You know it’s August in the San Francisco Bay Area when you hear almost about everyone ask, “Are you going to Outside Lands?” It’s arguably the biggest music festival in the area — aside from the free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.
Outside Lands is the one festival we can hold as our own and it has grown in popularity over the years and is now celebrating its eighth year. The official mascot, Ranger Dave, greeted his guests with welcome arms into Golden Gate Park from Friday, August 5 to Sunday, August 7.
The lineup was released in early-April and of course, Eager Beaver tickets were snatched less than five minutes. That’s crazy, considering that I heard just a few years ago, passes were about $50 and now they’re going for about $400. The hype of music festivals is rising and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
This year, some of the major headliners included LCD Soundsystem, J. Cole, Radiohead, Zedd, Lionel Richie, Lana Del Rey and Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem, the house band for The Muppet Show, who made their epic debut on the main stage early Sunday morning. More on that later. Other notable names were Chance the Rapper, Major Lazer, Duran Duran, Miguel, Third Eye Blind and Ryan Adams and The Shining.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the lows, the highs, and the straight up WTF moments:
Probably the most underrated act from Friday afternoon. How often do you get to see this band perform live? I guess no one else felt the same way I did, since the crowd wasn’t as packed as expected. To be able to get to the front of the stage, especially in the middle of the day, is rare but not this time. I completely felt brought back down to the ’80s and my inner dancer bursted out during “Hungry Like The Wolf.” I cannot forget to give them props for their matching white outfits and yellow strobe lights on stage. Epic, to say the least.
BIG BOI’S SURPRISE SET
Imagine walking around and you randomly see a crowd of people running to a loud noise. Okay, usually you’re supposed to run AWAY from the noise but this time is different when you have Big Boi performing an impromptu set — smack dab next to Beer Lands and in front of the main stage. Just goes to show, you just never know what’s going to happen if you don’t take the time to walk around the festival.
This was the perfect lead-in into Zedd’s set later in the night. If you follow Halsey’s career and know her stories growing up, it makes it hundred times more satisfying watching her command the stage in front of thousands of people. More power to ya, Halsey.
They give the smallest stages to one of the biggest, rowdiest crowds of the weekend. Majority of everyone there skipped out on catching any other act because they were most likely here.
Good luck to you if you weren’t hungover from the night before since Frances went on stage right as the gates opened. She performed to a smaller crowd but it was the intimate setting where you don’t need loud screams to be noticed. Can’t wait to hear more from her.
DR. TEETH AND THE ELECTRIC MAYHEM
More of the “WTF am I watching moment?” You can just tell by the crowd of people they had no idea what was going on but they went with it. You could hear from multiple groups scream, “IT’S THE MUPPETS!!!” It was nothing but a good time with them and smiles all around. Not sure why they haven’t performed here before… They seem right at home. Oh, and props to them for performing The Mowgli’s “San Francisco”! We love you, Electric Mayhem!
CHANCE VERSUS KEHLANI
One of the most disappointing moments was trying to figure out whether or not you’ll be hitting up Chance’s set or Oakland based artist Kehlani. Spoiler alert: We chose Chance. For someone who has never seen Chance before and briefly heard his latest album during the week leading up to the show, CHANCE WAS THE BEST. Consider me a huge Chance fan in the making. Sorry Kehlani, I’ll catch you when you’re in the Bay again.
THIRD EYE BLIND
This whole festival was all about traveling back in time and letting nostalgia settle in. This time, it was Third Eye Blind bringing us back to the ‘90s. Best believe they performed “Jumper” and “Graduate” which only caused the crowd to roar the lyrics right back at the band. Hard to believe this was their Outside Lands debut. Come back again, Third Eye Blind.
Lionel Richie was the perfect ending to an otherwise fantastic weekend. It’s literally hard to even imagine that he is 67 years old when he was prancing around the stage, taking shots of wine and flawlessly singing his new and older hits including a few tracks from the Commodores! The crowd was almost on the edge with the biggest troll moment of all – Lionel making it seem like he’ll bring out the legendary Diana Ross on stage with him. Nope, in his eyes, the crowd was all Diana Ross. #soclose
WTF MOMENT – BROKEN ATM MACHINES
Note to just about everyone who plans on attending Outside Lands next year… Bring cash everywhere you go. For some reason, every single checkout had malfunctions with the ATM machine which only drew anger from everyone in line. Doesn’t help when the ATM machines are also down. So, you were either screwed or you find someone else who had cash and Venmo them later.
I survived Outside Lands 2016. See you next year!