This past weekend's inaugural Portola Music Festival — which was not in the Portola neighborhood but over on Pier 80 — was a well attended debut with a ton of great EDM acts, crowd-control issues notwithstanding.
The headlines after Saturday's Day One of the festival were all about a single, not especially dramatic incident of gate-storming at one of the festival's four stages. It was the only stage that was enclosed in a building, and organizers' plan for crowd management and capacity limiting seemed to be all about utilizing a single entry point and just a couple of exits in what was a massive, airplane-hangar-sized space that could have accommodated many more points of ingress and egress.
There was some pushing, and some people stuck in the middle of the herd at the main entrance likely got pretty uncomfortable for a minute, but no one was injured in the incident. Others were hopping barricades to go in the other out doors, rather than fight the huge crowd at the main door. And as SFist earlier reported, once inside the warehouse, festival-goers found a huge amount of empty space and plenty of room to gather to watch Charli XCX, leading them to question why security personnel had been holding the main door in the first place. The zig-zag maze to enter was also probably not the wisest thing given how many people were wanting to get in at once — and hopefully organizers rethink this entire Warehouse Stage setup before this festival happens again.
Organizers addressed the issue in a statement to Billboard saying, "There was a minimal, isolated issue with a festival stage entrance yesterday. This occurred within the confines of the grounds and was quickly addressed and corrected. There were no reported injuries and the festival continued for another six hours without incident.”
On Day Two, the setup remained as-is, but the crowds for acts like Kelly Lee Owens and Lane 8 were clearly not as impatient or massive as those for Fred Again and Charli XCX the day before.
Other acts like James Blake and Toro y Moi sounded great on the outdoor Pier Stage after the sun went down, and the legendary Bay Area native DJ Shadow brought the house down in a late-afternoon set. Chicago-based duo DRAMA did a terrific and bouncy set in the Ship Tent. The Blessed Madonna and Peggy Gou had rollicking DJ sets at the Crane Tent before Four Tet and Floating Points closed things out.
And many attendees were there for the Chemical Brothers, who put on an amazing set with stunning visuals on the Pier Stage.
@djshadow at @PortolaFestival #portolafestival pic.twitter.com/yowMkDDJ3j— Its good to be the king (@allthingsfelipe) September 26, 2022
WOW @ChemBros !!! pic.twitter.com/h2c9iGa4Np— Franki Chan (@frankichan) September 26, 2022
Words or videos cannot express the spectacle that is is the chemical brothers live set. Truly out of this world pic.twitter.com/dB9g1Dlg3V— Rohit Sharma (@rnsharma) September 26, 2022
There was a bit more bad press before the weekend was out, with KRON4 and others reporting on noise complaints on the island of Alameda, which sits directly across the Bay from the festival pier.
"I kept thinking it was cars going by with music booming in their car then I would open the window and then it would go away and then I closed the window and I thought, was it the TV? Then, I’d turn the TV off and I would hear it again," says Alameda resident Mary Lou Krauland, speaking to KRON4.
The festival went on until 11 p.m. both nights, which meant some late boom-booming for some residents who wanted to turn in before then.
"Eventually I fell asleep," Krauland told the station.
We haven't yet had word from the organizers about how many attendees were at the Portola Festival, but it was likely a significant number — bigger than the Treasure Island Music Festival of yore, but likely not as big as Outside Lands, which sees about 80,000 attendees in a single day, though it might have come close.
Previously: Photos: Portola Festival Debuts With Spectacular Shows, But Very Messy Crowd Management