An Outside Lands Newbie Experiences All That San Fransisco’s Largest Music Festival Has To Offer HOME PAGE: Outside Lands 2018
SAN FRANCISCO, CA- Per Wikipeida, “‘Outside Lands’ was the name used in the 19th century for the present-day Richmond District and Sunset District in San Francisco, California. With few roads and no public transportation, the area was covered by sand dunes and was considered inaccessible and uninhabitable. Today, after extensive development, the area is home to Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, and well-developed neighborhoods.” Since August 22, 2008, Outside Lands has also been home to San Francisco’s preeminent music festival: The Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival.
Boasting three days of music featuring headlining performance by The Weeknd, Florence + The Machine and Janet Jackson, and much anticipated undercard performances by Bon Iver, Beck, Future, Jamie XX, James Blake and Portugal the Man, the over 60,000 daily music lovers had the unique opportunity to soak in some excellent sonics among branches of the man-made woodlands that crowns “The Golden City”.
But there is much more than just music at Outside Lands. In fact, one can easily get lost in one of the many diversions on the festival grounds, and miss out on an anticipated performance, if you weren’t paying attention to the time (thank the lord for Outside Lands’ app and the pop-up notifications on my phone, otherwise I would have missed significant chunks of some of the acts I wanted to catch).
If you weren’t parked in front of a music stage, you could have easily spent hours spending time at Outside Lands’ many experiences. The popular GastroMagic area returned featuring appearances by chefs Eddie Huang and Matty Matheson with specials guests like Bill Nye the Science Guy and Shangela from RuPaul’s Drag Race. If you wanted to get in a few laughs, there was The Barbary which had a comedic line-up that was sure to tickle your funny-bone, in addition to speaking engagement that were announced the day-of like Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness interviewing both Michelle Wolf and Florence Welch, for which a line that seemed to be a mile-long waited to get in for.
For those who are more cannabis inclined, there was a new experience at Outside Lands this year dubbed, quite appropriately, “Grass Lands”. Grass Lands is a curated cannabis experienced where you could get educated about the recent legalization of recreational cannabis. While no cannabis products were sold on site, I’m fairly certain- based on the various smells in the air- there was plenty to go around. In addition to the foregoing, there were other sponsored activities like a miniature golf-course and a legit climbing wall. It you were always inebriated- or on your way there, you could simply spend time perusing the various pieces of wall-art that lined the entirety of the festival grounds.
Personally, I found myself- absolutely sober no less- at the Bubble Tea Party. It’s quite easy to find joy in the simple things in life, and I surprisingly spent a good amount of time of watching steampunk cosplayers elicit joy from grown men and women with their huge bubbles.
But clearly the main non-music feature of Outside Lands is their line-up of dining vendors. With over 80 different dining establishment setting up shop around the festival grounds, the options to satiate your taste-buds, whatever they may be, was plentiful.
Due to scheduling conflicts (I had to spend 8 hours in one spot in the crowd in order to secure a decent vantage point to take photos of an artist on my bucket-list) and poor “newbie” Outside Lands management skills (I at a huge lunch prior to arriving on the festival grounds my first day), I only had an opportunity to sample a handful of the dining options.
I stuck with some festival basics, each with their own little twist. I had a burger made of pork-belly and a chicken sandwich that was topped with brie cheese and fresh apple splice that were both amazingly good. A “spicy” hot-dog got my stomach slightly uneasy, and the bowl of ramen and fresh tomato soup hit the spot and warmed me up when the weather become a bit chilly.
But the most memorable delicacy that I put in my mouth came from Escape From New York Pizza, and it was their “Pesto Potato Pizza Slice.” I probably wouldn’t even have noticed the option until a photographer peer of mine preached the tastiness of a slice. It’s just a piece of pizza … but it’s twist of thinly cut slices of potato and pesto in lieu of marinara sauce with plenty of melted mozzarella on top was nothing short of amazing … and I was sober.
My experience at Outside Lands was a good one. While I noticed that there were certain logistical issues that they could probably still improve upon (i.e. minor instances of sound problems on the smaller stages, the ridiculous foot traffic exiting the festival grounds at the end of each night and the incredible difficultly of knowing where to go to hail an Uber of Lyft to get back home), the atmosphere and overall spirit of the festival left a positive impression on me. It was a festival experience really seemed to exude a carefree and whimsical aura that offered every kind of distraction to cater to your any whimsy, and when the weather was perfect, life just couldn’t seem to get any better.