We’re in the latter days of festival season here, folks. Bonnaroo, Coachella, Sasquatch, Pitchfork, Glastonbury, and now Lollapalooza have all passed, and the final summer parties are drawing very close. Plenty of big festivals are just around the corner, but the folks on the West Coast have a big event coming up at a rapid pace. That event is Outside Lands, Another Planet’s gem of a festival that captures the spirit of the Bay Area (and California for that matter) over three blissful days in Golden Gate Park. This year, the buzz is even bigger than usual, as they have compiled a perfect selection of bands, including the likes of Phish, Muse, Arcade Fire, deadmau5, the Black Keys, the Roots, and many other contemporary, and classic acts.
Outside Lands is built off of the same blueprint as festivals like Lollapalooza, holding the music in a large metropolitan area without camping. But, just because you return to a nice hotel or apartment doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pack to survive. This may not be Coachella, but you still have to be comfortable. And not only that, these are the streets of San Francisco, which are some of the busiest, and hilliest in the nation. Like any festival, you should be prepared for anything. Sure, the rain may not effect your sleeping quarters, but it sure could ruin your day.
There are plenty of necessary, logical necessities for surviving a festival like Outside Lands. Some of them you may scoff at, but some you will definitely need, and could potentially forget. Below is a list of things to consider bringing. And remember, this is San Francisco, where the weather can shift at the drop of a hat, for better or for worse.
- A great pair of shoes: Festival sociology has taught us that people like to either go barefoot, or rock a solid pair of sandals. This is understandable, as people feel free when able to put their feet in contact with the Earth. But, this is the middle of the city. Sure, the staff will clean the park, but they won’t find everything. This might be a festival that requires some quality (and pumped up) kicks. Also, make sure they are ready for walking long distances; running from one side to the other is a decent-sized journey.
- Cash: Seems obvious to repeat visitors, but beware newbies: Inside, ATMs charge fees of over four dollars! Plan ahead, and hit up your local bank prior. Plus, if you are taking MUNI or BART to get there, you can’t swipe your Visa if you’re hopping on at street level (and the conductor will think you’re a fool if you ask him to break a 20).
- Warm clothing: Yes, San Fransisco has awesome weather, but it can get chilly, especially at night. Make sure you have a change of pants, or a nice sweater to rock when the sun goes down. But, the weather could remain nice, so keep shorts handy as well. This may be a good time to bring back the zip-offs.
- Water bottle: Bring your own. It’s eco-friendly and cheaper.
- Sunscreen: Have you ever sunned on the beach (a mere 10 blocks from the festival) in SF for hours? You get burnt…big time. Festival attendees will be outside from noon to nightfall, so make sure that the SPF level is high, and that you have plenty to go around. People WILL ask for some.
- Glow-sticks: Phish is playing….right?
- Sense of adventure: The show ends every night at around 10:30, and not everyone gets into the after shows. But the Bay Area has amazing nightlife, so use what energy you have left to explore the great places of the city.
- Positive attitude and open mind: This is San Francisco, the city of love. Be ready for new culture and experiences.
If you don’t want to take my advice, perhaps you’ll listen to Trevor Marcotte, Kevin Waldvogel, and Scott Robert Waldvogel – stars of Cluster 1’s No Cover. Below, you can check out their hilarious mini-documentary on the festival, which highlights many aspects of the event, including local eateries and late-night venues where after-shows will take place. Take some notes…
Well, that about wraps up our guide, but before you go, here are a few other things to jot down. 1.) Parking in the park-grounds will be extremely limited, so plan accordingly. 2.) The Sunset District has FREE PARKING all over, so if you do plan on driving, be ready to park in the surrounding neighborhood. 3.) There is plenty of food inside the festival (Taste of the Bay), and surrounding it, so come hungry. 4.) And finally, have a good time…this is Outside Lands.
Still need tickets? Grab ’em now before they’re gone – only a couple of days left to decide, anyhow!