The 15th Annual Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival is happening throughout the month of September on both sides of the Bay. Here is a little history and some highlights to help with all that pesky decision-making.

Jeff Ray, a Bay Area musician and artist, initially began the festival in 1996 to fill what he called a “cultural void” within the city. In the late 90s, San Francisco was a land of new wealth and start-up capital. The dot-com crash had not yet happened and the city was plagued with unrestrained expansion and delusions of grandeur. In many ways, San Francisco and surrounding areas were at the forefront of the technological revolution, and growth on that scale can and will rip the heart and soul from a city.

The times were a changin’. Eyeballs were replaced with dollar signs, rents went sky high, venues closed, people were being forcibly removed from their homes, studios and workspaces. Thankfully people like Ray were there to help pick up the pieces and to a remind a city built upon dreams, creation and celebration that through gathering we are reminded of community, possibility and accomplishment.

That first festival was a one-night only affair, but since then the Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival has grown into a month-long event with shows on both sides of the Bay and incorporating a wide variety of art forms including film, dance, literature and multimedia performance as well as the music we all look forward to. Here are some highlights from this year’s scheduled programming. For a full calendar listing go to the MCMF 2011 website.

Friday, September 9th @ Gamma Space

Branes, Powwow, & Parents

9pm $5-10 All Ages

Saturday, September 10th – Free Music Day in McLaren Park, Jerry Garcia Amphitheater

Spindrift (LA), Sam Flax and Higher Color, Actually (formerly of HARDPLACE), The She’s, Skystone (w/ Paula Frazer) Carletta Sue Kay

11:30 – 8pm FREE All Ages

Thursday, September 22nd – Seaweed Sway and MCMF show @ Amnesia

Dominique Leone, Body Parts (LA), & 3 Leafs

9pm $5 21+

Friday, September 23rd – KUSF Fundraiser @ The New Parish

Extra Action Marching Band, Shake Well, Lloyd Family Players, Inspector Gadjet, & DJ Eagle in Exile Doug

8pm $10-25 Sliding Scale 21+

Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival takes place throughout  September in San Francisco and Oakland. Full event listing on the MCMF website. Ticket prices range from free to $15 but most are $10.