Treasure Island’s electronic picnic 

click to enlarge Headliner: Berlin house star DJ Magda appears Sunday at the fourth Sunset Island festival. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Headliner: Berlin house star DJ Magda appears Sunday at the fourth Sunset Island festival.

An estimated 2,000 electronic music day-trippers are packing their picnic baskets for the fourth annual Sunset Island festival Sunday on Treasure Island.

Headlined by Berlin house icon DJ Magda, along with Eddie C, BNJMN and Sunset Music residents Galen, Solar and J-Bird, the show already has sold out $5 advance tickets, says DJ Solar.

But a $10 ticket is still a steal for the nine-hour, daylong event.

Cheap good times have been a part of Sunset Music’s ethos since 1994, when the group of three DJs began throwing parties in the Berkeley Marina. About 150 free events later, Sunset Music remains active, branching out into boat parties and camp-outs.

The Treasure Island Music Festival became the inspiration for Sunset Island Electronic Music Picnic, which began in 2008. Sunset Music yearned for even more electronic music than TIMF offered, says Solar.

After three growing years, Sunset Music is charging a cover for the first time to offset increased costs: “We wanted to start beefing up our booking and get big international DJs. It ended up being a $17,000 party. We try to keep it as cheap as possible, yet keep growing it into something bigger,” Solar, 42, says.

That means calling Berlin-based Magda, a femme fatale of pumping house and techno to close out the dusk set. The U.K.’s BNJMN blends house, techno and dubstep live using a laptop and controllers. Canada’s Eddie C keeps it groovy and light.

Earlier in the day, J-Bird, Solar and Galen start off the crowd with ambient and “a mixed bag of summertime stuff,” says Solar. “We wanted to have a nice spectrum.”

There has been a three-year streak of sunny skies, though it can get windy on the Great Lawn. Solar adds, “Some say we sold our soul to the devil for the great weather we always have.”

Kids, pets and barbecue — set against the gorgeous backdrop of The City — are encouraged.

“We live in such a beautiful city. Instead of having all the strobe lights and smoke machines, it’s nice to have the sun and skyline and even the stars,” says Solar, a Bernal Heights resident.

Looking ahead, Sunset Music is planning more boat trips, camp-outs, club parties and moving next year’s Sunset Island to Saturday.

“It’s a great time for electronic music,” Solar said. “House became hip again.”


Sunset Island

Where: Great Lawn, Sixth Street and Avenue of the Palms, Treasure Island

When: Noon to 9 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $10 to $15


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