by Bob Doran
Once again, our teen correspondents Nick and Kaylee Savage-Wright are heading to San Francisco for this weekend's massive, seriously eclectic (and sold out) Outside Lands Festival, where headliners include Neil Young (Friday), Metallica (Saturday) and Stevie Wonder (Sunday). Here's a little preview of what they have planned. Check back next week for a report on what they saw and heard.
Despite such a great music scene existing in Humboldt County, not everyone gets to appreciate it. Many of the venues aren't open to people under 21, and quite a few of us who don't make that cut look forward to the music festivals outside of Humboldt, Sasquatch, Coachella and Outside Lands for example. The latter is an event I've attended for the past three years and each time was a rewarding experience, whether it was discovering a new band to obsess over, getting to see an already loved band live, or just walking from stage to stage, exploring the area, meeting people I wouldn't otherwise have the chance to know, and breathing in the anticipation and energy in the air.
Outside Lands (happening this Friday through Sunday in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park) is sold out for this year, so if you don't have a ticket, you'll have to get creative fast. You can try StubHub or Craigslist, for example, but be prepared to pay way above the original price.
Having gone to Outside Lands for the past couple years I consider myself festival-savvy, though every year I still think of something I forgot, or wish I'd brought, like different shoes. Anyone who has attended a large music festival knows the basics of surviving the event - for those going to Outside Lands for the first time I offer you some useful navigation tips and advice on getting the most you can out of the experience.
Outside Lands is an amazing way to somehow relax and go wild at the same time - you can either join in the fray of rambunctious crowds or sit on the outskirts, hearing the music from afar and watching the show on the large screens placed on both sides of the stage. As for getting through those crowds, you might find yourself blocked from friends by stubborn people who won't let you by sometimes, just try to maneuver around them without causing a scene. I've found that being polite and apologetic will help you squeeze your way through the mass to a front row spot, or at least somewhere close. You might want to stake out a seat hours before the band you want to see is playing if you're really determined - that worked well for me last year to see Macklemore, OKGO, Arcade Fire, The Black Keys and Muse (right in the front for almost every performance!).
Between shows you can wander over to the merchandise booths before hurrying to where the next band you want to see is playing. There's always something to do. It's rare to find yourself sitting around bored, though all the walking does wear you down (like I said before, bring good shoes!) and there are plenty of places to rest if you need it.
Keeping yourself sustained and hydrated is important in daily life, and even more so at these kinds of festivals. Between all the moshing, dancing, singing and rushing to and fro, your energy will probably reach its limit, so make sure to stop at the refillable water stations and browse the food trucks or vendors for some amazing San Francisco fare. For those festivalgoers who are of legal drinking age, Outside Lands includes a number of breweries and wineries. If you've got a sweet tooth as big as mine you'll want to stop by Choco Lands in McLaren Pass and sample some delectable treats.
Another thing to do between performances is entertain yourself with the many stalls set up between stages: From clothes to trinkets there's plenty to peruse. There are also comedy/variety acts in The Barbary (I don't think I'll be able to pass up Neil Patrick Harris, and there's also Reggie Watts, David Cross, and Chris Hardwick). And Juxtapose magazine works together with the OL crew to bring in a group of artists doing daily live-paintings and installations, which are beautiful to see, brought to life.
Finally, make sure that you'll have somewhere to stay (most places might be booked up; for something different check www.airbnb.com). Learn how to navigate the busy streets or buses to the festival, and you'll be set.
I don't know anyone who hasn't loved going to Outside Lands, even after going three years in a row it's still an incredible adventure I'm looking forward to. Whether it's discovering new band to obsess over, getting to see an already loved band live, or just walking from stage to stage, exploring the area, meeting people you wouldn't otherwise have the chance to know, and breathing in the anticipation and energy in the air - you'll love it.
For additional information, go to SF Outside Lands -- enjoy!
Are you attending Outside Lands 2012? Unsure about who to see? Take a look at the list below and maybe it will help you decide.
I'd say Stevie Wonder is the No. 1 musician to see at Outside Lands 2012. He's arguably the best musician alive. Signing to Motown Records in 1961 the 11-year-old "Little Stevie Wonder" is still performing and recording today. Redefining music and social standards alike, Stevie Wonder is one of the most positively influential people in the world. I have personally been a fan since I was little and have been excited for Outside Lands ever since he was added to the lineup. He's playing for over two hours, and begins an hour before Skrillex even starts, so there is no excuse not to see him. Definitely the one person you don't want to miss.
Skrillex is the only dubstep headliner and will definitely put on a great show. He will likely have the youngest and most animated crowd, and he will match that intensity on stage. Sonny John Moore has been making music and touring since 2004, but didn't release his debut EP, My Name is Skrillex, until 2010. That EP coupled with Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, turned Skrillex into a star -- one of the new pioneers of dubstep/electro music. There will be a lot of bass heads at Outside Lands and even if you don't like that type of music Skrillex's show will probably have more energy then any of the other headliners. Playing at the end of Sunday night, Skrillex will be a good finish for an amazing festival.
Big Boi is the biggest hip-hop artist in the festival. After last years power outage fiasco (his DJ's equipment had a power failure, and he was unable to perform) he owes the crowd a great show and I think he will deliver. He plays in between MiMOSA and Passion Pit, so I would recommend seeing him if you like either of them.
Interestingly the Foo Fighters had their debut performance in 1995 at The Jambalaya, in Arcata, CA. The founding member is the renowned ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, which is enough to like the band already; his band mates Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett, and Pat Smear are icing on the cake. Their raw energy and intense style makes them my favorite rock band of the festival. They play Friday from 6:10-7:25 at the Lands End stage.
Reggie Watts is a decent musician, comedy aside; but it's his humor that makes him excellent. Known for his viral video "What About Blowjobs?" and his classic song "F*ck Sh*t Stack," Reggie has always been able to blend comedy and music. The main conflict at his time is Wallpaper, who I think is pretty sub-par to Reggie. Not the best show for small children or scrooges however.
I would recommend any jazz fans with dome access to see Mark Farina's show. Unfortunately show is 21+, so I won't be able to see his "Mushroom jazz." He's playing 4-5:30 on Sunday in The Dome By Heineken, 21+ only.