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Preview: The Inside Track To Outside Lands

By Marcia Gagliardi

Photo courtesy of Outside Lands

Avoid getting overwhelmed with our cheat sheet for the three-day festival’s music and culinary scene.

San Francisco’s iconic music festival Outside Lands — which is as well known for its extensive food and drink lineup as its musical acts — returns to its regular summer timing (August 5 to 7). Every year since it started in 2008, the festival has continued to evolve and expand its programming, including launching Grass Lands in 2018, the first curated cannabis experience at a major American music festival.

The 2022 musical lineup is eclectic to say the least, with headliners like the Bay Area’s Green Day, rapper Post Malone, Weezer and R&B goddess SZA. Purple Disco Machine and Disclosure will definitely bring the party. The program always includes burgeoning talent, so get there when the gates open to discover new acts (you can say you knew them when). Outside Lands is also an opportunity to see artists from afar afield, like Pussy Riot, the Russian feminist protest and performance art group, and Lido Pimienta, a powerfully artistic Colombian-Canadian musician who rocks incredible ensembles (Kali Uchis is another fierce Colombiana you won’t want to miss); and catch a saucy act from Kim Petras (L.A. by way of Germany). Visit Grass Lands to try out the latest products from California’s top cannabis brands and then enjoy the dreamy vibes of Washed Out.

If you love dance floor BPMs, the House by Heineken is back, with DJ performances and backyard party vibes by The Far Side, Franc Moody and more, while the expanded SOMA Tent will feel like an underground club, with nine hours of house music and performances every day from acts like Tokimonsta, Claude VonStroke and Detroit’s First Lady of Wax, DJ Minx.

Photo courtesy of Outside Lands

All that dancing and trekking around the park rev up an appetite, and an Outside Lands food lineup can be strategized with as much precision as a musical act hit list. This year includes 91 Bay Area restaurants and more than 300 items, the most ever to date. Look for newcomers like James Beard nominee Wahpepah’s Kitchen (serving Indigenous Bay Area veggie bowls) and Fowl + Fare (inspired fried chicken sandwiches), both repping Oakland, as well as Jo’s Modern Thai and their famous party wings. The La Cocina incubator booth is making its first appearance, with a different entrepreneur each of the three days. Fries will be in full effect with the Fish-GO-Tec crispy fish and chips by the folks behind Michelin-starred Lord Stanley, plus extra-creative, slow-roasted chicken shawarma fries from Shawarmaji, mapo tofu fries from Mamahuhu, and chorizo dirty fries from Son’s Addition.

Thirsty? Wine Lands is hosting 35 smallproduction Napa and Sonoma wineries, including Ashes & Diamonds, Banshee, Marine Layer and Scribe, along with Mommenpop aperitifs. VIPs can enjoy the Wine Lands Reserve booth, with quality wine and cheese pairings, and will also find West Coast oysters. Dave McLean, the original founder of Magnolia Brewing, curated the 30 Beer Lands breweries (try Humble Sea from Santa Cruz and Sonoma’s Old Caz). For those looking for something stronger, Cocktail Magic will be concocting specialty cocktails, themed drinks and … magic!

VIP tickets and the box suites are ideal for groups of 10 who want their own premium hangout area. But the truly posh path is the Golden Gate Club, an ultraluxe festival experience designed by Ken Fulk, featuring a VIP Courtyard lounge with all-day cuisine from chefs Nancy Oakes and Dana Younkin of Boulevard, Ravi Kapur of Good Good Culture Club and Liholiho Yacht Club, and Tyler Florence of Miller & Lux and Wayfare Tavern. Golden Gate Club members will receive an invite to an exclusive preparty on Thursday, August 4, at the stylish Saint Joseph’s Arts Society, featuring an Outside Lands performer. Plus, at the festival, you get a gift bag, VIP viewing areas (and restrooms), a dedicated entry lane at the VIP entrance and a personal concierge, among other swell perks.

An unexpected bonus at Outside Lands is how good the shopping is at the West Coast Craft × Outside Lands Marketplace. Snag sunglasses, jewelry, cute bags and hip vintage clothing, as well as beauty and wellness products. And this year’s lineup of artists, designers and craftspeople is the most diverse yet, with 50 percent BIPOC representation. Rock on!

Outside Lands

Golden Gate Park
Friday, August 5–Sunday, August 7 |

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