Having only lived in San Francisco since November of last year, this weekend will be my first time at the Outside Lands festival which enters its fourth year at Golden Gate Park. Back to a full three days this year, it seems like you can’t turn anywhere in SF or on the internet without friends discussing the festival, sharing a personalized schedule on Facebook or seeing any number of organizations running ticket giveaways.
For some, the festivities begin as early as tonight as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! play a club show at The Independent. Tickets were previously only available to those who had purchased festival tickets but it was announced yesterday that this and a couple other late night shows were also publicly available. Also, on Thursday, in what is certain to be the hippest of festival pre-shows, Best Coast plays at the Academy of Arts and Sciences. Those unfamiliar with the Thursday night Nightlife at the Academy series, just think of a science museum/aquarium, but instead of all the little brats running around screaming, they are replaced with a plethora of bars – it’s awesome and they do it every Thursday.
The festival proper kicks off at noon on Friday. If you’ve got an iPhone or an Android, you should download the free Outside Lands mobile app that gives you stage schedules and a map, and Facebook wants you try out their new Messenger application as a way to keep in contact with friends onsite. If you live anywhere near Civic Center, or can get there easily, consider taking the shuttle running for the first time this year.
READ ON for more of Dave’s Outside Lands 2011 Preview…
The major musical speculation for Friday night is whether or not we will see some MGMT/Phish collaboration. As some Hidden Track readers might recall, Oracular Spectacular was one of the final eight album possibilities to be covered at Festival 8 a couple of years ago, and guitarist Trey Anastasio mentioned in 2009 that he “went through an MGMT thing for a while there.”
Despite being the first night to sell out, consensus around my circles is that Saturday is the weakest lineup of the weekend – despite boasting Vetiver and Arctic Monkeys from the indie scene, as well as sets from The Black Keys, The Roots and Warren Haynes Band. Nobody I know seems to like Muse, myself included, so closing out the night with Girlk Talk it shall be.
Sunday afternoon appropriately features a fantastic lineup of gospel music with Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band kicking off things on the mainstage at 12:15PM (do not oversleep on them) followed by living legend Mavis Staples. Lookout for a John Fogerty sit-in with Staples or vice versa, as she released a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Wrote a Song For Everyone on her 2010 album You Are Not Alone. For me it’s Little Dragon (who starts their tour at the festival) > Beirut (who has been at the top of my must-see list for quiet some time) > Arcade Fire to end the action-packed weekend.
It’s San Francisco in the summer – bring sunscreen and a hoodie.