Outside Lands Tenth Anniversary Round Up

Overcast but always fun, the main Lands End stage of Outside Lands is pictured before the music lovers arrive. Photo Credit: Arturo Hilario

The decade old music, food and booze festival continues to bring in great mainstream and upcoming acts to the cool fields of Golden Gate Park

Arturo Hilario
El Observador

The early August event that takes over the Polo Fields and surrounding areas of Golden Gate Park and turns it into an art and music wonderland returned for its tenth anniversary last weekend, and although there were some hiccups with the lineup, the party kept rolling, and even had Henry Rollins included.

One of the upgrades this year was the beefed-up Barbary Coast comedy and stand up tent which was renovated and moved into a bigger space at the Outside Lands (OSL) grounds. This was my first happy place of the weekend, as Henry Rollins, known for his time with the seminal punk band Black Flag, proceeded to tell us about himself and his experiences. During his set, he revealed a lot about himself and the way he sees the world, mostly in a very positive light meant for experiencing, and in a very earnest and humorous way. It was a chance attendance for me, and it unknowingly became a bucket list item I didn’t know I needed to get done.  

Navigating the festival was easy as it has been since I began attending, as long as you have a map you’re set. Although I’ll always prefer a physical map, to take notes on who I want to see and get a feel for where things are located, the app which also features alerts on changes and your chosen set times is a good alternative. I felt the app was less buggy than its previous incarnation, and also had the map feature which essentially overlays the nice design of the OSL map over Google Maps and lets you figure out where you are, where you’re going, and what foods you want to stuff in your face.

Speaking of stuffing faces, OSL’s food continues to raise the bar for what to expect at a music event. This isn’t hot dogs and heat lamp burgers, and it’s never been that way at OSL. Established eateries that were there included Humphry Slocombe, Rocko’s Ice Cream Tacos, Curry Up Now and Chairman Truck. I think my favorite food was the Filipino Veggie Pancit Noodles and Shanghai Pork Lumpias from FOB Kitchen though. I will scour the Bay Area for those again.

Now onto the performances. Artists did not disappoint, with my highlights being: Porches, Kali Uchis, the legendary Gorillaz, K. Flay, Solange, and Schoolboy Q. I watched Lorde’s set after the weekend, insuring my beliefs that I should have seen her live, but such is life. You win some great performances, you miss some.

One bad news item I will add for this year’s lineup was the rescheduling, then outright cancellation of legendary hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest. Friday was supposed to be the double whammy of Tribe, followed by Gorillaz, but unfortunately it was not meant to be.

Their first cancellation was due to “travel” issues, but when they ultimately canceled again Saturday it took a few days and a statement from the group for them to apologize and add, “We wanted to play for you and we wanted to honor Phife’s wife in their hometown. Unfortunately, everything did not come together before the closing curfew. For that, we are deeply sorry. We look to correct this and regain your confidence.

Phife Dawg, one of the members of the group, passed away last March from complications related to diabetes. This tour, including the Outside Lands set, was touted as their final world tour, with this being the tail end, and the last performance ever in the United States. So, safe to say, there were a lot of upset fans, I was one of them ( :/ ). But I cannot imagine such a group feeling whole missing one of their key pieces, and I hope the best for them in their future endeavors, even if they don’t reunite under the Tribe name.

I do believe though that thanks needs to be given to the promoters of OSL, Another Planet, which were able to make the smoothest transition and changes possible with sudden losses of headliners this past weekend. Great job on that end.

Regardless of the rollercoaster that A Tribe Called Quest’s cancellation caused for the festival (and again, me), it turned out to be full of highlights and fun, it’s hard not to have a smile on your face when you’re amongst good music and the cool air of San Francisco, drinking an IPA and looking out at the lit-up tree line of Golden Gate Park. Only at Outside Lands. Until next year.