San Francisco’s Treasure Island Music Festival is only in its third year, but judging by the event’s production, you might think it has been around for a lot longer. First of all, the line up is a mix of big names and high-quality underground acts (usually in the electronic or indie rock categories). This year featured groups like MGMT, The Flaming Lips, MSTRKRFT, Grizzly Bear, LTJ Bukem, and many more. However, this ~15,000-person festival maintains the feel of a smaller event by building only two stages, which alternate back and forth without overlapping shows. This means that you’ll never have to miss an act, and you can bounce from one stage to the other to get your fill of your favorite artist or to hear something new without the fear of missing out on another act.
And while you’re watching a show, you’ll notice, as I did, that the stage is catching your eye in more ways than one. Not only do the rock stars up front offer some enticing aesthetic appeal, but so do the visuals depicted behind the band, thanks to the production team's liberal use of LED lights. Instead of using a projection screen for visuals on stage as many festivals do, the Treasure Island main stage was decked out with a 3-foot X 30’-foot rectangle that was composed entirely of small LED lights. Each LED acted like a pixel, making up a portion of the whole “grid.” From a distance, the LEDs all blurred together to create one rectangular screen upon which an image was displayed. Even better, this screen was framed by a 40-foot long and 10-foot wide rainbow of LED light bars, which displayed the outer edges of the image-spayed out in a rainbow shape- that was being shown on the rectangular grid below. The effect was mesmerizing and the colors displayed were more vivid than anything that could have been done using projection. And, it’s always nice to remember that the LED’s helped the festival stay green, contributing to the reduction of its carbon footprint right along with its ride-share and recycling programs.
Music festivals are always a good time, but attention to the smaller details help make them GREAT experiences. Treasure Island certainly hit that mark, and it couldn’t have done it without the help of LED technology.