By Ian Robinson and Kat Metrovich
Thousands of festival goers flocked to Golden Gate Park last weekend for the fifth anual Outside Lands festival in San Francisco. Touting an impressive line-up attracting audiences young and old, the three day music, art, food and wine festival featured over 70 artists and 55 restaurants packed into a freezing and foggy park for a surreal and beautiful weekend unlike any other.
All photos by Moses Namkung unless otherwise noted.
The sold out festival started out with a freeze as concertgoers quickly realized the festival grounds was approximately 20 degrees colder than the rest of the city. Highlights of the day included a hilarious performance from Reggie Watts, a surprise cover of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” by Fitz and the Tantrums, a beautiful cover of Neil Young’s “After The Gold Rush” by Beck, and of course, the legend himself performing with Crazy Horse, including a five-minute one-chord experimental jam session.
Dressed in noticeably more climate-appropriate apparel, Saturday’s audience experienced the true definition of “bottleneck” as scheduling conflicts and the restricted Golden Gate Park walkways made traveling from stage to stage an hour-long ordeal at times. The day’s highlights included SF locals Thee Oh Sees absolutely killer set, Metallica’s fireworks, flame, and laser show, and the absolutely breathtaking scene during Sigur Rós’ set, surrounded by illuminated fog and trees. Quote of the day: “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a guy on acid throw up, but you’re about to.”
The final day rolled in like a freight train of talent to the main stage with headliners Jack White and Stevie Wonder blowing away the audience and further cementing their roles as some of music’s greatest showmans. Other highlights included Santigold’s incredibly cool and unsmiling backup dancers, Franz Ferdinand’s perfectly executed set, and of course overhearing one out of every ten people people mention that they were gonna roll for Skrillex.
OUTSIDE LANDS IN REVIEW:
By Kat Metrovich
Friday noonish, I walked to the media line, panicked to see it so long, and I heard Ian call my name from halfway up the line. It took nearly an hour to get in so we missed the early bands. However, I made it in time to see Reggie Watts, who always makes me laugh, dance, and say “Yeah!” Other highlights that day were Antibalas and Neil Young. I was really looking forward to Neil and Crazy Horse. Overheard: “He looks like someone’s grandpa!” Crazy Horse tore it up, making the Foo Fighters seem kind of tame. They performed a few of their hits, along with a few from the new album released in June. So Amazing! I met Adrian and Sam who were down from Vancouver covering it for the perfectly named blog “Some Kind Of Awesome”.
Saturday we made it in earlier. I seem doomed to miss Zola Jesus. I missed her at The Capitol Hill Block Party and Sasquatch. I was thrilled to enter the park while she was on. Unfortunately, Metallica had a huge horseshoe shape addition to the stage, so it was really hard to see her, and hard for her (or anyone else) to connect with the audience. Especially Tame Impala, who jokingly threatened to do a lap on Metallica’s stage.
They had tons of delicious food! I could not stop eating! Chips and ceviche, fresh melon, all kinds of chocolate, lamb meatballs with delicious sauce, pizza and MORE pizza, ice cream, burgers, fried mac n cheese sticks, cupcakes, tacos, fried chicken and waffles (!!), Vietnamese sandwiches… it was nuts!
My favorite new artist of the festival was MiMOSA, who I had to see because I LOVE mimosas! I did not expect to see a bangin’ electronic artist! Loved It! Michael Kiwanuka, a 24 year old British soul musician was also a new find.
Saturday’s highlight was absolutely Sigur Ros. They had the crowd absolutely spellbound. Nestled in Hellman Hollow the stage was magically lit, with mist and fog enveloping us all. Epic sound. Really spiritual. Towards the end I found a picnic table to lay on and stared up at the sky. Festival highlight! I floated home…
Sunday started with fun! (the band. Who were! Fun!) So was Franz Ferdinand. I’d met Danny Womack from Futurebirds at the media tent, with his gal Sidney and pal Luke. (I was totally confused with Futureheads who are from the U.K.!) Futurebirds are an Athens, GA roots rock band. Really fun, sweet folks! No more confusion! We met up at Santigold (super fun!) then at Jack White, and lastly Bomba Estereo . Very fun sweet folks.
All weekend, I’d wanted to see the Barbary where they had comedy, as well as the new Beer Lands.
The festival could not have have ended better than with Stevie Wonder. He drew all us frozen human popsicles together and made us warm and happy. This crowd ranged from 2-72, and EVERYBODY DANCED.
I can’t wait until next year!