airport_transferbarbathtubbusiness_facilitieschild_activitieschildcareconnecting_roomcribsfree_wifigymhot_tubinternetkitchennon_smokingpetpoolresturantski_in_outski_shuttleski_storagesmoking_areaspastar
Sign In
A Brief History Of San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival
Save to wishlist

A Brief History Of San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival

Picture of Aimee Rose
Updated: 8 December 2016
Golden Gate Park, originally known as the “Outside Lands” of San Francisco, is home to the music festival by the same name. Many popular bands and artists have taken its stages during this annual August festival, and its location has a rich history.
Outside Lands | © Jade Alcantara
Outside Lands | © Jade Alcantara

The history of Outside Lands Music Festival truly starts with the original outside lands – Golden Gate Park. The venue is the heart of the city’s park system. Back in the 1800s, the area of the park was actually referred to as the “Outside Lands” due to its location away from the masses of the city. The park is the third most visited park in the nation, and it has been home not only to millions of people, but also to concerts, picnics, and games. The park became a common ground for people of various cultures and backgrounds.

Golden Gate Park | © Todd Lappin/Flickr
Golden Gate Park | © Todd Lappin/Flickr

In addition to being home to the masses of San Francisco, Golden Gate Park is also home to Outside Lands, a music and art festival started in 2008. Outside Lands takes hold of Polo Fields, Speedway Meadow, and Lindley Meadow, covering the grounds with five complete stages and plenty of room for dancing, drinks, and food. 2008 had rumors of Outside Lands buzzing all around the city as residents hoped for the best and looked forward to all the big names to come. During the festival, Radiohead had everyone in the city raving, alongside headliners The Black Keys, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Ben Harper, and Jack Johnson. The festival got complaints for lack of crowd control, bringing in nearly 60,000 people a day. Despite this, people left satisfied and ready to start planning for the next year.

Ranger Dave | © Kyle Rose
Ranger Dave | © Kyle Rose

2009 was kicked off by Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, The Black Eyed Peas, Jason Mraz, Tenacious D, Modest Mouse, and Matt & Kim. 2010 brought in similar artists such as The Strokes, Bassnectar, Kings of Leon, Phoenix, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, and The Temper Trap. Three years down, and with many more in the future, lineups have been unexpected and diverse. The last three years we have heard from Muse, MGMT, The Shins, Metallica, Stevie Wonder, Foo Fighters, Passion Pit, Of Monsters and Men, Paul McCartney, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kanye West, Death Cab for Cutie, and Tegan & Sara. Many bands have played every year, always ready to come back for more. 2014 was such a success that it brought in over 200,000 people, and an even bigger turnout is expected for 2015. 2015 should be one to remember, hosting Elton John, Mumford & Sons, The Black Keys, Sam Smith, Kendrick Lamar, and way more.

In addition to the music, Outside Lands provides nothing but the best food, wine, beer, art and comedy. There are a ton of activities for you to enjoy other than the music, such as shopping, Castland, active listening with Doppler, a beer camp, and more. Know that you will have access to Lyft, as well as $20 off your first ride.

Something else that Outside Lands offers that sets them apart is Eco Lands. Outside Lands takes the initiative to make sure everything that can be eco-friendly – is eco-friendly. They have different greening programs and waste diversion to not only make sure the attendees are happy, but that the environment is happy as well.

People of Outside Lands | © Kyle Rose
People of Outside Lands | © Kyle Rose

You will find hippies, rockers, and people of all kind. You will see plenty of crowdsurfing and love for music. This festival breaks away from all other music festivals in the nation, because the music is not only in the city, but it’s about the city as well. You simply won’t find a better communal and musical experience than Outside Lands.