San Francisco's Portola Festival organizers respond to crowd control criticism

Photo of Dan Gentile
Security guards stand near the entrance of the Warehouse Stage at the Portola music festival in San Francisco on Sunday.

Security guards stand near the entrance of the Warehouse Stage at the Portola music festival in San Francisco on Sunday.

Adam Pardee/Special to SFGATE

San Francisco's newest music festival, Portola, took place this weekend at Pier 80. The two days of electronic music were a rare offering amid the city's more prominent rock-focused festivals, and attendees seemed thrilled to revel in the thumping bass of some of the world's top DJs.

Despite some incredible performances ranging from the Avalanches to the Chemical Brothers, viral video of festivalgoers climbing the fences to enter a warehouse stage became the weekend's biggest story.

Fred Again, a buzzy British producer whose recent Boiler Room set vaulted him into the international spotlight, was one of the weekend's most anticipated acts. He was booked on the Warehouse Stage, a cavernous hangar with only one entrance, which required snaking through a maze of metal stanchions to enter. Charli XCX was the next act booked in the space, arguably the fest's biggest star. As a result of a bottleneck outside the venue, attendees broke past security guards and vaulted over fencing, only to find themselves in a gigantic space that seemingly had plenty of room for more people.

Fans react to Jamie XX taking the stage?at the Portola music festival, on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2022.

Fans react to Jamie XX taking the stage?at the Portola music festival, on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2022.

Charles Russo/SFGATE

As the viral Twitter videos picked up steam, outlets like TMZ reported the incident with sensational headlines like "Portola Festival Draws Out-of-Control Crowds That Stormed Stage," when in fact the attendees were hundreds of meters away from the actual stage within the warehouse venue. 竞技宝官网 reports compared the event to the tragedy at Houston's Astroworld Festival, which resulted in 10 deaths.

Festival organizer Goldenvoice?did not respond when asked for comment, but mid-day on Sunday, Goldenvoice's parent company AEG issued a statement to Billboard regarding the incident.

“There was a minimal, isolated issue with a festival stage entrance yesterday,” a representative for AEG said. “This occurred within the confines of the grounds and was quickly addressed and corrected. There were no reported injuries and the festival continued for another six hours without incident.” SFPD confirmed that there were no injuries reported relating to rushing crowds.

As one might expect, Day 2 had increased security presence around the Warehouse Stage, and no similar incidents.

This article was updated at 12:05 p.m. on Sept. 26 with additional information from SFPD.