Outside Lands: Rockin' the Bay



For those who missed the mind-blowing mud and music of Woodstock and others who would never willingly pitch a tent atop the hot, dusty playa at Burning Man, there is the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival.

Sure parking or MUNI to Golden Gate Park did get tricky. But once there, festival-goers (which ran the gamut from bankers to bohos) stepped into a wonderland of musical delights.

In spite of the NIMBY-ists and nay-sayers who proclaim that park belongs only to them, we say, a big and enthusiastic two-thumbs up for last weekend’s Outside Lands!

Even better? The Recreation & Parks Department benefits from the festival’s “rent” of GGP and a portion of OSL tickets sales may well reap the cash-strapped department almost a cool $1 mil.

The three-day festival featured more than 100 bands and numerous entertainments in the stellar setting. Though attendance was down from last year, it was all smooth sailing.

Produced locally by Another Planet Entertainment, founder-president Gregg Perloff was cool as a cucumber as a sea of people slowly moved between bands on the Polo Field below him.

Very few crashers attempted to scale the festival’s fenced-in perimeters, very few people got busted for misbehavior and the musical acts moved like clockwork hewing to the ambitious schedule.

Cool structures pay homage to the history of GGP and the original Outside Lands of SF

As important? Lines for the hundreds of Port-a-Potties were relatively short.

We only attended part of the Festival on Saturday. And a big thanks to my generous hosts, Sabrina and Jeremy Scherer, who tricked me out with one of their VIP tickets -- the only way to fly.

Fortunately celebrity fodder was provided by my Backstage Spies, who were lucky enough to wander the entire event unimpeded because of their snazzy burgundy-and-yellow All Access pass.

Tidbit #1: Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie was very undiva-like backstage, saying “hello” and visiting with friends and fans alike.

Tidbit #2: Pearl Jam (who, we’re told bunked at the Ritz-Carlton and dined one night at Murray Circle Restaurant in Cavallo Point) were a bit more reserved. None but their inner circle was allowed near the stage during their rollicking set. Which, let the record show, I am totally bummed I missed.

Within the musicians’ VIP Lounge, musicians mingled with each other and wandered around amongst other, non-musical guests. But not Pearl Jam. As soon as their last chord sounded, Eddie Vedder & Co. made a beeline from the stage to a waiting convoy of black Escalades. Which were led out of the park by a police escort.

And that, folks, is why little kids dream of becoming rock stars.

Whether one actually attended the concert or watched the live YouTube stream featuring the majority of top OSL headliners (except for Pearl Jam which refused permission), everyone had something to say.

From concert-goers moaning that the music wasn’t loud enough to nearby neighbors who Tweeted the music was way too loud. While others enjoyed a (free) show from their rooftops.

But there was lots (and lots) of other stuff to do, too: nosh on delish SF restaurant victuals, shop for hippie-inspired art, sing-along in the Xbox Beatles Rockband Lounge, practice your swing at the MLB Road Show, sip the nectar of local vintners in the Wine Haven, learn about Green Living at the Eco Lands exhibition, (yet another) organic Farmers’ Market, groove in the Heineken Lounge or sniff a whiff of flavored oxygen in the hipster Intel Tent.

We didn’t really get what Intel had to do with the festival. Let alone, oxygen. Turns out Intel served as the “Official Processor Sponsor” for powering the festival’s CrowdFire, a music-themed online community where concert-goers could interact by uploading their OSL photos, text, tweets and video.

But what Outside Lands does really, really well is celebrate up-and-coming artists and pays tender homage to the culture of our own unique San Francisco sound.

One of our favorite stops was The Barbary, a turn-of-the-century wooden “tent” imported from Belgium which featured oak-framed mirrors and stained glass windows. Hosted by the Vau de Vire Society, a rotating cast of cabaret-style acts channeled the former rough-and-tumble naughtiness of our own Barbary Coast.

But best in show? The festival itself. Every inch of grass provided pure eye-candy -- from primo people-watching to OSL’s colorful EssEff-inspired graphics (bison, windmills, Fillmore Auditorium-era signage) and cool structures sprinkled across the vast green which encompassed all three music venues.

Outside Lands proved itself a real city-centric affair; a sort of love letter to San Francisco. All wrapped up in our ever-changing micro-climates which featured record-breaking heat, sparkling blue skies and a final, shivering kiss of summer fog.

Check out more photos below

We couldn't see her onstage but that's Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas on the screen

Rec & Parks Commissioner Meagan Levitan with her husband Dale Carlson and their daughter Jacqueline

Members of Gooferman and Fou Fou Ha

My hosts, Sabrina and Jeremy Scherer

The Barbary featured local cabaret-style acts in this historic structure imported from Belgium

Members of the Yard Dogs Road Show inside the Barbary Hall

Danielle DuCaine and Matthew Goudeau, Director of the Mayor's Office of Protocol

Recycling containers dotted the landscape

Martha Cohen, Special Events Coordinator for the Mayor's Office

Groovin' at the Heineken Tent

Peter Wilson and Cameron Phleger

Happy OSL Staff

All Along the Porta-Potty Watchtower

Sarah Ballard, Olivia Scanlon, Tracy Scully, Abigail Maher and Sheila McCarthy

Interior of the VIP tent

Mike Dovey, Regina Callan and Jen Snyder

The Lands End main stage on the Polo Field in GGP


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