Since 2007, Treasure Island Music Festival has been a welcome alternative to the over the top, wallet draining big ticket festivals that dominate the headlines throughout the summer months. With all that this two-day festival has to offer, it’s no wonder that it has been exploding in popularity in recent years. Love scenery? Treasure Island provides an absolutely sensational backdrop with its panoramic views of the city, Alcatraz, and both of the Bay’s iconic bridges. Hate trying to navigate multiple stages and only catching a portion of your favorite acts? With a focus on quality over quantity, this festival only has one performer onstage at a time, so if you’re there from open to close, you will see every single artist on the lineup! Feeling that festival fatigue? TIMF’s low-key atmosphere, coupled with the Bay Area’s notoriously mild “late summer” weather, is surely the best way to decompress after three month’s worth of debauchery.
As always, the lineup at Treasure Island this year is full of must-see artists, with an emphasis on electronic and hip hop on Saturday, and then rock and indie groups on Sunday. While each and every performance should not be missed, below you can find our preview of some artists who are making their TIMF debut in 2015:
Due to a last-minute cancellation by Robyn, Tahliah Barnett–better known by her stage name, FKA Twigs–will now be taking the mic at one of the later slots. And while Robyn’s shoes are some mighty big ones to fill, don’t let Ms. Barnett’s small stature fool you, as it belies her enormous onstage presence. Like a caterpillar that transforms right before your eyes, FKA’s sets are as beautifully and elegantly crafted as a butterfly. Possessing a voice that is thin and wispy but still stands so strong against the elaborate background of her outfits, dancers and sets, her performances are magnificent works of art that are as memorizing as they are energetic. And despite being only breaking out a few years ago, she has already positioned herself as one of the most distinctive sounds in R&B music by putting an experimental and complex twist on a genre rooted in tradition. Two EPs and a full-length album under her belt, she now has the attention of the entire world. Make sure you give her your full attention on Saturday night.
These days, it’s rare to see any music festival without an EDM artist on somewhere near the top of its bill, and to satisfy the desires of its growing audience, TIMF has locked in a few gems this year. In addition to Deadmau5, who is headlining Saturday night, we have to give some major props to Norwegian up-and-comer Cashmere Cat, who graciously adds some future bass and hip hop styling to the lineup. Cashmere Cat is fairly new to the electronic music scene, yet has already worked with big names like Lido and Benny Blanco as well as Miguel, Tinashe and even Ariana Grande, who had him open for her world tour, putting his name out there in the pop-world vortex. And her choice in an opening act couldn’t have been better, because Cashmere Cat is the kind of artist that can sample a pan flute and make it resonate over an earthy, chilled-to-the-max tune, and just a second later come heavy with the scorching bass in a full-on trap monster..just in case you forgot what the D in “EDM” stood for. Cashmere will be the cat before the mau5 on Saturday!
Local SF celebrity and self-proclaimed “Sultan of Summer,” Viceroy will be bringing his uniquely breezy brand of tropical house and disco to TIMF on Saturday afternoon. Known best for his “Jet Life” remix series, which breathed fresh life into classic jams like Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” and Big Willy Style’s “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” Viceroy has been incredibly busy the past few years despite the relaxed image that he projects. To date, he has received over 5 million Soundcloud plays, and official remix credits for some of the biggest artists in the industry, including Lady Gaga, Maroon 5, R.Kelly, Passion Pit, Two Door Cinema Club, and St Lucia. Viceroy and islands were made for each other, so make sure you get to TIMF on time to see him!
TIMF has outdone itself this year in its ability to present musical taste from a multitude of genres, as well as its uncanny ability to merge fresh and veteran talent alike before an equally diverse crowd. The four-piece indie collaboration Deerhunter is the perfect representation of such, as they have now been active for over 10 years, and all that time spent on stages across the country shines through in their performances. While conceptually it might seem somewhat contradictory, their mellow, smooth rhythms and vocals somehow mesh perfectly with the Sonic Youth-inspired, noise rock aesthetics which landed them firmly in the middle of the second day of TIMF, with neither element overpowering the other. The end result is a really great, relaxed vibe that will hit the spot after a hard couple days of dancing, and which will provide that necessary second wind for the second round of headliners, including The National, on Sunday night.
After a disappointing last minute cancellation at Outside Lands in 2014, Chvrches will return to the Bay Area festival scene with their debut TIMF performance on Sunday. The Scottish synth-pop trio recently released their second self-produced full length album, Every Open Eye. Although the comparison to other electronica bands featuring female vocalists is obvious (i.e. Purity Ring, Phantogram, MS MR, etc.), Chvrches’ sophomore effort offers a polished take on the ever-expanding genre. Known for vocalist Lauren Mayberry’s angelic voice and their high-energy synth melodies, Chvrches will provide one last opportunity to dance and smile at TIMF before the National closes out the festival with their exquisite brand of tortured despair.
Although this is not Josh Tilman’s first time performing at TIMF, this will be his first time performing at the festival under the moniker Father John Misty. Following his former tenure as the drummer for the indie band Fleet Foxes, Tilman has made considerable waves in the folk scene in his capacity as a solo artist. Perhaps equally known for his satirical stage bravado as his introspective songwriting, Tilman has created an experience that can only be described as strangely beautiful. Although his semi-dry folk style is not for everyone, Tilman’s humorous take on our self-obsessed culture is certain to be a highlight on Sunday.
In addition to the slew of artists making their debut at the ninth annual festival, this year’s TIMF will also feature, for the very first time, a stand up comedy tent with a lineup co-curated by Funny Or Die! With all the fresh content that TIMF is bringing to the Bay Area next weekend, you’d be remiss not to get your tickets as soon as you can right here.
(Many thanks to Chriskol and Lindsey K. for their contributions to this article!)