Our journey through day three of Outside Lands began with a heartfelt performance on the main stage from the original queen of soul and gospel music, Mavis Staples. Her set was packed with so many songs that have helped her career take flight throughout the years such as “Build A Bridge,” “Change,” and “We Get By” but her performance was about so much more than just hearing her hits, the ambiance of her performance was electrifying and the 80-year-old Staples simply put on a clinic on how music keeps us all young.
The hydra of entertainment and stimulation that is Outside Lands will always find a way to entertain all who visit. From music to food, to comedy, to Cannabis, and more, there is something for everyone who comes to this festival. Early on Saturday, we stopped by the Barbary tent to see the standup bill that had been put together. Comedian Jimmy O. Yang, known for his roles on “Silicon Valley” and “Crazy Rich Asians” headlined an afternoon of comedy that was defined by equal parts observational and racial humor.
Outside Lands 2019 came and went, and the 12th year of the festival brought with it a wide array of emotions for all to step through the gates. This year’s Outside Lands featured their most polarizing line up to date. The general feel around the Bay Area in the months leading up to the festival was you either thought this was the strongest year yet, or adamantly detested everything it stood for, there was no in between.
Outside Lands is in its 9th year but you wouldn’t know to look at it. In some ways it feels like a brand new festival, while in others it’s clear that it’s far from amateur. The smooth operations, from getting fans through the gate without much wait to having eco-friendly workers to help navigate which bin to put your trash in (compost, recycling, or landfill), are just a few pieces of proof that Outside Lands really has their shit together.
There’s a reason everything tends to come back around. Yes, people love nostalgia and hindsight is 20/20, but the consistent resurgence of past trends stems from one thing: a lot of things were just better “back then.” Despite the technological progress made year after year, many photographers still swear up and down by film. Even with the endless possibilities laid out by virtual reality, millions of people still turn to Pokemon for entertainment.
Another year of Outside Lands flew by this weekend, and like it does every year, went out with its crown held high. Despite temperatures in the 50s and the festival’s pricey location in the heart of $an Francisco, droves of music lovers flocked to Golden Gate Park for the 8th year in a row to dance the cold gray away. With a top notch lineup for music, food, beer, and wine, it’s hard to imagine a single fan went home unsatisfied.
It’s not always easy to get to a musical festival the minute the doors open. Between work and friends traveling from different pockets, and especially if alcohol is involved the night (or brunch) before, it gets even harder by the day. When your lineup is as stacked as Outside Lands’ though, you’d be a fool to show up late. Here are five acts that are sure to make the hustle worth it.
1. Speedy Ortiz, Friday 1:30 @ Panhandle
“Buy a flower crown, they’re tacky!”
As soon as I heard the guy selling flower crowns charmingly belittling his own product, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Despite the cool fog that hung over the weekend, taking in the towering eucalyptus trees that encase Golden Gate Park, I felt warm. Back at Outside Lands for my third year, it almost instantly felt like I was home again.