By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Now in its tenth year, the annual Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival will once again bring top-flight acts, headlining comedians, internationally known DJs and the kind of world-class cuisine, beer and wine San Francisco is known for to Golden Gate Park for a marathon weekend party. Since it’s inception in 2008, Outside Lands has established a deserved reputation as one of the country’s best summer music celebrations.
That reputation is part of what has made the festival one of the most hotly anticipated major concert events in California every year. While 3-day VIP wristbands have been sold out for some time, there are still general admission 3-day wristbands and single-day tickets available. In addition to returning headliners and Bay Area thrash-metal icons Metallica topping the bill Saturday — the band played a career-highlight set on the Lands End stage in 2012 — the 10th anniversary edition of Outside Lands also includes the spectacular one-two punch of main Lands End Stage acts Gorillaz and hip-hop legends A Tribe Called Quest on Friday [Please note: Travel issues forced A Tribe Called Quest to postpone their performance. They will perform on the Twin Peaks Stage at 7 p.m. Saturday] and British rock greats the Who closing out the fest Sunday following sets from pop vocalist Lorde and rising R&B singer Solange (the younger sister of a certain superstar who goes by the name Beyonce).
Beyond the top-billed groups, this year’s marathon celebration will present a host of major indie talents (Scottish pop giants Belle and Sebastian, hypnotic UK group alt-J, the Bowie-meets-Prince spectacle of Empire of the Sun, SoCal rockers Young the Giant, noisy alt-rock duo Sleigh Bells, synthpop favorites Future Islands, British blues/hip-hop upstart Rag n’ Bone Man and jazzy R&B bass virtuoso Thundercat), acoustic-oriented folk-rock acts (the bluegrass-rooted Avett Brothers, South Carolina duo Shovels and Rope, bluesy songwriter John Moreland) and hip-hop performers (next generation rapper Schoolboy Q, Vice Channel foodie and MC extraordinaire Action Bronson, golden-era icon and Fresh Prince partner DJ Jazzy Jeff). One bit of bad news regarding the scheduled performers came last week when Queens of the Stone Age were forced to cancel their Saturday appearance on the main stage due to an injury, but energetic rockers Cage the Elephant will take their place fresh from an electrifying performance that was one of the highlights of this year’s storm-plagued Lollapalooza in Chicago.
On the local front, the festival doesn’t feature quite as much Bay Area representation as in the past besides aforementioned headliner Metallica, but there are some home-grown acts like reunited intergalactic hip-hop experimentalists Dr. Octagon (featuring super producer Dan the Automator, turntable wizard DJ Qbert — both Bay Area products — and lyrical surrealist and NYC icon Kool Keith), literate Stanford-educated MC K. Flay, Oakland rapper Kamaiyah (who raised her profile with a stunning set during the rain and travel-delay plagued Treasure Island Music Festival last year) and surf-tinged garage-rock quartet the She’s. In addition several DJs appearing in the dance-focused space the House (King Most, Q102.1’s DJ Umami, Prince & Michael Experience curator and Bomb Hip-Hop magazine/label founder DJ Dave Paul and noted party starter Mind Motion, who will offer up a special Metallica remix set). Some of the above acts will also be playing associated night shows at venues around San Francisco including the Independent, the Rickshaw Stop and Mezzanine (though many of those events are already sold out).
The culinary side of Outside Lands has come to garner nearly as much attention as the music over the years as the festival has continued to expand the range of food offerings, culinary demonstrations and specialized areas. In addition to the long-standing cornucopia of food-focused “Lands” — A Taste of the Bay Area, Wine Lands, Choco Lands, Cheese Lands and seafood celebration Outside Clams — the festival will offer up another full schedule of appearances at the GastroMagic stage, a demonstration/performance space that has proved extremely popular.
The stage creatively pairs restaurants and chefs with musical artists, including the return of Friday’s annual Bouncin’ for Beignets with Big Freedia that will feature the New Orleans bounce pioneer and reality television star handing out beignets made by Brenda’s Soul Food to those willing to twerk for food. Other highlights include Korean cuisine and food truck innovator Chef Roy Choi teaming with Dan the Automator and his Deltron 3030 partner and local hero Del the Funky Homosapien and a session with noted MC/ culinary explorer, onetime professional chef Action Bronson.
Comedy fans will doubtless gravitate towards the Barbary, the antique tent presenting an all-star crew of comedians and variety shows co-curated by local institution SF Sketchfest. Among the notables appearing over the course of the weekend are punk icon, radio host and spoken-word pioneer Henry Rollins, comics Nick Kroll (from Comedy Central’s “Kroll Show”), Nick Thune, Upright Citizens Brigade founder Matt Besser, actor Jeff Goldblum — who fronts his jazz ensemble the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra for a mix of music and trivia questions, caustic stand-up talents Nikki Glasser and Todd Berry and “The Daily Show” correspondent Roy Wood Jr. For more info on what else is going on at Outside Lands including complete schedules, ticket information and site map, please visit the official website.
Outside Lands 2017
Friday-Sunday, Aug. 11-13, 12 p.m. $149.50-$795
Golden Gate Park