Outside Lands is a three-day music festival held every August in Golden Gate Park. Despite its often cold and foggy weather, the festival has attracted tens of thousands of people per day since its first year in 2008 to enjoy gourmet food and craft beer, world-class music, and hipster ambiance.
This year, like every year, the festival presents some big name headliners. The top act on Friday is LCD Soundsystem, an electronic dance band that has recently reunited after its disbandment five years ago. Saturday night offers one of this year’s biggest draws: Radiohead, an English rock band that has been around since the 80’s. Spotify calls Radiohead “something more than a band,” and a “touchstone for everything that is fearless and adventurous in rock.” Sunday is the festival’s traditional slot for a “legacy act;” this year’s is R&B artist Lionel Richie, one of the most commercially successful musicians of all time.
Another part of the Outside Lands tradition is the inevitable criticism of its lineup. This year, people have complained that the three headline acts are too outdated. However, you do not have to go far down the lineup to find current chart-topping artists. J. Cole, Lana Del Rey, Major Lazer, Chance the Rapper, Kehlani, and more will all be making appearances at Outside Lands. Getting a good spot for these popular acts, without sacrificing the opportunity to enjoy a $25 donut cheeseburger and a visit to the port-a-potty, requires careful planning.
Although it is always exciting to have the experience of seeing your favorite artists live, one of the true joys of Outside Lands is discovering the smaller acts that dominate the first few hours of each day. A variety of different kinds of musicians will be performing before the dense afternoon crowds. Acts like the jazz- and funk-inspired groups Vulfpeck and Hiatus Kaiyote, electronic duo Snakehips, and multitalented singer/rapper/producer Anderson Paak could definitely be worth getting an early start to see.
Whether you’re a dad excited to see Duran Duran (again) or a kid looking to turn up at Vince Staples, Outside Lands has something to suit all tastes. And even if you don’t like music at all, it’s still worth going just for the food.