Outside Lands San Francisco is a gigantic music festival held in the heart of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, centering around Polo field.
The festival spans a three day period with an attendance of nearly 60,000 each day. I visited on Saturday.
Being heavily involved in the event industry due to my father’s event management company, I often attend productions and events with a “grain of salt.” I’m always the one to critique event infrastructure and rip apart grammar and spelling in banners. You might consider me that annoying friend.
Which was precisely what began to occur when we entered the Outside Lands premise.
To put it bluntly, I was shocked with how damaged the main entrance looked. No signs giving direction of how tickets would be processed or bags checked. A haphazard mess of young kids working as employees, yelling commands to the increasing crowds. A random frisk by the worker checking the front of my waist for weapons. The merchandise booth had a beautiful banner, but which was placed haphazardly and bunching in the middle.
To make matters worse, a worker was handing out maps from an ugly cardboard box; all with no marking sign. I must have heard three different people in passing by ask, “Where do we find maps of this huge place?” Well, it’s no worries Mr. Attendee, because I missed them too.
It was odd, considering each person was paying almost $100 a ticket.
Luckily, they pulled through with a win of redemption.
Upon leaving the “entrance of mass destruction” you make your way up and down a hill to the main fury of activity. Polo Field.
The field contained rows and rows of food & drink booths, the Outside Lands windmill, a huge carnival tent, the Intel Dome & the massive main stage at the end. The sight was grand & put together beautifully. There were large “stand up” sawhorses where you could eat your food, tables, ample sound, earth-friendly trash receptacle options & an army of portable toilets. Impressive it was.
So what about first impressions?
This is where I might spend a moment and share a simple reminder.
First impressions remain crucial.
Although the main area of Outside Lands was put together in a wonderful way, it was the entrance that bothered me. So much so that I found a moment to write about it in a post. In whatever we do it’s important to see things through, and bring our level of quality up in all departments.
How did I enjoy Outside Lands?
My overall experience at Outside Lands was almost perfect. The music lineup on Saturday was beyond phenomenal. For hours I was entertained by the likes of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Black Keys, Christina Perri, OK Go (lead singer Damian Kulash came into the crowd and sang right in front of us, for which my cousin most certainly enjoyed) & Muse.
I also spent a few moments in the Intel Dome tent, which was a beautiful square blowup tent filled with dancing and technology fun. Well, more dancing then anything. There was even free face painting, of which I took advantage of. I told the professional body painter, “You have creative liberty to paint whatever you’d like on my face.” The result was an almost tribal/fairy/batman rendition featuring paints in shades of blue and orange. I rocked it for the rest of the evening.
My friends at Intel, you most certainly know how to throw a party.
You can even check out the happenings in the Intel Dome tent here via YouTube.
The crowning jewel of the day was most certainly the band Muse. With classical undertones and benevolent guitar riffs – Muse stands strong as mighty rock stars. Muse was already my favorite before entering the festival, but I’ll be clear in saying they delivered in bringing all 60,000 participants a dazzling show none would soon forget.
Outside Lands, yes, I’ll be back for another round of musings.