Simply put- I’ve fallen in LOVE with Outside Lands!
I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the country to attend some pretty amazing festivals. Each one has it’s own trademark- Bonnaroo with the family vibe, Lollapalooza with the City scape, Sonic Bloom tucked into the mountains- each one spectacular in its own right. That being said, Outside Lands Music Festival held in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco is without a doubt THE FESTIVAL of all festivals. The craftsmanship that put into every last detail of this festival is hard to ignore and truly it’s nothing short of magical.
Read about my experience of getting to the festival, the insane food/alcohol, the fashion, the MUSIC, and of course the drama below.
Getting to Outside Lands:
Outside Lands Music Festival takes place in the heart of San Francisco inside Golden Gate Park. If you aren’t a local, I need to stress that getting to the city- let alone the park- the weekend of Outside Lands is difficult. You need to plan ahead! Here are some options to make your travel to the festival a little less stressful.
Option A- Buy a Shuttle Pass!
Outside Lands hires multiple buses to shuttle festival goers from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in the heart of San Francisco to the south entrance of Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park. The shuttles are coach style buses that offer a comfortable ride to and from the festival each day. The Shuttles begin running every day at 11 AM and continue to run all day with limited coverage from 5-8PM. The last shuttle leaves the festival site at 11:30 PM on Friday and Saturday and 11 PM on Sunday. The cost of the 3-DAY Shuttle Pass is $48.00.
I STRONGLY SUGGEST THIS OPTION!!! The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium is right off the major BART train line and once you are on the couch buses you don’t have to worry about anything. The buses drop you right off at the security line and you are home free to a fun festival time. Also, at the end of the night, I had absolutely no problem getting on a bus-which took me back to the train station! This was amazing since I live in Oakland and was commuting for the festival.
Option B- Public Transportation!
If you don’t want to pay a few extra bucks for the coach buses, I strongly suggest you rely on San Francisco’s public Transportation. You have a few different options, but a fun one I had friends try was SCOOT. Scoot allows festival goers to rent a scooter one-way for super cheap! This is nice because you won’t need to rely on the buses…. Plus, who doesn’t want to zip around a scooter in San Francisco. My friends reported that it was super easy and enjoyable.
One downside to relying on public transportation for getting to and from the festival is the night time rush. Outside Lands holds close to 200,000 attendees over the course of the 3-day weekend and everyone is trying to get an Uber, Lyft, Bus, Scoot, etc. Your best bet for getting home after the festival is to hop into a bar and wait out the 100,000’s of people.
The food. Oh, the Food!
What other music festival do you know that focuses on food as heavily as Outside Lands? Seriously, I’ll wait as you think about an answer!
Outside Lands not only provides its festival goers with a wide array of options in terms of food choices, but they also dedicate a WHOLE STAGE known as the GastroMagic Stage that mixes culinary magic with music. GastroMagic held performances by Big Freedia and her troupe, beckoning hungry fans to bounce, twerk, and shake for beignets. Beats dropped behind the culinary wizards of Action Bronson, Roy Choi, Chris Cosentino, Chris Bianco, Anna Weinberg, Jennifer Puccio, and Stuart Brioza. Some of San Francisco’s top tastemakers graced the stage, such as Woodhouse Fish Co., Belcampo, Pacific Cocktail Haven, Trou Normand, Guittard Chocolate, Humphry Slocombe, and Tacolicious. From funk to soul, the audience got down to local musicians and entertainers all while watching delicious food being prepared.
Like every good kitchen, GastroMagic shares its works in progress. The best part– during select programs– the first guests to arrive at the stage got to indulge in the performance’s creation at GastroMagic’s Tasting Table! YUMMY!
Outside Lands offers its festival goers a diverse and comprehensive Wine and Beer experience. Wine Land is tucked into the festival grounds and offers a Napa/ Sonoma getaway all while moments away from top named artist performances. Inside Wine Land, you can discover dozens of top regional winemakers pouring more than 120 wines. Pass through for the perfect wine or linger and chat with winemakers about everything from harvest to biodynamic practices to wine pairings- Wine Land has you covered!
Truth be told- I’ve never felt so classy at a music festival before. Wine Land was the perfect stop to hangout in between performances!
For those of you that aren’t Wine fans, Outside Lands has you covered with BEER LAND! A towering beer mug reading “Ye Ole Beer Lands,” beckons all festival goers who are also brew lovers into Beer Lands. This is Beer Lands fifth year at Outside Lands and it was more popular than ever. Beer Lands had more than 25 breweries, hailing from San Francisco, Napa, Sonoma, Half Moon Bay and Berkeley, that epitomize Northern California’s powerful craft beer culture.
Want a crafty IPA? Or a nice Cider— Go visit Beer Land in between your performances!
OH MY GOD— Beautiful people and insane fashion every direction you look! This festival is NOT your typical music festival when it comes to fashion. Everyone is dressed to impress in their alternative, hipster chic fashion. You wont find any “drug rugs” or “wook” tie dye t-shirts…The festival goers put on a fashion show for each other! In a true Northern California way, most attendees wore black leather jackets or altered jean jackets and they looked STUNNING!
Check out some pictures below that were snapped from the weekend.
Here is where I CONQUERED! The attendance records at this festival hit around 200,000 people and you can see/ feel it. I chose to attend this festival solo, so I could easily maneuver through the crowds with the goal of seeing every performance possible. If you haven’t attended a festival solo- I STRONGLY SUGGEST IT! It’s so liberating. I had about 10 friends around the festival, and in between sets I could easily find them and hangout.
Another HUGE SUGGESTION– Download the Outside Lands App before hitting the festival. Since this festival is so incredibly large performance times were changing. That being said, I could follow the changes on my app and adjust my desired locations. Most festival goers were lost without the app!
Some big MUSIC HIGHLIGHTS were:
1. GORILLAZ!!! To put my love for Gorillaz into perspective, you need to understand that I was in the throws of high school when Demon Days came out. That album defined my existence and my love only grew when Plastic Beach and Fall days hit the radio.That being said, being able to see Damon Albarn perform his newest hits along side his classics, such as “Feel Good, Inc” was monumental. I also need to mention that De La Sol, Pusha T, and many more shared the stage during the set!
2. Sleigh Bells– Alexis Krauss is the definition of female empowerment! She absolutely took over the stage and threw it down for the crowd! I weaseled my way up close and personal – and I wouldn’t have had it any other way!
3. Claude VonStroke– Or as locals call him “Father Claude”. I honestly have no words for his set. Just watch the recap video below and you will understand why EVERYONE IS OBSESSED!!
4.Lorde– Her performance brought a touch of mystery and a heap of class in Golden Gate Park. Her vocal power, as well as, performance ability was through the roof. I wish I could watch that set on repeat!
5. Metallica-Okay, I have to be honest- I’m not a Metallica fan but somehow I ended up deathly close to the front of the stage and had the time of my life!
6. The Who– This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I wasn’t about to miss it! The Who closed out the festival on Sunday night and they did a fantastic job! I immediately called my dad when the show ended and we gushed about how The Who have inspired us both and will continue to inspire many generations beyond us.