SF Portola Festival criticized over noise and crowd control

This past weekend's inaugural Portola Music Festival in San Francisco is facing some criticism over crowd management, and excessive noise, which was heard all the way across the Bay in Alameda.

"It was just a constant boom, boom, boom, you know steady beat, and it didn’t stop," said Andrea Foord of Alameda, who says a steady beat vibrated through her home in Alameda much of Saturday evening.

"You could totally feel the vibrations. It was like I remember as a kid I went to an ACDC concert and I remember the speaker being right here and that loud noise. And it was like I was right there," said Foord. "But I’m miles away, 5.7 miles as the crow flies from there, from Pier 80 to our house."

One woman said that she assumed that they simply had an extremely rude neighbor on her hands.

"That’s shocking. That’s shocking. It was very loud," said Sara Bumpis of Alameda. "If that really was from San Francisco, then something was way too loud, way too loud. I mean I’ve been to concerts and I can’t imagine how loud that would be standing in the middle of it."

Despite Bumpis' best efforts, she says nothing seemed to be able to drown out the noise.

"I closed the window, I could still hear it. I turned my fan all the way up, I turned my TV all the way up, and I could still hear it," said Bumpis.

"I could feel the vibration, just like it was coming from the deep bass from a car," said Bob Kenyon of Alameda. "That’s what it was like, and that went on pretty much all day and into the evening." 

KTVU fielded a number of phone calls from angry residents that night, and the city of Alameda posted about the festival on social media, saying in part, "We could hear the loud music/bass." and warned neighbors the festival continued through Sunday evening. 

The noise wasn't the only criticism directed at festival organizers. Scenes of an unruly crowd, and an apparent failure by on-site teams to manage it, were also posted to social media and reported by TMZ.

One festival goer posted on social media, "entrances and exits to the warehouse stage were super dangerous and poorly planned. What happened?!"

Meantime, back in Alameda, Foord offered some advice to festival organizers perhaps pondering a Portola 2023.

"Be a little more conscious of the fact that sound travels on water, and we’re right across the Bay from there," said Foord.

KTVU reached out to both San Francisco Police and Portola Festival Organizers about the complaints, and have yet to hear back.