This week I woke up sore and happy. After the pain of three days of music, friends, and even a little sun from time to time, I sat down to the monumental task of writing about Outside Lands. Like my thoughts on most things San Francisco, there is a lot more gray area than concrete opinions.
The festival brings together many of the things that make San Francisco amazing. There is food from local vendors, Northern California craft beer, wine, live art and of course music. But this isn’t a utopia and there were a lot of reminders of the current excesses of the Bay. For starters, everything is branded; notorious meal replacement startup Soylent even had a booth. The crowd skews toward the younger, less diverse tech scene, and like at Dolores Park, my soul hurt seeing all the trash around the park. (Thank you Outside Lands clean up teams.) This is 2015, so of course there was a police scandal when SFPD targeted and detaining local act Fantastic Negrito for allegedly selling a wristband.
At the end of the day, what makes or breaks a music festival is the caliber of music, and how it compares to Coachella (half joking, but this happens every year). Photographer Pedro Paredes-Haz and I set out to discover the best, most surprising acts of Outside Lands. If you are just looking for the good stuff stop reading now and go check out Pedro’s photos:
I always make a plan for Outside Lands, but I have found that you have to allow space to discover the acts you would never see on your own. Last year that meant Big Freedia and this year it meant… well, Big Freedia again. New rule, no Outside Lands without Big Freedia. After 3 days, a few beers and several miles of ground covered the following list appeared to me on golden tablets that I could only read with magic spectacles. Read More