Portola Festival 2023: In Review

The Portola Festival, a vibrant and diverse music event, returned to San Francisco’s Pier 80 for its second year, further cementing its reputation as a must-attend festival. Known for its eclectic mix of artists, from the pulsating beats of EDM icons like Eric Prydz, Skrillex, and Dom Dolla to the unique sounds of Nelly Furtado, Thundercat, and Labrinth the festival offered something for every music enthusiast.

Logistics at Portola Festival

Attending the Portola Festival was a breeze, thanks to the convenient transportation options. The Muni Bus and Train services ensured easy accessibility for everyone, making the journey to the festival as enjoyable as the event itself. Upon arrival, festival-goers were greeted with multiple entry points, facilitating a smooth and hassle-free entrance. Inside, the festival’s thoughtful layout shone, especially in terms of necessities like restrooms – they were abundant and easy to locate, a relief for attendees.

Portola Festival Food

A festival experience is never complete without delectable food options, and Portola didn’t disappoint. A selection of local food trucks and restaurants provided a taste of San Francisco’s culinary delights, catering to a variety of preferences. Complementing the food was the refreshing presence of Kona Big Wave Beer, the festival’s beverage sponsor, adding an extra layer of flavor to the experience.

Portola Outfits

Reflecting San Francisco’s unique style, the festival fashion at Portola was distinctly industrial and layered, a nod to the city’s eclectic and unpredictable weather. Amongst the crowd, there was a noticeable presence of the active rave and harder EDM community, particularly in the warehouse area, showcasing a small but vibrant mix of styles.


The choice of Pier 80 as the festival venue was a no-brainer for the second rendition. This old, unused pier provided a spacious and dynamic backdrop for the event. The festival layout was thoughtfully designed with two outdoor stages at opposite ends, a tent stage in between, and a warehouse next to the main stage. What made it more appealing were the multiple comfortable areas where attendees could relax away from the noise and the crowd, a significant improvement from the previous year.

Why I am going again next year

The decision to return for next year’s Portola Festival is an easy one. The festival not only boasted great music but also showcased exceptional organization. The improvements made from the first year were evident – from well-maintained bathrooms to efficient entry processes, and the better layout of the warehouse and reliable Wi-Fi. The venue’s convenience added to the allure, making the entire experience worth every penny, despite being a bit pricey. For anyone looking for a festival that combines top-notch music, excellent facilities, and a unique San Francisco vibe, Portola is the place to be.

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