This years Outside Lands is not only my first music festival, but my first time on the west coast. So imagine my bewilderment upon entering Golden Gate Park yesterday. Surrounded by lush forestry, the parks central grounds had been transformed into a sanctuary of music, booze, and recreation. This place was alive, and Id never seen anything like it.
Now in its sixth year, Outside Lands has grown a little with each installment (attendance is now up to 65,000) and continues to offer a diverse lineup of big name acts and lesser-known upstarts. One could swing by the country-themed Panhandle Stage, sit on hay bails, and catch rock acts such as The Men and Wavves. Or if guitars werent your thing, maybe the soulful croons of Jessie Ware at the Sutro Stage (too bad DAngelo canceled at the last second). The Heineken Dome offered sweaty EDM, and The Barbary hosted comedians Maria Bamford and Jeffrey Ross. There really was a little something for everyone and, come nightfall, a truly special musical experience for all.
Anticipation for Sir Paul McCartneys headlining set grew throughout the afternoon, with multiple acts declaring their appreciation for the living legend. Were honored to be here, playing in front of Paul McCartney, said The National’s Aaron Dessner. A universal feeling of Holy shit, Im seeing a Beatle swept across the sea of bodies that had manifested in front of the stage, and when Paul finally walked out the sun setting behind him thousands of voices erupted in celebration.
Over the next three hours, he played the hits, told charming anecdotes, brought fans onstage and tattooed his autograph on them, even unleashing a pyrotechnic-firework show during Live and Let Die. It was magnificent. People were crying when it was over. This festival newbie headed home in total shock, every expectation shattered.
If that was Day One, I cant wait to see what the rest of the weekend has in store.
–Jon Hadusek Staff Writer