as co-founder Kevin Arnold of Noise Pop told SFist in 2016. Its defining feature, which it maintained through all of its ten years (plus one), was its simple, relaxing setup, with just two stages and no overlapping sets. The two festival days were typically defined by genre groupings, but the ~15,000-person audience typically enjoyed mellow days with a mix of electronic, alterna-pop, and hip-hop artists gracing the stages. As Outside Lands grew into what it's become today, with some 200,000 annual attendees and its enormous footprint in chilly Golden Gate Park, TIMF maintained a loyal following both because of its generally better weather (in October vs. August), and it's low-stress, intimate scale.
Highlights in 2018 included Tame Impala, A$AP Rocky, Sharon Van Etten, Santigold, Courtney Barnett, and Pusha T. Back in 2016, for the 10th anniversary fest, super-wet conditions failed to squelch the fans' excitement for Christine and the Queens, Sigur Ros, and Ice Cube — though a few missed sets due to the weather had some fans crying for refunds.
SFist will update you as soon as we hear if the fest is on again this year, or off again.
*An SFist reader points out that Sunshine People have had monthly summer dance parties in the park for a number of years, and it is hardly unknown to people living in the area.
Photo: Markus Spiering