Date: August 10th-12th
Location: San Francisco, CA
Size: 65,000+ (way too many)
Years Running: 5
This lineup offers some big names but it is so diverse that you don’t actually really please any of your demographic. Metallica fans would only be drawn there for Metallica. EDM fans would get an act or two a day that they really like. I like a variety but there needs to be some sort of demographic that you are trying to please.
Crowd: The crowd for Outside Lands is great but there were just too many of us. Everyone is super nice and meeting people is very easy. The crowd did a great job with dealing with the over crowding which shows how easy going everyone is.
Music: The DJs and bands did not seem very excited to be there compared to the other festivals I’ve attended. It must have had something to do with the sound or the cold weather. My personal highlights included Portugal. The Man, Big Gigantic, Of Monsters and Men, Jack White, Stevie Wonder, and Electric Guest. Metallica was a ton of fun as well.
Organization: Outside Lands was not a very good music festival. First off, they oversold the festival by a large margin. Golden Gate park is not meant to hold that many people. The stages all have one main entrance and stages are not very wide so the end result is an over crowded stage. I have never watched shows from as far back as you do at Outside Lands. This wouldn’t have been as big of a deal if the sound was ok. It wasn’t. The sound was awful for the first two days of the festival. My biggest pet peeve at a music festival is waiting in line for bathrooms. Of the 13 festivals I have attended this year prior to Outside Lands I haven’t waited in lines for bathrooms. Outside Lands had bathroom waits of 15-45 minutes. It was so bad that thousands of attendees decided to just pee inside the fair grounds. What are we paying for? How hard is it to get the right amount of bathrooms?
Stages: The stages at Outside Lands were cookie cutter festival stages. There wasn’t anything unique about them. You also couldn’t see from anywhere for some reason. I think the terrain sloped up which made the people in front of your taller than other festivals. Combine this with poor sound and the stages left a lot to be desired.
Food: The food at Outside Lands was the highlight of the weekend for me. Outside Lands brings in a really wide assortment of food, wine and beer vendors which allows you to plan your perfect meal. There is no better festival food than the Korean Tacos but I also had a great burrito and one of the better steak sandwiches I have ever had.
What makes this festival special? The food, the crowd and the beautiful setting make Outside Lands a fun festival. Outside Lands also has the best cell service of any festival I have ever attended. I also have to hand it them, they did a great job with encouraging people to recycle. I love to see that from a festival.
What could be improved? Outside Lands has to reduce the number of tickets they sell. An over sold festival is not fun to attend and this festival was a perfect example. They also have turn the sound up. It was so quiet at some points that you could the conversations of the people around you over the music. This is not what we are paying for.
Overall Rating: 1.5 stars. Fix it! $240 and $9 beers is too much money to have to deal with bathroom lines.