2008 Outside Lands Festival @ Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, August 22-24


Below awaits a full gallery of the overall festival atmosphere, along with shots of artists Manu Chao, Black Keys, Liars, Rogue Wave, Culver City Dub Collective, M. Ward, Primus, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Regina Spektor, Stars, Little Brother, Nicole Atkins and Jack Johnson. –Ed.

Last weekend, the inaugural edition of Outside Lands music festival was held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Rivaling the size and musical scope of Coachella and San Diego’s Street Scene, it marked the first multi-day music festival ever in the park. Attendance exceeded probably everyone’s expectations, with all but the early part of Sunday being elbow to elbow with festival goers.

Radiohead headlined Friday night giving the group the distinction of “the first artist to play at night” in the history of the park, which unlike the touting of M. Night Shyamalan’s “first R rated film,” lived up to the hype corresponded by a massive crowd. And yes, the sound did go out twice during their set but otherwise the sound was great, better than any festival I have experienced. Even outside the park amongst the residences the sound could be heard clear and distortion free.

The festival was sprawled out in three separate large areas each with two stages. Each area contained its own set of food stalls and restroom facilities and was big enough to make walking from one far stage to another quite a journey. Throw in the large crowds and it was quite daunting at first. It was only after running from Beck to Black Keys did I fully appreciate that the size of the park is even bigger than New York’s Central Park. Only one out of the six total stages was on the smallish side and it happened to be solar-powered.

The food at the festival promised a menu representative of local San Francisco cuisine such as fresh oysters and a large wine tent, but rest assured the tried and true re-heated churro was also available. Judging by the huge numbers that came out to enjoy the three-day bash, it would be safe to bet that Outside Lands will make it through the growing pains of starting out and be a fixture in the Bay Area festival schedule for years to come alongside other mainstays like Treasure Island and Download.