As San Francisco grows ever more expensive, some in the more artistic, less remunerative cultural fields have come to see the city's flourishing food scene as a symbol for the troubles of artists and the middle class. The more elite restaurants take up space in the Mission, this thinking goes, the harder it becomes for full-time musicians and other artists to stay there.
But not everyone sees food and music in opposition. With its second-annual 20th Street Block Party, Noise Pop says it wants to use the voracious interest in the city's food scene as a way to direct attention to struggling local musicians. The event, which is free unless you opt for the $95 VIP treatment, places food and drink from the likes of Flour + Water, Trick Dog, Salumeria, El Metate, and more next to music from a couple national headliners (Rogue Wave, Cayucas) and a bunch of smaller local acts (Melted Toys, the Bilinda Butchers, etc.).
This is a concept Noise Pop has been tweaking ever since it tried the pricey, more food-centric Noisette party in August 2012. Now, though, the organization is giving official notice that it's conscious of the difficulties facing local artists. "For our second year, we thought it was essential to add a second stage dedicated to local artists, and reconfigure the general layout to host even more vendors from the neighborhood," says Noise Pop co-owner Jordan Kurland in a statement today. "It's no secret that the San Francisco arts community is suffering these days. To put it mildly, it's a challenge to be an upstart artist or musician in the Bay Area, so we are very happy to provide another platform to bring attention to the local music scene."
Will it succeed in this rather lofty aim? Who knows -- but it's nice to see the city's preeminent independent music organization trying. The 20th Street Block Party will take place Saturday, Aug. 23, on 20th Street between Bryant and Harrison. Here's the lineup:
Ray Barbee and the Mattson 2 feat. Tommy Guerrero
The Bilinda Butchers
Myron & E.
San Francisco Rock Project
Food + Drink
The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen
Flour + Water
Rhea's Deli + Market
Again, the event is free unless you go for the $95 VIP tickets, which get you a private indoor lounge, some complimentary food and drink, and other perks. You can RSVP for the regular event on Facebook.