As I crossed Mosswood Park Saturday afternoon, a twig slipped under my sandal and stabbed at the front pad of my foot. A brief fear of a needle shook my head, but this isn’t the Mosswood Park of 15 years ago. The neighborhood around the park is now surrounded by a sprinkling of restaurants, bars, cafes, a swank new Kaiser building, and the rock-focused 1234-Go Records, making this neighborhood the perfect spot for Burger Boogaloo: a rock festival, which in its fifth year is proving to be a “must” event for Bay-Area rock fans.

Oakland is in that sweet stage of becoming safer and yet still being gritty enough not to encumber the DIY rock scene. The relatively intimate Boogaloo crowd obviously shares a love of music, and along with Oakland’s sleeper city mentality, creates arguably the best music festival in the Bay Area.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass has become bloated, a victim of its own success, Outside Lands is too expensive for the average plebe, and Treasure Island’s location is a bit of a pain. Burger Boogaloo is the Goldilocks’ dream of Bay Area music festivals: just right. At $35 for one day or $50 for two, spanning from noon to 9 p.m. (or 10 p.m. after some delays on Saturday), and with 24 bands on one moderately sized stage, this festival is a steal.

Boogaloo’s not for everyone, however. The music is predominately on the punk/garage rock side of the musical spectrum, with all bands working with Burger Records from Fullerton in SoCal: a label that leads the pack in terms of garage rock that’s heavy on fuzz and reverb.

That said, with Ronnie Spector headlining, and acts covering everything from surf guitar (Phantom Surfers), 50s style pop (Summer Twins), hardcore/thrash (OFF!), and R&B (Danny James); the diversity of the lineup in terms of both decades and styles covered is tremendous. The all-ages audience mimics that diversity, with toddlers, folks in their 80s, and everyone in between finding something to dance to throughout the two days of blue skies and sun.

The weekend festival was not without its hitches. There was the aforementioned delay on Saturday, which led Thee Oh Sees to headline in the dark. Lead guitarist John Dwyer appeared unfazed through the strobe of flashing cameras. Sunday had a port-o-potty emergency, which led Chad Ubovich of Meatbodies to chant “Poop yo’ pants!” over the speakers. But the crowd was impervious to any complications; everyone was too busy enjoying the Boogaloo vibe.

Standouts of the festival included sets by WAND, Nobunny, OFF!, Thee Oh Sees, Summer Twins, and Meatbodies (definitely a new-band-to-watch, with their first full-length album dropping in September—WAND, too). Also, Personal and The Pizza, The Muffs, Shannon and The Clams (Oakland indie rock scene’s pride and joy), and unsurprisingly, or perhaps surprisingly to some, was the magnetic Ronnie Spector.

The last time Ronnie Spector was in the Bay Area was 1964 when The Ronettes played the Cow Palace in San Francisco. On Sunday, she sang classics like “Be My Baby” and covered Amy Winehouse’s “Back in Black.” During her encore song, “I Can Hear Music,” Ronnie changed the lyrics to, “The sounds of Oakland, baby, and I disappear… I can hear Oakland. Sweet, sweet, Oakland.” As she walked off the stage, the hollers and hands of hundreds of pierced and tattooed rock fans definitely made themselves heard before they eventually filtered out of the park and into the streets.

About The Author

Katie is the Music Editor at OL. She's a music geek, culture junkie, massive A's fan, and Oakland native. When she was six, she stood for five minutes with a felt pennant stuck under Chris Mullin’s armpit. Check out her Oakland music listings at, follow on twitter/instagram as @craziesthawk, or contact at

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