Outside Lands Unplugged: History, Big Moments, and What to Expect in 2023

The Origins of Outside Lands

Since its inception in 2008, Outside Lands has been about more than just music. Located in the heart of San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Park, it’s an event that embodies the city’s vibrant culture and progressive spirit. The festival’s name, “Outside Lands,” harks back to the 19th Century, when the neighborhoods near Golden Gate Park were considered distant, inaccessible, and largely sand dunes – an ‘outside land’.

In its debut year, Outside Lands struck a chord with music lovers and food enthusiasts alike, drawing an impressive crowd of 40,000 to 60,000 attendees each day. Headliners like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Radiohead, Beck, and The Black Keys set a high standard for the festival that would continue to attract globally acclaimed artists in the years to come.

Memorable Moments in Outside Lands History

Year after year, Outside Lands continued to outdo itself. In 2012, it made history by becoming the world’s first-ever gourmet music festival, incorporating the Bay Area’s best food and drinks along with live music. With more than 70 restaurants, 30 wineries, and 15 breweries contributing, the festival became as much of a food event as a music festival.

The festival also distinguished itself with its commitment to sustainability. In 2013, Outside Lands launched a refillable water program, eliminating single-use plastic water bottles. Since then, the festival has managed to save over a million single-use bottles from being used and discarded.

Outside Lands also took a stand for social justice. In 2017, Solange took to the stage and delivered a stunning performance that echoed messages of empowerment, resistance, and self-love. This show has been remembered not only for its emotional intensity but also for its rallying cry for social justice.

In 2019, another milestone was achieved when Outside Lands became the first major US festival to allow onsite cannabis sales and consumption. This was an unprecedented move that once again demonstrated Outside Lands’ ability to push boundaries and set precedents.

Day by Day Lineup:

Friday, August 11: The first day is headlined by Kendrick Lamar, a multi-platinum selling artist, and Pulitzer Prize winner. From Zedd’s energetic EDM beats to Janelle Monáe’s empowering R&B, the day offers a captivating mix of genres. Other notable performers include Interpol, WILLOW, and DIESEL (Shaquille O’Neal).

Saturday, August 12: The second day is marked by the electrifying performance of Foo Fighters. Experience the enigmatic vocals of Lana Del Rey and the distinctive folk-rock sound of Father John Misty. Indie pop fans will appreciate performances from Alvvays and Maggie Rogers.

Sunday, August 13: The festival’s finale is headlined by the vibrant electronic vibes of ODESZA. Attendees can groove to the catchy pop tunes of The 1975, enjoy the hard-hitting rap of Megan Thee Stallion, or get lost in Beabadoobee’s grunge-infused indie rock.

Practicalities and Key Things to Know:

Location: The festival is held in three areas of Golden Gate Park: Polo Field, Hellman Hollow, and Lindley Meadow.

Parking: Parking during the festival can be very limited. It’s recommended to park your car in another neighborhood (like Union Square or Civic Center) and take public transit to the festival.

Public Transit: The fastest way to reach the festival from Union Square or downtown San Francisco is the N-Judah Light Rail, stopping at the 25th Avenue & Judah stop. Another option is the 5-Fulton bus, which takes a little more time but drops you closer to the gates.

Accommodation: There are a few hotel options near the park, mainly in the Haight Ashbury District or near Ocean Beach. Alternatively, stay in the city center and use public transit to reach the festival.

What to Wear: Given the festival’s timing, the weather tends to be sunny yet cool. It’s recommended to wear layers to adjust to temperature fluctuations throughout the day.

For newcomers and veterans alike, Outside Lands 2023 promises to be a memorable celebration of music, art, and community. Whether you’re coming for the world-class performers or the unique festival vibes, the Outside Lands experience is one not to be missed.

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