This weekend, Treasure Island Music Festival will kick off two days of EDM and indie acts culminating with top headliners, Atoms For Peace and Beck. Seriously the most fun you can have on an island without being Gilligan because the acts on the bill are making serious buzz on the music scene.
Acts like Haim, Major Lazer, Little Dragon and Phantogram have their own fans in celebrities and elder rock gods; EDM brothers, Disclosure was gracing covers of the music press when their full-length debut album was fairly nascent; and bands like Palma Violets and Japandroids are just living up to the hype by putting on the best rock n’roll shows on festival stages from Byron Bay to the Isle of Wight .
The festival organized by Noise Pop and Another Planet Entertainment takes place on Oct 19 and 20, and is in its seventh year. Less frenetic and smaller than its younger cousin, Outsides Lands but a bill no less packed with top talent it offers only two stages – the Bridge Stage and the Tunnel Stage, meaning no over-lap in set-times. So you can do without the drama of having to choose one band over another, and even sit yourself between the two stages missing nothing.
In an interview, Allen Scott, the Executive VP of APE, which will launch Life Is Beautiful, a new festival in downtown Las Vegas next weekend, discussed the rising popularity of music festivals. Said Scott: "Festivals are a communal and social experience. You are focused on the music but a festival also allows for those unique social moments - it could be sitting on the ferris wheel at sunset, dancing with friends at silent disco or eating good food with strangers. It is old school and harkens back to the old Grateful Dead shows, where your time there went beyond just what was happening on stage."
So will Treasure Island see some of the trimmings that Outside Lands has perfected from Wine Lands to Choco Lands? Explained Scott, "Treasure Island is a boutique music festival. It has a small footprint with about 15,000 people a day compared to 65,000 for OSL. There is not a lot of walking, it is easy and the audience that comes from around the country, appreciate it. That's what makes it special. It's always going to be a boutique affair with great acts performing against a stunning view of Yerba Beuna Island, the Bay Bridge and San Francisco."
The first day traditionally highlights dance music and among the fast-tracked EDM acts are Disclosure who have already remixed tracks by London Grammar, Aluna George, Sasha Keable and Jessie Ware. MIA’s old producers, Major Lazer, riding high with twerking video, “Watch Out For This” which could give Miley Cyrus a twerk lesson or two will be great fun for those lovers of dancehall-led tunes. Swedish electro-pop group Little Dragon’s set is also hotly-anticipated. And the Bay Area is nicely represented with San Jose-rapper Antwon whose Biggie Smalls vibe is ‘90s addictive; while San Francisco’s own Giraffage offers his laid-back brand of dreamy, glitchy synth-pop beats.
The mix bag of indie acts are diverse from Brooklyn noise pop duo, Sleigh Bells to Animal Collective, the experimental band with a psychedelic bent putting out spacey records in the grain of other anti-rock mavericks like Devo. Portland-based electronica band, STRFKR whose name may have prevented them from radio airplay but after 4 albums continue to grow their fanbase. New LA band, Cayucas who have a sometimes Vampire Weekend vibe and others, that of their own kooky beat altogether as seen with summer classic, “High School Lover”. But if big fuzzy guitar sounds is what rocks your boat, see Japandroids who are a band of only two - Brian King on lead vocals and guitar with David Prowse on drums, but produce the biggest sound, so loud that they once got their PA cut off in a festival in Mexico.
"I think this year we have the best line-up yet for Treasure Island," added Scott who is always at the festival gates when it opens, "we have a laser focus with dance-oriented and straight rock acts unlike OSL where it is wide from Hall & Oates to Metallica. We have also blurred the lines a little between dance music and rock this year. But we will build on the vibe and excitement with each act on each stage. And though we have had to book out acts quite far in advance, acts like Disclosure and Haim have really blown up since and will be great to watch on Treasure Island."
To celebrate seven great years of Treasure Island, here are seven bands that you definitely want to be front-and-center for. No matter how much you want to do Silent Disco or get on that ferris wheel, make sure you make a beeline for the stage before these acts come on.