Outside Lands Music & Arts festival in San Francisco is massive. This year was a record-breaking crowd that was served the finest once again from the people of Grandstand Media. I definitely felt like I was home again being back at this summer festival for my 2nd year in a row. This San Francisco 3-day event is always a mixed bag of goodies and is well known for offering one of the most diverse line-ups in music. Six stages and artwork displays come alive beneath towering eucalyptus trees in the gorgeous lush green forest that surrounds Golden Gate Park. This year our features were Lil Wayne, Blink 182, Rainbow Girls, Yaeji, Cupcakke, Childish Gambino, Kacey Musgraves, and Paul Simon (with special guest Bob Weir).
The beauty of Outside Lands is that there is so much to entertain just about anyone. This year Outside Lands made history as the first festival in California to offer their concert goers a place to purchase and consume marijuana products with Grass Lands, a large cannabis education section at the festival.
For 3 days it was a home of good vibes, good music, and all around good everything.
My favorite part of the festival was naturally Grass Lands. It was so refreshing to see all the MMJ booths and vendors with quality product and interactive educational displays. The Bubble Tea Party is also worth a quick mention, it is a psychedelic wooded wonderland where you can sit down and enjoy a cup of the finest tea or coffee and sit with monstrous glow in the dark mushrooms, on couches and chairs that sat above rugs with wooden tables resting on the grounds creating the ultimate colorful chill experiences in the forest. Psychedelic lit up flower arts of enormous size hung down from the trees above and there was performance art including a bubble fairy, jugglers, and singers dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatters tea party.
In addition to comedy, there was Beer Camp, Wine Lands, Cheese Lands, and plenty of food surrounding each stage. The best vegan varieties were near the Lands End stage, otherwise it was pretty much an apple or banana outside of this area. The Vegan Chili Cheese Fries were the most enjoyed out of all vegan dishes pictured below.
On top of the main stage (Lands End) there was a gorgeous display of the Golden Gate Bridge made up of many different colored lights, some of which pointed way up high when the sun went down. It was a phenomenal a sight to behold from any angle.
Blink 182- Just before Lil Wayne was set to go onstage at the main stage (Lands End), I met up with Mark Hoppus who I hadn’t seen for at least 20 years. When Blink 182 hit the stage, they sounded great. Original members Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker gave it their all and Mark was nice enough to pose with a Jerk Of All Trades postcard that he kept afterwards. They played a 21 song set of nostalgia and ended their performance with “Dammit.”
Lil Wayne entered the stage 25 minutes late, however, he went right into his music and performed his well known hits as well as a slew of songs off his latest album “The Carter V”. He was backed by a live band, and DJ T Lewis. He gave the crowd a lot of thanks, and his stage was filled with high energy.
Yaeji an electronic artist from Brooklynn, New York looked like a schoolgirl that gets straight A’s but knows how to DJ a mean electronic set, and that’s exactly what she did on Friday August 9th at the Sutro stage. Beginning with “Feel it Out”, she rocked the stage on the microphone and with her turntables throughout the entire show.
Childish Gambino broke the record of attendance at Outside Lands and began his set in the middle of the crowd on a platform. “Put your phones down, it’s not that I don’t want you to take pictures of me. I’m beautiful, but I want you to enjoy the moment. Be here with me cause this is church tonight, you’re doing something special and I need your energy for this let’s try something out,” he said, and then went into Summertime.
With pure energy and heart the electric folk trio that is Rainbow Girls played an incredible set which included a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “Boots” on the Hazy Sierra Nevada stage.
Cupcakke (whose real name is Elizabeth Eden Harris) who is known for being nasty and not holding anything back, began her set talking dirty about how cold it was at Outside Lands, but that she had her pussy to keep her warm.
Kacey Musgraves looked incredible with a tight black bodysuit and rainbow arm links and enthusiastically stated into the mic “I Fucking love this festival so much!” She was smiling, positive and beautiful and did an incredible cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I will Survive”. “Ultimately I just want everybody that’s here on this fine afternoon to just feel the hell outta themselves and enjoy themselves, I want you to just forget about anything remotely negative that could be going on in your life right now. Let’s just have fun together. I could really use it myself today so you give me your best energy and I’m gonna give you mine.”
Then came the moment we were all waiting for: Paul Simon. Closing out the festival, Paul knows how to do it properly, complete with multiple guitars, and yMusic – a sextet chamber ensemble from New York City who assisted him on a few select songs while fully capturing the magic that made him an exceptional artist in the rock era. “Thank you so much,” he humbly began. “It is a pleasure to be here at Golden Gate Park. Grateful for the beautiful night and for the moon, just to be able to play music with my favorite players and I want to tell you that all the profits from my show tonight go to the San Francisco Parks Alliance and the Friends of the Urban Forest. I tell you that because I’m hoping that some of you maybe all of you will join in these efforts with these groups and many other worthy groups. We can join in to save our planet.“ He then apropos to the sentiment of the moment, went into “The Boy in the Bubble.” Paul Simon performed 3 songs with yMusic including “Rene and Georgette Magritte with their Dog after the War,” and “Can’t Run But,” and then he said on the microphone, “This song I wrote a long time ago. Tonight I reclaim my lost child,” and went into ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water ” a Simon & Garfunkel cover. Assisted by good friend and San Francisco native Bob Weir of Grateful Dead and Dead and Company fame on “The Boxer,” Simon performed three Simon & Garfunkel songs. Two were during his 5 song encore. Paul performed 2 encores, and ended the night with “The Sound of Silence.” It left chills all over my body, and we all went home. It was an incredible treat considering Paul performed for charity after already being retired. He could have performed another 3 encores and we all would have eaten it up.
Outside Lands is a must for anyone looking to experience a great time in the forest surroundings with live art you can hear, music you can see, food you can taste – and ALL the feels.
Article & Photographs by: Maggie St.Thomas