By Michael Milano
Unlike a normal comedy club or concert, festivals have more pressure to present more than just good entertainment that is listed on the bill. Colossal Clusterfest achieves exactly that, instantly immersing you in some of the best comedic television shows of our time as soon as you walk through the gates.
You enter immediately into the world of South Park, with large colorful cutouts of pretty much every major character and scene you could think of, with plenty of friendly festival employees there offering to take your picture.
Keep walking and you’ll see some of South Park’s infamous food pop ups, including Casa Bonita, Tweek’s Coffee, and Raisins (a Hooters parody). But it’s not just South Park that has themed food and areas dedicated to them.
What made this spot really special, though, was when acts like Trevor Moore (The Whitest Kids U Know) and Roy Wood Jr. (The Daily Show) would get up on the small stage and do tiny bits of comedy leading into people performing karaoke. And while I cannot personally attest to this, I later found out that members of the cast showed up to play a game of Flipadelphia (the shows version of flip cup) against some of the attendees.
Aside from some minor issues regarding slight miscommunication between the attendees and the festival (not knowing that you needed reservations for one of the stages until sometime on Saturday, for instance), the festival was very well managed. Considering the caliber of the acts that were scheduled, everything was pretty much perfectly on time, which made the festival run generally very smoothly.
I overheard some people complaining when they moved everyone out from the ‘Colossal’ stage between every act, but it prevents people from running to the front row at the very beginning and camping out there all day, which can often lead to crowding issues at other festivals. The staff was all very helpful, and it was quite easy getting around and finding out where everything was simply from reading the map or by using the mobile app. Every first time show or fest will have its issues, and the minor ones that Clusterfest experienced were insignificant in comparison to how well everything else was ultimately run.
That really was part of what made the weekend so incredible, the realization that even the performers are there not just because they’re getting a paycheck, but because they legitimately love watching comedy and/or music. The people of San Francisco, and the Bay Area in general, are no strangers to massive festivals taking over the town for a weekend.
For some, the festival and nightlife scene is a big reason why the high rent is worth the price of living in the city. And it is no secret that events like these are beneficial as they help make quite a bit of money for the city they take place in.
While San Francisco is home to plenty of incredible festivals, I ultimately would love to see Colossal Clusterfest back next year, and hopefully in the years following. You know I’ll be there!