Spinning Platters’ Guide to Colossal Clusterfest

by Dakin Hardwick on May 31, 2017

Colossal Clusterfest, for the few of you who have managed to miss any of the billboards, radio spots, or blog posts, is a three day comedy and music festival coming to Civic Center Plaza. It’s being put on by Superfly & Another Planet, the same folks who bring us Outside Lands, which would be a three day music and comedy festival. This is the very first year of this event, which is bringing comedy legends Jerry Seinfeld and Kevin Hart to the Bay, alongside plenty of other very special performances. This also being the first year, it’s not easy for us to really “know” how to optimize your experience. However, after scouring the FAQ’s and analyzing the map, I think we can help guide you to maximum fun.

The first thing you need to pay attention to is the warning that some stages are subject to capacity. The official caps aren’t tagged anywhere on the site, so you need to use some logic to figure this one out.

Let’s start with the Bill Graham Civic itself. This is likely to be the home of the “capacity” venues. There are four located in this venue, the largest being the Bill Graham stage, which holds about 8,000 people. This room was booked nicely, as it’s a substantial space, but paired itself against something on the “Colossal” stage for almost every time slot. Odds are good that you’ll get into every set you want to see here. The other spaces: Paddy’s Pub, Room 415, and Larkin Comedy Club will be the ones you’ll have to be strategic about.

First thing you should do is head to the schedule online to see which sets you want to see, and how many other people are interested. Since performers are playing multiple sets, you should focus on the lower attendance events. Room 415 is the smallest venue, if it’s the actual Room 415. Larkin is a little bigger, but not by much. It’s also on the first floor, so more people will pop in there just because it’s easier to find. I’d bet the better crowds will be in the fourth floor venue. If I had somebody I was especially excited about, I’d head over set early to ensure I get to see them there.

The other two stages are outdoors, and less likely to cut off entry. I’d utilize the time before these performances to explore. There are plenty of installations set up based on classic TV shows, so you can warm up for the Ty Segall mosh pit by playing in an actual Memberberry Ball Pit inspired by South Park. Or, you can ignore Ice Cube’s request for a breakfast with no hog and enjoy a fine slice of “rum ham” inspired by It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

The most important thing to remember is to TAKE BART to this event. Civic Center BART is right at the entrance to the event. Parking is expensive and limited. Traffic is a nightmare in this area on a boring day. Public transit is *the* most efficient way to get out to Civic Center.

Now that logistics are out of the way, there are a few “can’t miss” sets of the Fest that you may have overlooked.

Aparna Nancherla: A great, dry wit. She’s playing several times on Friday, so you have no excuses.


Lizzo: One of the finest MC’s in the business, and she rarely comes out west. You shouldn’t miss this rare opportunity to see Lizzo live.

Jidenna: Nothing funny about this guy. Just some great showmanship from one of the best dressers in modern R&B.

Ron Funches: This is his first performance after his TV show Powerless was canceled. However, he’s one of the happiest comics I’ve ever seen, and his Sunday afternoon set promises to be life affirming.

W Kamau Bell: Berkeley resident, and one of the sharpest political commentators working today.

Hasan Minhaj: He accepted the job that nobody wanted to take- MC’ing this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. AND HE KILLED IT! Now you can watch him slay it in front of a much kinder crowd.

Wayne’s World Live Reading by Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson & Illana Glazer and friends: Tia Carrere is reprising her role from the original film. And there’s The Killer Queens, an all female Queen cover band playing, too.

Tickets are still available, but going fast. See you this weekend!

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