SAN FRANCISCO — Several thousand people from San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area filled into a two-square-block stretch of the Mission to see free music, shop, eat and participate in craft workshops during the sixth annual 20th Street Block Party. The event, sponsored by Noise Pop and again benefiting neighborhood nonprofit Mission Language and Vocational School, seemingly drew a bigger crowd than in past years. The unusually warm temperature—lows ’70s in the shade, warmer elsewhere—may have been the reason.
“The music comes first. Then I realized how much other stuff is here. I never knew,” said Mackenzie Neth, who drove to San Francisco from Dublin specifically for the event. “It’s nice to come, sit and paint, and talk to others.”
Neth was one of dozens who painted small wooden panels that will be combined to make a community mural. Other activities included a silent disco, puppy photo booth and several craft workshop tables for both children and adults. The block party was again held on 19th and 20th streets, between Bryant and Harrison, as well as Florida and Alabama streets.
Vendors sold locally made clothing, art, crafts and jewelry. Food vendors included Euro Kitchen, Flour + Water, Humphry Slocombe, and about 10 others. At any one time, the line to the neighborhood Atlas Cafe stretched 20-people long.
“It’s the first time I’ve spent here so long,” neighborhood resident Gabriel Millaire said. Millaire brought his 5-year-old daughter, Sophie. There were many children of all ages, many of them wearing headphones to dampen the noise.
Rocker Jeff Rosenstock and his five-member band played the rowdiest set of the afternoon, even inciting some rare daytime moshing and stage-diving.
His setlist included songs off his 2018 album, POST-, such as “USA” and “All This Useless Energy,” as well as “Pash Rash,” off 2016’s Worry. Rosenstock’s gravelly voice split through the dirty guitars and growling bass. Between songs, Rosenstock, addressed the topic of sexual assaults at concerts, asking concertgoers to protect each other.
Los Angeles R&B and dream-pop singer-songwriter Empress Of headlined the day’s performances.
“I don’t know exactly how this is going to go; I just took three shots of tequila to match the energy of Jeff Rosenstock,” she said.
In about an hour, Empress Of performed a couple handfuls of songs including “Standard,” off 2015’s Me, and 2018 single “Trust Me Baby.”
Several hundred people milled around the Bandwagon stage, at 20th and Bryant, for performances by bands including FAN, the solo project of The Dodos‘ Meric Long. Long, who performed with a band, performed primarily synth-pop, yet when he switched out electronic pads for a guitar, the band would usually go into a dirge-like jam that occasionally bordered on Nine Inch Nails-esque industrial rock. Long said his band was playing just its third show on Saturday.
Other musical acts included The Marias, The She’s, The Total Bettys, Small Crush, Mint, Sazon Libre and the B-Side Brujas.
“The musicians look good, but I generally love summer block parties,” said Abhi Kelkar, who came to the City from the South Bay for the concert.
Follow editor Roman Gokhman at Twitter.com/RomiTheWriter.