One of the greatest things about living in San Francisco is that the city’s love for music seems like it’s woven into the air. Where other cities rely on a few venues to carry the music, SF is a place where art and creativity truly are part of our culture, and in this cycle of music and celebration, the summer has a very special place, with singers and songs finding a home in the city and the natural world. Every summer, we get a whole range of festivals, from the world-famous Outside Lands to the Union Street Festival, and this year was no different. Here’s a round-up of the best of San Francisco’ festival scene this summer.
The North Beach Festival
SF natives know that over the years, this festival has become inextricably linked with life in the city. The North Beach Festival, which is one of the oldest musical celebrations in San Francisco and among its original outdoor festivals, celebrated its 64thanniversary in June this year, in the characterful, story-soaked streets of the city of North Beach. Along with two music stages, seeing performances from local acts SMF and Latin funk rockers Bautista, and a whole pottery line-up including Teague Kernan and Cara Vida, the festival had arts and crafts booths, gourmet food stalls, Italian street painting, beverage gardens, and even a kids’ chalk art area. Community festivals can sometimes struggle, but the combination of the weather, the vibe and the community around the festival made this a special event, a jewel in the summertime.
From the community to the big show. Outside Lands is justifiably famous – it may only be a decade old, but it’s become a huge stop for acts on the West Coast in the summertime. This year saw Scottish synth heroes Chvrches finally get on stage, while Australian rocker Tash Sultana, with her incredible energy levels, had the crowd up and dancing into the night. With Florence + the Machine continuing the British invasion, the show brought the best of the world to SF; and as Florence asked the crowd to put their phones away and enjoy and experience the music completely, we were reminded about the power live music has to bring people together into a truly amazing experience.
The Fillmore Jazz Festival
The Fillmore is one of San Francisco’s classic venues; and in the summer, it hosts a celebration of summer days and nights with jazz music for company. The Fillmore Jazz Festival is one of San Francisco’s favorite celebrations, and this year’s theme was ‘throwback,’ and it was a joyous revisiting of the 1990’s jazz boom in the city. With performers like Marshall Arts, Alphabet Soup, Jungle Biskit, and Kim Nalley returning to SF, the festival felt like a nostalgic reunion, a place for old friends to remember – and recreate – the city that was, in the spirit of today.
If you’re going to be in or around San Francisco next summer, keep an eye on the festival plans for the city; San Francisco always puts on its best clothes for a party, and it’s something special every time.