Sep 27, 2022 - News

Portola Music Festival: Good music, questionable logistics

Photo: Flume performs at Portola.  Photo Darcy Johnson (AEG Presents IT)

Flume performs at Portola. Photo: Darcy Johnson/AEG Presents IT

The inaugural Portola Music Festival attracted thousands of attendees over the weekend who descended on Pier 80 in the Dogpatch to see headliners like Flume, Jamie XX and the Chemical Brothers.

Why it matters: The festival was held shortly after Salesforce's Dreamforce wrapped up, offering another opportunity for the city to rebound from its economic woes driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Details: The two-day event was organized by Golden Voice, the same group behind Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

  • Portola largely featured electronic artists.

Yes, but: The event faced some criticism over noise and crowd management.

  • Residents in Noe Valley, Castro, Twin Peaks, and even across the Bay Bridge in Oakland and Alameda, complained about the noise, with some saying it was "shockingly loud," SF Gate reports.
  • On Saturday, video of festivalgoers climbing fences to get to a stage went viral.

What they're saying: "The entrances and exits to the warehouse stage were super dangerous and poorly planned,” Portola Festival attendee Tom Consolazio tweeted on Saturday. "What happened?!"

The other side: "There was a minimal, isolated issue with a festival stage entrance on Saturday," a spokesperson for Goldenvoice/AEG said in a statement to Axios.

  • "This occurred within the confines of the grounds and was quickly addressed and corrected. There were no injuries reported to Medical as a result of this issue. The festival continued for another 6 hours on day one and the entirety of day two without incident."

Be smart: The name of the festival is a nod to the 1909 Portola Festival designed to "celebrate the rebirth" of San Francisco and show it was ready for tourists and large-scale events following the 1906 earthquake, per Open SF History.

  • Of course, that event did not feature electronic music artists, instead, it hosted parades down Market Street, a carnival and fireworks.

What we're watching: The city's economic recovery.


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