Brooke Duthie

Coachella and Outside Lands may corner all the buzz, but this Bay Area event is the one to watch.

October 13, 2015

To call the Treasure Island Music Festival by its name is to do it injustice—music may be billed as the main attraction, but there’s so much more. Since its inaugural show in 2007, the team behind the increasingly popular festival have made it a point to cut through the cacophony that plagues its competitors (too many stages, too many people, all your favorite bands playing at the same time) and offer a more personal, curated experience.

To start, they cap attendance at 18,000—a noticeable difference in crowds when you compare it to the 60,000 people who rolled through San Francisco each day in August for the city’s other mega music festival, Outside Lands, or the 90,000 who traipsed through the desert during this year’s Coachella.

The lineup is limited to 13 bands each day with no overlapping sets, so you don’t need to bring a Xanax to cope with the anxiety of choosing between your favorite artists. Headliners this year include The National and Deadmau5, as well as The War on Drugs and Big Grams.

Treasure Island increasingly is stretching its boundaries beyond music, this year introducing a new comedy tent. The festival teamed up with local organization Funny Or Die to offer The Blah Blah Blah tent as an entertaining break from the music and dancing, with stand-up comedy—including Jonah Ray, the co-host of the popular Nerdist Podcast and The Meltdown on Comedy Central; comedian Jermaine Fowler; and Jerrod Carmichael of the new NBC series The Carmichael Show.

There’s also art installations, a giant Ferris wheel, a silent disco party, and a view for watching the sun set behind the San Francisco skyline that’s fairly unmatched. The festival takes place this week on October 17 and 18; as a final advantage to going, complimentary shuttle pick-up from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco to and from the festival site is included with all tickets.

Jenna Scatena is on the San Francisco Bay Area beat for Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram

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