Last weekend, San Francisco’s Outside Lands celebrated its tenth anniversary inside Golden Gate Park. The Bay Area’s longtime favorite music festival brought in some of its most beloved performers from years past, as well as some friends Ranger Dave has never met before.
A sold-out crowd of more than 210,000 fans roamed the park throughout the three-day festival, enjoying the best of music, local food, arts, and its overall atmosphere.
Spread across seven stages, the festival’s ten-year anniversary delivered a memorable set of musical guests, comedians and celebrity chefs, alongside the tallest of trees, colorful lights and Karl the Fog.
Despite a few setbacks, including schedule changes and cancelled performances, overall conditions of the festival were just what fans have come to expect in ten years at Golden Gate Park. Of course, the big question is, what will the festival do to keep people coming back?
Below, we broke down a few highlights from each day of the festival, followed by a brief photo gallery, which includes a stellar video of Solange’s “Cranes in the Sky.” Enjoy, until next year!
Friday’s highlights included Kali Uchis’ first performance at Outside Lands, during which the Colombian singer debuted a rendition of Elvis Crespo’s “Suavemente,” in addition to fan favorites, such as “T.Y.W.I.G.” and “Know What I Want.” Shortly after, Tove Lo made her own debut on the Polo Field, where crowds were treated to a tantalizing performance by the Swedish singer.
However, one of the biggest stories of the day came with disappointment, as A Tribe Called Quest cancelled their set due to unforeseen travel issues.
Of course, the show must go on. With one of the rarest sightings of the weekend, the Gorillaz made a live appearance, leaving their 2-D characters in the background as visual support to a star-studded performance. Among the surprise guests, De La Soul, Little Dragon, Del the Funky Homosapien and Pusha T all came out to perform their collaborations with the band. Following a seven-year break from the stage, Damon Albarn and his crew made sure each second of their performance was as mystifying as the band’s own legacy, bursting with sincere energy.
In most cases, Saturday was set to be one of the most relaxing days at the festival. Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra took over the Barbary Stage early in the evening with a special back-to-back set, personal as one would imagine.
Over on the Twin Peaks stage, Thundercat and Kaytranada kept things funky in the middle of the day with chest-pounding bass lines loud enough to not hear yourself think. As night fell, Empire of the Sun took over the Twin Peaks stage with an electric performance full of costume changes fit for a band that is by all means, “out of this world.”
On the Lands End stage, San Rafael’s own legendary band, Metallica, took on Outside Lands with a confident rock-star performance, few could duplicate. Tearing through their classic discography with the help of some major pyrotechnic displays, the night was punctuated as the band ended their set with a fireworks show towards the end of “Enter Sandman.”
By Sunday, most people found their groove and knew the necessary grounds to cover in order to ease the difficult decisions. While some chose to witness a wild food exposition with Action Bronson on the Gastro Magic stage, others found themselves nestled in the warm mass of fans eager to witness Bleachers’ set on the Lands End stage.
Soon after, Young the Giant would perform one of the biggest performances of the weekend, with hits such as “Cough Syrup” and “Something To Believe In” heard throughout the park. Considering it was not their first performance at Outside Lands, it would be no surprise to see them headlining in the near future.
Also in the future is the subject of diversifying lineups with more artists in tune with the growing crowds. With Sunday’s final time slots came the decision each festival attendee had to make. Would one choose the electronic set of Above and Beyond, a legendary rock performance by The Who, or the R&B serenity of Solange? My selection resulted in the latter option, for which I was rewarded.
Solange made a statement no other artist could have accomplished this weekend. Ensuing the energy possessed in her latest album, “A Seat at the Table,” the R&B singer mastered her stage presence with her own choreography, a full red-suited band and a stage set as artistic as the emotions propelled in the album. With the ultimate message of self-love, Solange and company brought vigorous dance moves to compliment the elegant sentiments her lyrics carry. Speaking specifically to people of color, at a time when such messages are necessary, Solange was completely herself, on full display and without an ounce of remorse – as beautiful as cranes in the sky.
Photos and video by Cesar Alexander.