SF Oysterfest 2017 serves up a stacked lineup of electronic-tinged indie pop

SF Oysterfest 2017Photos by Lisette Worster // Written by Chandler Kirkman //

Oysterfest Music Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
July 1st, 2017 //

Fourth of July weekend was just beginning when the 18th annual Oysterfest Music Festival opened its gates in Golden Gate Park. It was a warm day in SF with a slight breeze that led into a beautiful summer day filled with live music, delicious oysters and positive vibes.

Panic Is Perfect got things started on the main stage around 11 a.m., setting the tone for the day with songs like “You’re Alive” and “Go Go Go”. Crowds of all ages walked into Sharon Meadow and found some open space on the grassy fields with blankets and inflatable air loungers before digging into the fresh, succulent oysters that were being sold by dozens of local eateries.

This year’s great attractions included the annual “Shuck & Suck” contest, a silent disco, a live art exhibit, a photo booth, vendors and cooking demos.

Not to mention, the music lineup featured five of the finest artists in electronic indie pop and rock between Panic Is Perfect, The Soft White Sixties, Sir Sly, KONGOS and Passion Pit.

2017 SF Oysterfest Music Festival - Passion Pit

Passion Pit

The afternoon was filled with The Soft White Sixties’ sultry rock as they played songs like “Up to the Light” and “Sorry to Say” before Los Angeles-based indie-pop trio Sir Sly took over and filled the air with their infectious pop hooks.

As the day went on, the crowd enjoyed fresh oysters and the Guinness kept flowing. The city’s young and beautiful crowd indulged in the social scene and the vendor options between sets. When KONGOS took the stage, the crowd was feeling good and it showed as music lovers sang along and danced throughout the set, which included a few of their hit tracks such as “Come With Me Now” and “I’m Only Joking”.

For the final act of the day, President of O’Reilly’s Productions Myles O’Reilly introduced the festival’s headliner, Passion Pit, and the crowd went wild. Frontman Michael Angelakos and his band of Bostonians brought in the cool breeze coming off the SF bay with their collection of electronic-pop songs that included hit singles “Sleepyhead” and “Little Secrets”. Audience members were engaged, rocking out to the Cambridge band’s closing set as another Oysterfest came to an end.

Oysterfest is a hidden treasure in SF’s festival scene as a consistently fun and friendly event. It truly has it all: great live music, food, drinks and a ticket price that is just right. So, what’s not to love?

Oysterfest 2015 serves up a steamy bill of old-school hip-hop and electronica

OysterfestPhotos by Maggie Corwin // Written by Molly Kish //

San Francisco Oysterfest //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
May 9th, 2015 //

O’Reilly’s SF Oysterfest celebrated its 16th year this past Saturday at the beautiful setting of Sharon Meadow inside Golden Gate Park. Billed as a 21-and-over event (although minors could attend only if they were accompanied by an adult), this year’s lineup of hip-hop and dance artists kicked the party up a notch with some profane rap classics and club favorites.

Opening acts The Schmidt, DeelanZ/K Theory and GZRUS warmed up the early crowds, which at peak attendance reached about 10,000 people. The Guinness flowed and kept attendees saturated as they braved the growing lines for their choice of shellfish delicacies. Barbequed, deep fried or chilled and shucked raw, the oysters were abundant as long as you were willing to wait your turn.

Grandmaster Flash

Grandmaster Flash

Kicking off the afternoon entertainment was hip-hop legend Grandmaster Flash. A master turntablist, GMF took fans through a career-spanning set, touching upon songs he both took part in producing and crafting into iconic jams. He threw down lives remixes of Ini Kamoze, Sly and the Family Stone and Bob Marley and got the audience on its feet in anticipation for a grand finale of self-spun classics from his days with The Furious Five.

Warren G

Warren G

Next up on the bill was Mr. “Regulator”, aka Warren G, who commanded the crowd with a throwback set of 90’s-era hip-hop. Covering every hit song he delivered as a solo artist or collaborated on during the height of his career, he held it down for his West Coast homies, who by mid-set were screaming along to every filthy lyric that came out of his mouth. The most memorable moments of the set were seeing the entire festival shout the incredibly X-rated lines to songs like “It Ain’t No Fun” and a cover of Dr. Dre’s “Let’s Get High”.

Thievery Corporation

Thievery Corporation

Closing out the day’s festivities were back-to-back sets from Salt Lake City house duo Late Night Alumni and Washington, D.C. collective Thievery Corporation that bled seamlessly into each other. Late Night Alumni lead vocalist Becky Jean Williams, backed by John Hancock, Finn Bjarnson and Ryan Raddon aka Kaskade, pleasantly shifted the tone of the early evening from raging in the meadow to a more atmospheric, downtempo set. Thievery Corporation’s Rob Garza and Eric Hilton picked up the pace during their full band live set that featured various guest vocalist, and the festival mood quickly shifted from there.

While most of the crowd was vibing hard off Thievery’s worldly, techno ambiance, part of the audience had already dispersed. The dwindling sunlight and cooling weather may have had something to do with that, but the remaining festivalgoers were kept warm by Garza’s and Hilton’s eclectic beats that carried them into the early-evening hours.

SF Show of the Week // GO4FREE to Thievery Corporation & Warren G at Oysterfest 5/9 (SAT)

San Francisco Oyster Fest 2015Written by Molly Kish //

San Francisco Oysterfest //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
May 9th, 2015 //

The largest oyster festival on the West Coast returns to Sharon Meadow at Golden Gate Park this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. as the 16th annual SF Oysterfest offers plenty of prime picks from the finest oyster farms across the Pacific Coast. Whether you like your oysters chilled or grilled, your shellfish appetite will undoubtedly be fulfilled with a wide range of dining options from some of SF’s premiere seafood restaurants.

As per Irish tradition, the Guinness will be flowing alongside a wide variety of adult beverages that include lagers, stouts, ale wines and premium spirit options. Guests can show off their shuck-and-suck skills in the festival’s annual crowd favorite contest, participate in various cooking demonstrations with local celebrity chefs, lose themselves in one of the live art demonstrations or take it easy with kids and four-legged friends in the meadow’s spacious and shaded play area.

At the same time, you can get down with some hip-hop heavyweights who are dominating this year’s music lineup and dance to the beats provided by some of the leading names in electronic, R&B, soul and world music. Some of the highlights of this year’s lineup include Washington, D.C.-based DJ collective Thievery Corporation, West Coast hip-hop legend Warren G, hip-hop DJ pioneer Grandmaster Flash, Salt Lake City house duo Late Night Alumni, Oakland R&B singer-songwriter Kehlani and Berkeley producer deelanZ.

Register below for your chance to win a pair of ticket to this year’s festival or you can buy tickets here (use the promo code “thievery” to receive a 10-percent discount). Tickets are $45 in advance, and children under the age of 12 who are accompanied by a parent will receive free admission.

For more information, visit Oysterfest’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

Contest ends Friday, May 8th at Noon.

Follow Showbams on Twitter for more contest giveaways throughout the week. Be the first to respond to our contest tweets to GO4FREE to these shows:

The Rentals with Rey Pila: Wednesday, May 6th at The Chapel
Big Sam’s Funky Nation: Thursday, May 7th at The Chapel
Peanut Butter Wolf at Summer Soul Roller Disco: Saturday, May 9th at Mezzanine


Enter your name (First and Last) along with your email below. If you win a contest, you’ll be notified on the day the contest ends (details above).

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SF Oysterfest gains steam as Edward Sharpe & company fizzle


Photos by Sterling Munksgard and Marc Fong // Written by Mike Frash //

SF Oysterfest featuring Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Poolside, Ra Ra Riot, Crash
Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park — San Francisco
Saturday May 10th, 2014 //

San Francisco Oysterfest scored with warm, breezy weather Saturday, attracting throngs of the City’s young and beautiful ready to spread positive vibes and cultivate a happy scene. There seemed to be an increase in attendance compared to a year ago, the first time Oysterfest was held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Many people, it seemed, attended to enjoy the pleasant environment, including the social scene & vender options, as much as the music itself — hell, it is called Oysterfest. But when it came to the music, one ascending group took another step up the ladder while a more established ensemble was missing a very important component, setting the stage for a mediocre performance at best, and a train wreck in slow motion at worst.


But first, New Orleans-based Crash got things going, exemplifying how influential Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros have been over the past five years. Their jangly, updated Americana sounded familiar upon first listen. Next up, fans of chamber pop and indie rock geeked out for Ra Ra Riot. The six-piece did their best to impress, throwing passion into every song. Between sets, DJs pumped the bass & nu-disco, juxtaposing the relaxed party atmosphere appropriately.


Poolside have continuously grown in popularity since their first album Pacific Standard Time launched in the Summer of 2012. The partnership between Filip Nikolic & Jeff Paradise has fleshed out to a five-piece outfit on tour, lending additional layers to a unique niche of dance music they have coined “daytime disco”. A perfectly descriptive phrase for the group, Poolside’s briskly-paced instrumentals with a casual, chill tone balanced nicely with decadent-yet laid back nature of the fest.

As the set continued, more and more people gave in to the flow of the set, which included steady churners “Do You Believe?” and “Next to You”, along with the usual cover of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” and a less usual but excellent take on David Byrne & Brian Eno’s “Strange Overtones”. Poolside showed, once again, they can easily control the vibe of a crowd, especially in open outdoor spaces. On a random note, Filip Nikolic is nicknamed “Turbotito” in his former/other band Ima Robot, which is fronted by the one and only Alex “Edward Sharpe” Ebert.


The headlining set featuring Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros started delightfully enough, as it always has, with “40 Hour Dream”. After a strong opening, it became clear something was unfortunately very different than usual. The Magnetic Zeros were missing their crucial female members, accordion player and vocalist Nora Kirkpatrick & more critically, Ebert’s partner in crime Jade Castrinos. Some songs that heavily involve Castrinos were not included in the set, others had trumpeter & keyboardist Stewart Cole covering her parts.

The back & forth love, laughter & chaos between Jade and Alexander, inspiring as it truly was at High Sierra Music Festival in 2010 or as volatile and crazy as it certainly was at BottleRock 2013 (where Jade went into the audience for 2-3 songs and wouldn’t come back to the stage), almost always provides a dynamic spark. They draw inspiration from each other. They bounce improvisational banter and goofy body language off one another. Jade has her own breathtaking songs like “Fiya Wata”, and her first notes of the show usually elicit palatable excitement from the crowd. All this was missing Saturday. This 100% male version of the Magnetic Zeros showed how important Jade Castrinos is to Edward Sharpe, and that they probably shouldn’t be playing live shows without her.

UPDATE 6/3/14: Jade Castrinos confirmed she was voted off of tour via email.


After a long mid-section collection of cuts from the group’s self-titled record from 2013, many in the crowd lost focus or started heading for the gates. Edward Sharpe was starting to lose ‘em. As the show neared the end, Ebert thanked the “awkward crowd in front” and told one attendee to sell their dog before announcing they would finish with their super-maga hit, “Home”.

For the first time in the 80-minute set, Ebert acknowledged Jane’s absence, only saying, “Things happen, let’s work this out.” No explanation was given for the absence of Castrinos or Kirkpatrick. Edward Sharpe then chose one random man and woman from the crowd and brought them on stage to sing the verses he and Jade normally sing. Let’s just say it didn’t work out well — Ebert had to pick up the vocals for both guests as voices cracked and lyrics were forgotten. The band kept it together well enough, but as the final outro was delivered, the sound uniformly fizzled out as if the power had been pulled.

On a positive note, most everyone jumped up and down and had a big smile on their face during “Home”, despite the karaoke factor. But music criticism aside, Oysterfest was consistently a fun, friendly event at a prime SF location on a lovely day. What else do you really need?