The City Sings, We Dance: Fall SF Music Festivals

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With the start of school behind us and the weight of homework on our backs, summer is officially over.  Usually that means music festival season has ended, but there’s good news—San Francisco has plenty of festivals and mini-fests coming your way and there’s something for everyone!  Whether you’re a dancer, headbanger, shoegazer, wallflower or crowd surfer, there’s a music festival that is sure to strike your fancy.  Stop straining your ears to hear the faint beats of last summer and tune in to all that fall has to offer.

Taking over Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park is this year’s 9th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.  The three-day festival, spanning from Oct. 2-4, boasts five stages of eclectic music.  The name says it all; the lineup will include popular acts from an array of genres such as bluegrass, folk, indie, rock, hip hop, etc.  Headliners to watch out for on Friday are MC Hammer and Tom Morello’s solo act, The Nightwatchmen.  Standouts for Saturday’s lineup include indie-folk rockers Okkervil River and the always energetic Old 97’s.  Sunday features sets from Billy Bragg, Neko Case, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, and many others.  This unique event is free to the public, making it perfect for the budget conscious student!

Oct. 3 people are coming together for LovEvolution.  Formerly known as Love Fest, the name has “evolved” due to confusion with another music festival with a similar name.  Despite the new name, the music, dance, costumes and parade are here to stay.  For anyone new to SF, this is not an event to be missed!  From the costumes to the floats to the non-stop dance party—LovEvolution brings the party to the city.  The parade, which makes its way through Downtown and ends in front of City Hall, features mostly electronic music.  This year the lineup features Deadmau5, Groove Armada, Fischerspooner, Eddie Halliwell and many more.  Dress up and don’t be shy, there’s bound to be someone dressed up weirder than you.

Something new to San Francisco is this year’s Part Time Punks mini-fest.  This event derives from the Los Angeles’ club event Part Time Punks that takes place at the Echo every Sunday night.  The club hosts live acts as well as dj sets that feature obscure and classic post punk, new wave, indie pop and shoegaze tunes. The mini-fest will give us San Francisco kids a taste of what Part Time Punks is all about.  Bands to check out include the all female new wave/punk band The Raincoats, the U.K. post punk/new wave band Section 24 and SF’s very own lo-fi/surf/psychedelic band Grass Widow, just to name a few.  The event takes place Oct. 9 at the Mezzanine.

Oct. 5 Thee Parkside hosts the 2nd Annual Frisco Freakout.  Dubbed the “psychedelic dance party 2009,” Frisco Freakout is a unique festival to check out.  The all-day, all-ages event will host small bands with big hazy sounds, fitting perfectly into the genre of psychedelic rock.  This year’s lineup includes Liquorball, Wooden Shjips, Lumerians, Barn Owl, Citay, Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound, 3 Leafs and more to be announced.  Local band Lumerians are sure to play a great set.  They’ve only released a five-song EP, but their shows are filled with energy and they create a dark and spacey atmosphere…it is quite the experience.

Last but not least, Treasure Island Music Festival returns for its third year.  The highly anticipated festival takes place over two days, giving fans two very different lineups.  Saturday Oct. 17 brings headliners MGMT, MSTRKRFT and Girl Talk for the electronic/dance crowd, while Sunday Oct. 18 features headliners The Flaming Lips, The Decemberists, and Beirut for the all the indie rockers out there.  This festival aims to please by separating the two lineups by genre, eliminating the chaos involved in trying to decide who you’d rather see.  In addition to the sweet tunes, the festival will also have local crafters, poster artists, designers, a variety of nonprofit organizations and eco awareness groups.

So if the colder weather and fuller agenda have got you feeling a bit blue, cheer up because San Francisco’s music scene will never let you down!

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