Members of the LGBTQ+ and fetish communities who are also fans of electronic music will be thrilled to know that the second annual Portola Festival is happening the weekend after Folsom Street Fair weekend.
Last year's first outing for the Portola Fest was not without its problems, though for some in the LGBT community in particular it made for a series of Sophie's choices, with all the pre-Folsom Sunday parties happening that weekend, and Folsom Street Fair itself. That won't be an issue this year — although Castro Street Fair will be conflict this time.
The Portola Fest Instagram account came back alive a couple days ago with a weird teaser post. And on Wednesday, promoter Goldenvoice announced this year's dates: September 30 and October 1, and the fest will apparently be returning to Pier 80.
Almost immediately, one commenter, local DJ Bradley Portnoy, asked the organizers, "What are you doing to improve the experience? Last year you literally ran out of food in the VIP areas, had atrocious crowd management, and no plan for ingress or egress to the festival to speak of."
Goldenvoice has not yet responded.
For the first year of Portola Fest, things did, indeed, feel a bit disorganized, and one stage inside the airplane-hangar-sized warehouse on the pier was a particular choke point for crowd management. At one point on Saturday, a potentially dangerous stampede occurred at the one designated entry door after security staff were oddly trying to hold the door before one popular act went on, Charli XCX.
That turned out to be an isolated incident, and no one was injured, and most of the weekend went more smoothly — though there were also some reported issues with the line at the entrance, and the above-mentioned food shortage in VIP. (Also, the sound inside that warehouse was ridiculously bad.)
And though there were no major incidents, that didn't stop plenty of online chatter from occurring that made the entire festival sound like a shitshow, which it was not. In fact, the fanbase of the acts booked skewed a little older and wiser than your average day at Outside Lands, and people were generally pretty well behaved.
We still don't know what the lineup will be for the second attempt in 2023 — and it's unclear if Goldenvoice intends to do early-bird tickets before announcing the lineup, a la Outside Lands, or maybe both the regular ticket sale and the lineup announcement will just happen together next week. For a new fest like this, the latter probably makes more sense.
Follow Portola Fest on Instagram for the next update.