FAQ - Sound Summit



Howdy Sound Summiteers!

Looking forward to seeing you all on the mountain for a festive day of music and community this Saturday. We wanted to answer some questions you may have and hopefully anticipate some that may not have crossed your mind.

And so we bring you the 2016 Sound Summit FAQ. Yep, it’s kinda long, but we want you to be well-informed, so please read on. And please share with any friends in your party for whom you may have purchased tickets, so they know what’s up, as well.

We will all be onsite from 12:00 noon Friday on and won’t able to respond to any emails after that time. We also suggest that you explore our website to learn more about what you might want and need to know, particularly in the Festival Info section.

Happy trails up Mount Tam!


Where's the show?

Sound Summit is held at the Mountain Theater (aka Sidney B. Cushing Memorial Amphitheater) on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, above Mill Valley to the east and Stinson Beach to the west.

Here’s a Google link to the venue: https://goo.gl/maps/65ZtgNme7xm

Please have your printed Eventbrite tickets in hand when you arrive at the venue entrance for scanning and to receive your wristband.

When should I get there?

We say arrive early and spend the day. Traffic will increase as the day goes on, so getting a head start is a good move. Come grab a seat above the Bay, give all our acts the great audience they deserve, and stretch out a bit closer to the clouds.

Doors open at 10:00 AM. Music starts at 11:00 AM. 

What's the schedule?

All set times and lengths are subject to change, but here’s the current plan:

Matt Jaffe | 11:00 AM

The Stone Foxes | 12:00 PM 

Bill Frisell | 1:15 PM

Los Lobos | 2:45 PM

Wilco | 4:45 PM

What's the seating like?

The Mountain Theater is an historic stone amphitheater built in the 1930’s. It’s a crescent of ascending rows of serpentine quarried from Mount Tam. Seating is General Admission, first come, first served.

This year we also have a General Admission pit in front of the stage, where you can either park for the day or come and go as you please. We just ask that you respect your neighboring Summiteers and please refrain from videotaping any of the bands.

How do I get there?

Well, unless you can do the Star Trek thing, you’re either on the bus, driving, hiking, or biking. See more below.

I'm definitely on the bus, but where do I get on?

Our bus shuttles leave from the Manzanita Park & Ride Commuter Lot and the Pohono Street Park & Ride Lot in Mill Valley, just off the Stinson Beach exit on Hwy to 101.

The buses will run from the Manzanita Lot first until parking is full and then move to the Pohono Lot. Attendants will be on hand to help direct you accordingly.

What's the bus schedule?

The first bus up the mountain is at 8:45 AM and the last is at 4:00 PM sharp. 

What about getting back down the mountain?

Buses will depart the Mountain Theater entrance immediately following the show at 7:00 PM.

Buses will run back down the mountain throughout the day from the theater entrance to the Manzanita and Pohono Lots if you want to leave earlier than 7:00 PM.

There is also traffic on the mountain throughout the day, so we can’t predict exact intervals for those bus departures and ask that you be patient in waiting for buses if you wish to leave earlier in the day.

I want to be on the bus, but I haven't bought a ticket? Any advice?

Why, yes. We strongly encourage you to do so before day of show. You can purchase a round-trip pass directly from our ticketing page – https://soundsummit2016.eventbrite.com. The cost is $15. 

Please remember to have your printed Eventbrite bus ticket ready to show the parking lot attendants for scanning at bus entry points.

Bus passes will be available at our shuttle lot on day of show but they will be on sale for $20 and for cash only.

I bought a parking pass. How do I get to the parking lots?

We have two paid parking lots – High Camp and Summit. 

• If you’re in the High Camp Lot, it’s just around the bend from the Mountain Theater entrance on the right side of the road – East Ridgecrest Blvd.

(The Google link above calls the lot the Quarry Lot.)

You can enter the venue from a path at the back of the lot, where staff will take your printed tickets and provide you with a wristband.

• If you’re in the Summit Lot, continue up East Ridgecrest Blvd. past the High Camp Lot for about a mile. The Summit Lot entrance will be on your left.

(The Google link above calls the lot the Westpeak Turnoff.)

Shuttles will drive you back down to the Mountain Theater entrance.

In either case, please have your printed Eventbrite parking ticket ready to show the parking lot attendants when you arrive. 

And we strongly encourage you to fill your vehicle with friends and family and carpool to the show, both to reduce your carbon footprint and minimize traffic on the mountain.

Note: Please don’t confuse either of these paid lots with the Rock Spring Parking Lot, which you’ll pass just prior to reaching the Mountain Theater entrance. There will be no public vehicle parking at Rock Spring on the day of the event.

When do the parking lots open?

9:00 AM

What if I want to get back to my car in the Summit Lot before the show is over?

Shuttle buses – the same 20-seaters that brought you from the Summit Lot to the theater entrance – will be running at intervals back to the Summit Lot throughout the day. Please be patient and one will come around soon.

What if I want to get back to my car in the High Camp Lot before the show is over?

Simply walk back along the path to the lot on which you entered the theater. 

Note: There are no Ins & Outs once you’ve entered the venue. Once you go, you’re gone, as they say.

I'm planning on driving up the mountain but I don't have a parking pass. Any suggestions?

Parking on Mount Tam is limited. That said, there are areas where it’s safe and legal to park if you arrive early and can find them. However, there are no guarantees. If you’re feeling adventurous and do choose to drive in search of such spaces, please do so wisely and avoid any areas w here parking is clearly not allowed. Oh, and please fill up your vehicles for the same reasons stated above.

What about using Uber, Lyft or other ride-sharing options?

You’re of course welcome to use those services. Just ensure the driver knows where he or she is going, as the Mountain Theater has no physical address – just East Ridgecrest Blvd. 

No drop offs will be allowed at the venue entrance. Please have your drive drop you off in the vicinity of the Rock Spring Parking Lot

There will be a lot of traffic heading down from the venue and above after the show, so Uber and Lyft pickups are going to be a bit tricky. We also want to add that cell service up there can be sketchy at best and often non-existent. Please take that into account.

Any other suggestions about driving?

Miller Avenue in Mill Valley is under heavy construction these days. Plus, the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival is happening in downtown Mill Valley on the same day as Sound Summit.

Depending on where you’re driving from, Google Maps may tell you to take Miller Avenue to Molino Ave and head up from there.  And that may make the best sense.

But otherwise we suggest you take Shoreline Highway (Hwy 1) up from Mill Valley and take the fork up to Mount Tamalpais when you see the sign (not the one down to Stinson Beach). This will save you a lot of slowed, stop and go traffic along Miller. This route may be shown on Google Maps, as well, depending upon where you’re coming from. 

I'll be hiking up to Sound Summit. What can you tell me?

There are trails aplenty that will lead you to Sound Summit. If you want to wind your way up Mount Tam on foot, here’s a  Trail Map, courtesy of Friends of Mt. Tam. Just give yourself enough time to get where you’re going when you want to be there. 

If you do hike up, we’ll give you a free bus ride down the mountain to our Mill Valley Bus Lots after the show for all that hard work, just so you won’t be hiking down in the dark.

Our inside sources tell us the sun will set at 7:14 pm on Saturday, September 17.

I'll be biking up to Sound Summit. Where can I park my bike?

We’ll be providing bike parking just outside the venue on the right side of the Rock Spring Parking Lot, courtesy of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition. If you feel like pedaling, your bike will be in good hands while you’re digging cool tunes above the Bay.

Please Note Again: There will be no public vehicle parking at Rock Spring on the day of the event.

Maps and more info on these options can be found at our Getting There & Back page: http://soundsummit.net/getting-there/ 


Where do I go after the show to get back down the mountain?

Good question and one with a few answers. Please take note so that we can get you down the mountain safe and sound as efficiently as we can.

Here’s the exit strategy: 

• If you’re taking the bus back to Mill Valley, proceed in an orderly fashion along the path towards the venue entrance and form a single file line on the right side of the path along the fence. This will allow our staff to load the buses in a safe, orderly, and efficient manner. No cutting in line, please.

• If you’re parked in the High Camp Lot, walk back up the path on which you entered the venue to your car. Take time and caution leaving the lot, as others will be doing the same, there will be a line forming for shuttles to the Summit Lot, and cars will be coming down the mountain from up the road.

• If you’re parked in the Summit Lot, follow the path to the High Camp Lot, which begins just across from our Merchandise Tent and slopes gently up the hill.

Once there, you’ll form a line on the left where the same shuttles that brought you down to the theater will bring you back up to the Summit Lot.

Please be patient as we have a lot of folks leaving the venue at the same time on one-lane roads. We’ll get you back to your cars as swiftly and safely as we can.

In short, we’ve built a music festival for a day where one has rarely existed, so everything takes a little more time than it does down on the ground. Hopefully you’ll be basking in the afterglow of the show while you await your chariot up the hill

NOTE: Do not go back to the theater entrance where you were dropped off. That area will solely be for large buses heading down the mountain.

• If you’re parked near Rock Spring, at Trojan Point, or out on West Ridgecrest Blvd., please exit the venue on the Mountain Theater Fire Road. You’ll walk towards the venue entrance but then make a hard left on the way down where you see a little wood cabin of sorts. This is just past our ID Check station. Staff will be there to point the way.

That paved road will in turn lead to a right turn onto the Mountain Theater Fire Road which empties out at Rock Spring. Take caution when crossing the main road, as buses, cars, and bikes will be heading down the mountain from above.

• If you biked up the mountain, walk back along the same Mountain Theater Fire Road noted above to the Rock Spring Lot where your bike is parked. Please ride carefully down the mountain, as there will be cars and buses heading down with you.

• If you hiked up the mountain and plan on hiking down, please do so carefully and bring a flashlight, as it will of course get darker on you way down. If you don’t feel like hiking down, hop on a bus on us.


What should I bring?

Bring Hats, Sunscreen, Water Bottles. Weather is ever changing on the mountain and it can get quite hot at the Mountain Theater, as most of the venue is in full sun. We strongly encourage you to bring protection from the rays and stay hydrated. You may want to bring layers for later in the day as the weather cools 

You can also bring something to cushion your seat – e.g. Blankets, Soft Backed Trail Chairs and Stadium Cushions, but no folding chairs with arms that will take up an extra seat, trouble the person sitting next to you, potentially damage the stone seating, or impede access along public routes and fire lanes within the venue. Small Coolers (six-pack size) are cool.

Food, Beer, Wine, and Soft Beverages will be available at the venue. You may bring food and beverage if you wish, but please follow the guidelines below. Otherwise, plan to enjoy some tasty fare from our eclectic array of vendors.

What should I leave at home?

No Alcohol, Glass Bottles or Containers, Umbrellas, Selfie Sticks, Tripods, Drones, Matches, Cigarette Lighters, Audio & Video Recording Devices, Large Coolers, Folding Metal Armchairs, or Dogs (except for Service Dogs) may be brought inside the Mountain Theater.

Can I smoke at Sound Summit?

Um . . . NO! There is no smoking allowed in the Mountain Theater. This is not just a rule for Sound Summit or the Mountain Play; it’s a rule for everyone all the time in this remarkable and delicate space.

We cannot possibly stress this rule and request enough. We ask that you please respect it and remind your neighbors to do the same. If you don’t, you are potentially endangering and jeopardizing your fellow concertgoers, the future of this event, and, more important above all, the safety of Mount Tam.

Imagine you’re on a great eight-hour flight with cool tunes and incredible views. Enjoy the ride and wait until you get off the plane. Thanks for treating this as seriously as we all do!

What's it like up there?

Well, it's awesome. But please note that the Mountain Theater is a natural environment and entails all that comes with it. In addition to singing birds and breathtaking views, there are bees, insects, dirt paths, uneven stone surfaces, varying grades, and the like. Be mindful of the environment, both in anticipation of the day and as you move about the venue. Watch your step.

What can I do to help?

Please be sure to read the posted signage and use the appropriate compost, recycle and landfill containers provided throughout the venue.  And don't forget to bring your own refillable water bottle!

Taking an extra moment to place recyclables and waste where indicated will help our greening team efficiently make Sound Summit as green an event as possible.

Please do not litter. If you see litter on the ground, lend a hand if you’re moved to do so. Mount Tam is a precious resource. Let’s leave it like we found it!

All told, just be respectful of this sensitive habitat so that we can hold Sound Summit for years to come and help support Mount Tam. As many of you already well know, this is an incredibly cool place to spend a day hanging out with your friends, family, and community and listening to music of this caliber.

Have a great time!