and were buying their baby girl ballet clothes Sunday morning when they heard a blare of music coming from Union Street.
Following the sound of a sweet Southern voice in the distance, the family stumbled upon the Union Street Music Festival, an annual affair in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow neighborhood that highlights the area’s fashion, technology and jazz culture.
This scene of a young couple clapping along as their 2½-year-old daughter danced to the music — with blocks of food stands, street vendors and several more bands playing behind them — is exactly what envisioned when he set out to revamp the 41-year-old festival this year.
“I felt like it was missing something,” said Restivo, who organizes the Union Street, North Beach and Fillmore Jazz festivals, among others in the Bay Area. “It was time to hit the reset button.”
This event — one of the first in San Francisco’s busy summer festival schedule — used to be more of a “mess,” Restivo said, describing how people used to come out more for the booze than the merchants, food and music. To curb that, the event has had limited or no alcohol over the past few years.
To create more of a family-friendly atmosphere — but keep the eclectic San Francisco vibe alive during this two-day festival — Restivo decided to put a greater emphasis on live music this year. More than 20 bands, nearly double the number the festival had in the past, played throughout the weekend. Most of the bands were local, ranging from jazz to country to bluegrass.
And the alcohol is back this year, too.
As hundreds of people ambled between Gough and Fillmore streets on the sunny Sunday morning, many stopped in their tracks by the taco stands or jewelry vendors, or to smell handmade candles.
Stopped between Laguna and were and his partner, Francoise, swaying to the banjo and vocals of the San Francisco band Dinner With Kids. And on Webster Street, dozens of people sat on the hill eating ice cream, and drinking beer and wine, while listening to a band called Tebo’s Howlin’ Wolf Revue.
“We haven’t had a vibe like this in years,” Restivo said.
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