As festival season starts to wind down and back to school is way too close for comfort the 11th annual Outside Lands music and arts festival was a perfect escape. Outside Lands is located in picture perfect Golden Gate Park, one of San Francisco’s greatest treasures. The cool San Francisco weather was refreshing, and unlike any other California music festival. Here’s a little recap of my weekend:
With six different stages and a wide range of artists, there was never a dull moment. I think that the hardest part was having to decide which performances to watch. Although, the schedule builder on the Outside Lands app really helped ease the planning stress.
Some of the most stand out performances in my opinion were, Billie Eilish, Odesza, Mac Demarco, Jamie XX, CHVRCHES, Florence + The Machine, Lizzo, Illenium, Hobo Johnson & the LoveMakers, Bon Iver, and Rainbow Kitten Surprise. I have so much to say about many of the amazing artists but two of them really spoke to me and I think their messages were worth sharing.
If you don’t know Lizzo you should, she introduced herself to the crowd by saying “I’m all about body positivity and self love. No matter what the trending tweet is love your damn self”. The rest of her set included a twerk tutorial from herself and her backup dancers, The Big Girls. As well as getting the entire crowd to chant “I am my inspiration”. Lizzo had the crowd in the palm of her hands the entire performance. I’ve never seen a stage so actively involved in dancing and singing along. Lizzo is the definition of a performer and her vocals are unreal.
Later that night Florence + The Machine also spoke words of love and positivity but in a completely different way. Florence asked everyone in the crowd to hold hands with the people next to them, even if they were strangers. She told us not just to listen to the music but to hear it with our soul. Florence dedicated Dog Days to “anyone who’s had a messy teens or late twenties”. She told the crowd, “I really do believe in you. Just do what you can cause I promise you the little things, they matter, and you matter.” Later on in her set, before singing, Florence asked everyone in the crowd to put their phones away so they could release everything and be in a safe space while doing so. Not only did she put on an entertaining and interactive show, but Florence’s vocals the entire performance were stunningly beautiful and captivating.
Both of these performances stood out as something that made Outside Lands special. Having artists that many people look up to, with so much positivity to spread to a crowd of people is important and lasting. Words like those aren’t easily forgotten even after the festival is over.
A huge factor that sets Outside Lands apart from other festivals is the art. Almost everywhere you looked there was a different massive art installment. Each year, different artists, often local ones, create a live art piece that is used to decorate the fences at Golden Gate Park. This means there’s no shortage of backdrops for Instagram photos and each year you can pose with your favorite piece again.
As for food, there were so many options it was difficult to decide what to eat each day. As soon as I walked into the area of Lands End the smell of food was wafting through the air. Lining the entire entrance to the main stage were local food booths as far as I could see. To be specific, there were over 200 menu options from the best Bay Area restaurants. Day one I ate a Fried chicken Sandwich from Proposition Chicken. Day two I tried something a little more adventurous, a ramen burger from Nombe. Both were amazing and now I’m really excited to eat at the actual restaurants next time I visit San Francisco.
If the Lands End food wasn’t enough, spread out along the festival grounds were a plethora of themed culinary offerings. Examples of those were; Wine Lands, Cheese Lands, Beer Lands, and our local Sierra Nevada Brewery even had a Beer Camp tent that served a beer specifically brewed for Outside Lands. I was incredibly impressed with how many vegetarian, vegan, and even gluten free options there were throughout the festival. Best of all was the focus on being sustainable. All of the items that food and drinks were served with were compostable. Much like Chico State, for the first time this year, Outside Lands was free of plastic straws throughout the festival grounds. Although compostable paper straws were available by request.
Luckily for everyone, the dates for Outside Lands 2019 have been set. Mark your calendars for August 9-11, 2019 and be sure to follow their social media accounts for the lineup release as well as other updates.