Outside Lands went down at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park this weekend; it was frigid and there were transportation headaches, but the music made it well worth it. Here's the best and worst of the weekend:
The friendly festival staff
Holding "Ask Me" signs, the staff were everywhere and were ready to figure out the solution to your problem. "Have fun!" and "Be safe" they hollered from the sidelines. It felt almost as if a friend's nice parents were dropping everyone off at summer camp. Even the police were in on it. We witnessed two guys who had tried and failed to sneak in bantering and laughing with the policeman who led them, handcuffed out of the festival. "You almost made it!" said the cop. "Ah well, at least I can sorta hear Gary Clark Jr from here."
When a guy in a wheelchair crowdsurfed
What a badass. He almost fell once but didn't seem to mind. He made it to the stage and, unlike most who get only to the barricade, he was welcomed across and backstage by Young The Giant. Something similar happened at Lollapalooza during Kendrick Lamar's set.
This performance included fireworks. And not just in our hearts.
The added attractions
There were wine tastings to accompany live-art displays, "Chocolands" and "Cheeselands," a stage for standup comedy, "Ecolands," and another gazillion other things. Next year we're holding out for a solar-powered Habitat for Humanity home or gardening workshops.
The trash situation
Along with smelly porter-potties, trash is a typically unavoidable at festivals. And indeed in SF plastic cups crunched underfoot, detracting from the green landscape and the eco-aware-emphasis. Sunday came with a surprise, however, as the polo fields had returned to a pristine state and remained fairly clean throughout the day. The trick? Outside Lands and Clean Vibes offered incentives for festival-goers to pick up trash and cigarette buts in exchange for prizes.
Below: The Worst of Outside Lands