Guinness Oyster & Music Festival successfully makes EDM leap

Photos by Marc Fong ~ Written by Molly Kish, Sean Little & Marc Fong

O’Reilly’s Oysterfest returned to Sharon Meadow June 1st in for the 14th straight year of live music and shellfish indulgence. Catering to a sizeable San Francisco crowd, event sponsors Guinness kept the lively audience saturated while they enjoyed a variety of oysters and impeccable weather amidst the beautiful setting of Golden Gate Park. Running from 11am-6pm, the festival offered ample time to sample, sip and survey the wide array of vendors and musical entertainment.

This year’s line up, straying from the usual indie rock and alternative-dominated bill, incorporated a heavy electronic undercard. Showcasing a block of hard hitting-talent on a second stage (aka the Red Bull dance tent), the Showbams crew rolled deep this past Saturday to cover the festival’s enthusiastic leap into the EDM foray. Amongst main stage headliners DEVO and MuteMath, Oysterfest brought a whole different demographic to the festival this year by inviting dance producers RAC, Bag Raiders, Classixx and more. Molly Kish, Sean Little and Marc Fong were on the scene to witness the aphrodisiac fueled masses co-mingling amidst this year’s talent transition. Here are some reflections on what may be the most successful year to date in the Oysterfest’s 14 year legacy.

View full photo gallery below.

Upon entering the Oysterfest grounds I was pleasantly surprised to see how well laid out the festival itself was and how many people were there nice and early. The first act I caught (after grabbing a Harp – Guinness was the sole sponsor) was Chris Clouse. I had never heard of him before and figured he was just another DJ laying down some songs. His song selection was pleasing – Clouse chose beats that were catchy but not overly saturated or popular. It got really interesting though when he broke out a guitar and electric fiddle at different points, playing them over the tracks he was spinning. The guitar felt a bit odd, mainly because it’s not an instrument you are used to hearing in dance music. This is especially true when it’s being forced into a song that doesn’t contain guitar sounds, but he used it sparingly enough as to not make it annoying. The electric fiddle was great though, and it really added a unique spark. ~Sean Little


Shiny Toy Guns played the festival stage, which had been relocated from its original setting in the Red Bull tent. They commanded the stage in all of their electro glam rock glory, and they sounded great. Chara was as gorgeous as ever, belting out hits as the crowd danced along. The band was pitch perfect and set the tone for the rest of the day’s festivities. Shiny Toy Guns got the audience pumped for an afternoon endurance test that exclusively included the consumption of shellfish, whiskey and Guinness. ~Molly Kish


Up next were the always-pleasing Classixx. Classix had the crowd in a feel-good frenzy from the start, dropping hits like Bondax’s “Baby I got that” and the new track from Tyler Blake’s (half of Classixx) solo project Fingerpaint called “Lunar”. Their vibe and energy fit perfectly into the small second tent in the early afternoon. It was sunny, the crowd wasn’t packed into the tent yet, and everyone was grooving. ~SL


SF was lucky enough to be treated to the electric riffs and progressive beats of the charismatic Mute Math. Their innovative sound rocked the crowd with personality and high-energy. Drummer, Darren King, (with his headphones taped to his head) beat his heart out on the festival stage with the intensity of a charging rhino. Frontman Paul Meany interacted with a fired-up crowd that was ready to party after consuming plenty of oysters and Guinness. ~Marc Fong



Both members of RAC traded off seamlessly on the decks, bringing in one remix after another from their seemingly endless catalogue. I honestly can’t think of many other producing groups that have been so prodigious and consistent at crafting quality remixes for nearly everyone out there. ~SL


The Devo crowd was ever present at the festival, and they added their colorful flare to the mélange of attendees Saturday. Filling the festival meadow with brightly colored “energy domes”, the crowd eagerly participated in the band’s signature antics and dramatic stage show. With over three separate costume changes, various props utilized then dispersed into the crowd and a comic book themed lightshow, Devo managed to keep the weary crowd’s full attention through the final set of the festival. Mark Mothersbaugh even invited the band’s honorary masked member Bouji Boy up on stage for a disturbingly awkward duet highlighted by the release of hundreds of bouncy balls into the audience, punctuating the performance in a drunken frenzy.

The headlining post punk sci-fi enthusiasts provided the perfect level of nonsensical debauchery to capitalize on the obscure nature of the festival and audience that still remained. Sun soaked and heavily marinated, the crowd loved every second of the set which wavered between classic De-Evolutionized hits and brand new tracks off of their first album in 20 years. Oysterfest nailed it when booking this group to close. ~MK


With the sun still shining and a whole night ahead, the crowd dispersed amongst the city in a euphoric state of post Oysterfest bliss. The incorporation of the Red Bull Tent this year, with an EDM bill that easily rivaled its headliners, was a leap of faith on the organizer’s part. It was the perfect addition to bring Oysterfest to a whole new audience and playing field. Here’s hoping this success proves to be a catalyst year for the fesstival, crystalizing the Guinness Oyster and Music Festival standard from here on out.


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