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Phono del Sol Brings Music, Food, and More to Potrero Park

Phono del Sol

Photo courtesy of Charlie Homo

Inflatable jousting, mobile bowling lanes, food trucks and oh yes…carnies. That all totally sounds like San Francisco, right? While that may be enough to make some dizzy, it’s only half of what the 2nd Annual Phono del Sol Music and Food Festival goers should expect.

The Bay Bridged and John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone recording studio teamed up again to bring us a solid lineup of music to accompany their family friendly activities and it all goes down this Saturday at Potrero del Sol Park.

So just who are these geniuses that have lured the Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s bubblegum psychedelia out from Portland and away from the European festival season (although they did just play Pitchfork’s Music Fest) and why bring another music fest into the city? 

Well it turns out they are a pretty brilliant bunch, with law degrees and Ph.D’s to back it up, but they like to do things in non-profit fashion by giving back to the community. This year they’re charging $7-10 on a sliding scale basis (last year was free), but The Bay Bridged Co-Founder Christian Cunningham explains that a whopping 35 percent of the proceeds from each ticket will be split amongst some deserving organizations that benefit young women, including The Women’s Audio Mission (WAM) and GirlVentures.

Vanderslice, who opened his studio in 1997 to give artists an affordable space to record hi-fi music, said he had a strong personal connection to WAM and talked about the importance of involving women in what he called a male-dominated technical field.

“If we can’t train engineers, we’re in big trouble. We’re at a crisis point. There has to be a support network for a very esoteric job. It’s close to my heart,” he said.

He’ll be giving at least two guided tours of his recording studio during the festival, scaled back slightly from last year’s which had him running around a little too much.

Nicole Browner, one of the Bay Bridge’s five directors, says San Francisco Parks and Recreation was so good to them with the planning and easy to work with last year, that they wanted to be sure to include them as well. They’ll get a full 25 percent of ticket proceeds.

Although successful, Cunningham admitted to a budget deficit from last year’s event explaining the need to charge for tickets to cover the growing event, especially since bands and acts like UMO and La Sera were being brought in from out of town.

“We’re not trying to be Outside Lands. We’re filling a niche,” Browner explained adding that the inaugural event drew about 3,000 people and that they’re experimenting to see if this is a feasible event they can throw in the city every year.

And for those who can afford to “unburden themselves of cash” as Vanderslice puts it, there’s the $40 VIP ticket for the festival which guarantees a better stage view and a quicker trip to the bathrooms.

All in all, with locals like the Fresh & Only’s topping the bill, a Saturday in an underused skate park with Kung-Fu tacos from a food truck doesn’t sound like a bad way to spend an afternoon or your donation that will go to a good cause.