In San Francisco, the foggy summer is host to the annual Outside Lands concert, held every August in Golden Gate park. The event takes place over one weekend, starting on Friday and ending on Sunday and draws crowds who enjoy an eclectic mix of music. This year’s headliners included artists from Duran Duran to Chance the Rapper to Lionel Richie to LCD Soundsystem, J. Cole, and Radiohead. But one great thing about the festival is that they also feature a good mix of lesser known artists, many of which are from the surrounding areas. Not only does Outside Lands feature musical artists, but ever since the 2012 festival they have featured a full comedy lineup as well. This year’s guests included Sasheer Zamata, Fred Armisen and many more.
I got the opportunity to attend Outside Lands this year and was blown away by the incredible talent that could be found happening all at once. One thing I noticed was the vast variety of styles and atmospheres gathered by each performer. At the festival there were young groups of friends, probably high school aged, there were older couples, and there were also middle aged couples with their kids. This diverse mix shows just how wide-ranging the artists featured were and how really, Outside Lands has something for each person who attends. This also affected the atmosphere of the crowd at different shows, and created a somewhat stratified and distinct attitude at each performance. Each show garnered a specific crowd mentality, which is usually seen at single artist or group concerts but it was interesting to see the differences walking from stage to stage. I think a lot of this had to do with the attitude of the performer, and the music people came to the festival for, since as I mentioned the lineup was incredibly eclectic. To give a glimpse into this, following is a shortened list of some of the artists who performed each day.
On Friday the lineup featured artists such as Whitney, Marian Hill, Ra Ra Riot, Vulfpeck, Foals, Miike Snow, Låplsey, Duran Duran, Grimes, and J. Cole but my day ended with LCD Soundsystem, playing at the Lands End stage located in Polo Field at the West end of the festival. Saturday’s lineup included Years & Years, Vince Staples, Big Grams (a collaboration between Big Boi and Phantogram), Con Brio, Air, Sufjan Stevens, Halsey, Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals, Zedd, and Radiohead. On Saturday there was even a show by Bay Area hip hop legends E-40 and Warren G which was added a few days before the festival. Sunday’s lineup highlighted artists including The Oh Hellos, Snakehips, Third Eye Blind, Kehlani, Chance The Rapper, Major Lazer, Miguel, Lana Del Rey and Lionel Richie.One of my favorite performances was that of the band Con Brio, who played on Saturday, the second day of the festival. The energy felt by the performers was mirrored by the crowd as those listening took a ride from funky to serious to sexy and bold. Every member of the band was having fun and you could tell. The performance ended with a bang as the lead singer, Ziek McCarter did backflips for the crowd, each one fueled by more cheers and applause.
Another great performance was by Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals. While the atmosphere was a lot different at this performance, it was just as intense and felt by every person in the crowd. The atmosphere here was a lot louder and intense, which fit the music just as the other performances. I could feel the high energy of the crowd as Anderson .Paak started off his set solo with some fast paced beats. After the first few songs, his band the Free Nationals came out, and after another few he started to play the drums. The crowd was singing along and cheering throughout each song.
Overall the experience was incredible and I can’t wait to see some of these artists in solo concerts or upcoming festivals. Outside Lands was a great opportunity to see the wide variety of music and how such a diverse lineup can bring people who might never otherwise be at the same show together. One of the huge takeaways from Outside Lands is that no matter what kind of music floats your boat, you can enjoy it with many others and maybe even find something new and out of your normal set to appreciate. I’m sure my feelings represent many others when I say I left the long weekend happy, tired, and excited for what’s to come next in the bustling world of music.