Outside Lands Music Festival is San Francisco’s largest music festival production. Located in Golden Gate Park, the grass fields are commonplace for music festivals. However, Outside Lands is the largest music festival I have had the pleasure of attending.
For three days Gold Gate Park is the home of 5+ stages and more than 50,000 fans. The festival organizers do an amazing job of completely transforming and manipulating the park to accommodate the festival and its fans. Fences are placed along the paths to protect the natural wildlife and to keep the intrusive wild drunks on the path. Platforms are created along the polo fields in order to introduce VIP viewing areas. During the weeks leading up to the festival, the tunnels are painted with murals from local graffiti artists. Everything about the festival has been considered. Instead of just dropping stages in the park, Outside Lands actually transforms the park to facilitate the event. When you see it in 2018 you’ll agree that the production value is amazing.
Outside Lands has 5+ stages, that all have music playing at the same time. Thus, with the intensity of the scheduling, you are guaranteed to miss a lot of performances. However, FOMO aside, I was quite impressed with how professional the organizers were about controlling sound bleed from the stages. I was unable to hear any of the music from side stages while I was trying to enjoy the performances on the main stage.
This year’s lineup was great, I heard music from Metallica, The Who, Gorillaz, Lorde, Alt-J, Cage The Elephant, Fleet Foxes, Rebelution, Young The Giant, Little Dragon, Thundercat, Warpaint, Real Estate, Rac, K.flay, Sofi Tukker, Foxygen, How To Dress Well, and Joseph.
Every festival has its pros and cons. Here are a few of my thoughts on Outside Lands 2017. Some things could be fixed for next year, others are just part of the culture.
- The festival booked a lot of different kinds of music. This year you could experience everything from Metalica to The Who
- The festival offered bus transportation to and from the entrance in Golden Gate Park
- Local transportation company Scoot did a great job of having electric scooters available for festival attendees
- The festival had locations outside of the fence that fans could listen for free
- I had to look at the map a lot to find the stages. I felt like a tourist
- There are no food options close to the festival, and the festival food was expensive. I spent $14 for a turkey, apple, brie sandwich with no sides. (It was amazing, but not $14 amazing)
- There were a lot of drunk teenage fans
- A lot of people were peeing in areas other than the designated restroom locations