Outside Lands cements itself as one of the world’s best music festivals…

Who would have thought that a talented group of old-school concert promoters would take their Outside Lands festival concept and turn it into one of the world’s most revered and anticipated summer festivals? Additionally, turn it into San Francisco’s biggest destination spot for music lovers of all genres in less than a decade?  This year’s festival, which took place August 5 – 7th, was by far one of the most memorable, enjoying an early sell-out with over 70,000 people a day flocking to beautiful Golden Gate Park for 3 days of amazing music, cool attractions and just a positive unified feeling of peace amongst young and old from all walks of life.  Outside Lands has become more than just a music event for locals, it’s a tastemaker’s mix of some of San Francisco’s best of the best; including gourmet food and food trucks, signature beers on tap, wine tasting, comedy shows and art installations all spread out perfectly throughout Golden Gate Park turning the massive treasure into a giant party.  From the minute you walked in you could feel the good vibes and it was clear that after 9 years, local organizers Another Planet have really taken the festival to new heights, rooting their position as one of the best music festivals in the world.  The music lineup this year could have easily been taken from any hipster’s playlist ranging from some of EDM’s brightest stars to indie – rock icons and old school legends to R & B’s and Hip Hop’s new superstars, there was something for everyone.

Some of the highlights included:  A recently reunited LCD Soundsystem who brought just the right mix of James Murphy’s bizarre showmanship and catchy tunes as fans danced to songs like “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House.”  Radiohead, who performed at the original Outside Land’s was a fan favorite blending their atmospheric rock with experimental grooves and with one of the best lighting and video shows of the weekend to back up Thom Yorke’s vocals, it was magical.  Duran Duran sounded great and brought a nostalgia of good vibes and great sing-along songs that included an entertaining David Bowie tribute as well as a very impressive performance of “Ordinary World.”  Con Brio, a newcomer who played the Panhandle stage, could have easily held down one of the bigger stages with their energetic and extremely crowd-pleasing set led by a breakout performance by front-man Ziek McCarter.  EDM superstars Major Laser turned the entire Polo Fields into a massive “rave” dance party with their electro meets reggae monster beats as Diplo crowd surfed inside a giant plastic ball.

When Lionel Richie was announced, some questioned whether the legendary balladeer would be too sleepy for the festival, but his set of classics which included Commodore tracks as well as many upbeat solo tunes, covers, and a fresh band was a pleasant surprise. He commanded the crowd with the presence of a true superstar belting out hit after hit including, “Easy,” “Still,” “Hello,” “Brick House,” and more.  Lana Del Rey who performed opposite Lionel Richie on the Twin Peaks stage drew one of the biggest crowds and it was clear that she needed a bigger field to hold eager fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the melodramatic pop-star.  Other highlights came from R & B star Miguel, who clearly changed up his sound to cater to a festival crowd and delivered arguably the best set of the weekend.  Chance the Rapper brought his “A” Game to the Lands End Stage, Third Eye Blind was better than expected chiming in on another Bowie Tribute with a background choir that was a nice segue way into their classic, “Semi-Charmed Life.”  There was clearly no shortage of great music and not nearly enough time to catch all the stages and great performances.

While other festivals continue to try and out beat each other, competing for the best music lineups and headliners, Outside Lands stands alone as it continues to expand not only on the music but an overall experience, a big party vibe that allows them the freedom to take risks with their musical lineup and continue to bring a fresh element every year.  The future is bright for San Francisco’s music scene cause Outside Lands is here to stay!  Maybe next year they will expand the experience to 4 days, but for now, we can only wish…

For more info on Outside Lands including 2017 early bird tickets visit www.sfoutsidelands.com!

Photos by Jeff Kravitz, Andrew Jorgensen, Josh Withers, Jack Gorlin, FilmMagic & Jason Sheldon.