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Treasure Island Music Festival canceled over bay conservation fight

Evicted from Treasure Island, annual concert festival derailed by fight between bay guardian group and Port of Oakland

A band playing onstage at Treasure Island, with the San Francisco skyline silhouetted in the sunset behind them.
Dr. Dog at the 2008 Treasure Island Music Festival.
Photo by Tyler Love

On Monday, Another Planet Entertainment (APE), organizers of the Treasure Island Musical Festival, announced they are canceling the 2019 concert fest. And it’s not clear when—or if—the festival will occur again.

A message on the festival site reads, “the 2019 festival will not happen and is on hiatus for the foreseeable future.”

The organizers put some of the blame on the fact that, although the festival still bears the Treasure Island name, it no longer takes place on the island.

Festival organizers note that “bringing the festival back to life last year following the relocation was a massive undertaking, but with the new issues facing the site location” there’s no way to go ahead.

In 2016, festival organizers blamed new housing development on the island for the loss of its longtime venue. While the 2017 festival didn’t happen, APE pulled together a 2018 lineup at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland, the first since departing Treasure Island.

The cancellation statement doesn’t specify what “new issue” the concerts faced in Oakland, but this appears to be a reference to ongoing conflicts with the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC).

The body, tasked with protecting the bay from environmental damage, has long been at loggerheads with the Port of Oakland over events at Middle Harbor park, alleging that the port violated an agreement to get BCDC’s sign-off on major events at the park.

In July, the conservation commission issued a cease and desist order attempting to block any major gatherings at the venue, which seems to have scuttled this year’s concert schedule.

The Treasure Island Music Festival is a free two-day concert first held in 2007, headlined by Modest Mouse and Thievery Corporation.

A 2019 lineup had not yet been announced.