Highs and Lows from Treasure Island Music Festival 2016 + Free James Blake Show

What a range of emotions endured by Treasure Island Music Festival attendees! The weather made it difficult on everyone, causing lots of frustration. However, there were still some bright spots. We look forward to seeing how the event’s organizers respond to the aftermath. The festival concluded its last year on island, which was unfortunately marred by the turbulent weather and numerous schedule changes.

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Check out our round-up below of the good times and the bad from the two-day festival, the last one ever on Treasure Island. Good riddance after all the weekend’s chaos, but after all is said and done, at least there were still some positive vibes and memories. Also, as a sign of good faith, Treasure Island Music Festival organizers just announced a free James Blake show for all festival ticket holders tonight at Fox Theatre in Oakland.


Instagram Credit: @fancyphotosbyestefancy

Instagram Credit: @fancyphotosbyestefancy

The Headliners – Ice Cube and Sigur Rós

Despite headliner Ice Cube having to reschedule from 9:25pm to 11pm, he was totally worth waiting out the rain and staying until the end. The South Central rapper, who can arguably call the Bay Area his second home, played in front of a giant Oakland raiders backdrop and spent his hour-long performance dropping knowledge ’til midnight.

Instagram Credit: @mucci314

Instagram Credit: @mucci314

Icelandic post-rock and ambient trio Sigur Rós performed an eerie, final set of the weekend. It was the band’s first festival performance as a trio. Their incredible sounds combined with even more impressive lightning resulted in a dreamy, reflective experience.

Glass Animals

The British quartet had arguably the strongest showing on the main stage all weekend. Their set was high energy with lots of funky dance beats. They engaged and embraced the crowd, thanking everyone for enduring the elements to see them. “I thought I’d come dressed as the sun,” said lead singer Dave Bayley wearing a colorful shirt. He, with the help of his band-mates, cruised through new and old hits like “Gooey,” “The Other Side of Paradise,” “Season 2 Episode 3,” and closing with “Pools.”

Instagram Credit: @tubzmcguyver

Instagram Credit: @tubzmcguyver

Sylvan Esso

Easily one of the best performances from the weekend, and the two-person band agreed, proclaiming, it was “the best last show of the year any band could ask for.” There was only a light drizzle of rain during their set, which included their essential hits “H.S.K.T,” “Coffee,” and “Hey Miami.” The gyrating lights above the stage combined with the bassy, sonic undertones, plus the pleasant return of illuminated jellyfish floating in the crowd, made for a super surreal environment. Sylvan Esso ended their set with their new song “Radio,” which had a pulsating, rave-like beat that kept the crowd warm as they bounced up and down.

Instagram Credit: @thisisht

Instagram Credit: @thisisht


Ambient music project Tycho might just be the true hero of the weekend. Led by San Francisco’s Scott Hansen, the group played a stunning Sunday late afternoon set with only a brief downpour. The massive visuals on the three big screens warmed all the observers. They warrant massive kudos for their visually appealing set on Sunday, followed by a return to the main stage later in the evening for an impromptu DJ set while fans were waiting for James Blake to perform, who eventually cancelled.


The one act that did not let the rain ruin the parade was Oakland rapper Kamaiyah, who ended up playing two sets on Saturday after Young Thug was delayed. She brought the house down with dope raps in a poncho and performed for almost an hour along with some hype men who all did their best to keep the crowd amused.

The Polish Ambassador

Oakland based electronic act played an extra long DJ set Saturday on the Tunnel stage. This was much appreciated after the scheduling delays first started rearing its head. The crowd enjoyed Polish’s mix of both originals and covers while shielding themselves from whirling winds.

Credit: Kristina Bakrevski

Credit: Kristina Bakrevski

The Attendees

Anyone who stuck it out during the rain storms deserves a high-five and a few hugs. There were plenty of fans who dressed accordingly with strong rain-gear, while others embraced the elements in alternative outfits such as animal onesies and shorts. There was even friendly camaraderie during the worst downpours. Given everything that went awry, a special shout out for the attendees is much deserved.

Efficient Transportation

The shuttles were kind of the saving grace of the weekend. Even though there was no parking on the island for the first time this year, using the shuttle buses was painless thanks to dozens of buses cycling through at all times. Even the pickup/drop-off area for Uber/Lyft/taxis was easily accessible.


Schedule Changes and Cancellations

James Blake, Duke Dumont, and Flight Facilities all cancelled their performances due to unsafe conditions on the stage. Young Thug showed up three hours late due to “weather-related travel issues.” The big screens and festival Twitter account frequently displayed “revised schedule coming” throughout the weekend, making it nearly impossible to predict when shows would start.

Duke Dumont vented his frustrations, claiming that organizers were not prepared for the weather and threatened artists if they didn’t perform even though conditions were hazardous. Flight Facilities arrived prepared to play, but the event producers felt conditions at the time were too dangerous.

Even one of the acts, How to Dress Well, wasn’t having it, griping on Instagram “… the fest did a sh—t job accommodating everyone, especially htdw” adding on Twitter, “Wish we could’ve stayed on that stage forever treasure island” after they only played for 30 minutes with 6-channel sound instead of the expected 28 channels.

Credit:  Kristina Bakrevski

Credit: Kristina Bakrevski

Weather Conditions

“I always like walking in the rain, so no one can see me crying.” ― Charlie Chaplin. Sideways, torrential rain and 20+ MPH winds created a beyond-rough climate. Strong winds caused a tent that housed ATMs to blow over, equipment to topple on a festival employee, and even a vending machine falling on a woman. Flooding throughout the festival grounds made it very hard to navigate without getting soaked.

Instagram Credit: @marleystreats

Instagram Credit: @marleystreats

Location and Layout

The Bay Bridge was a decent backdrop, but not nearly as special as the San Francisco skyline like the nine previous festivals. The Ferris Wheel, silent disco area, and vendor booths were located on the pier, which had to be closed Saturday because of the winds. Hopefully the new venue location and layout beginning next year will be much more accommodating.

Written by Carlos Olin Montalvo

Follow me @carlosolin