Outside Lands Crowd (credit: Andrew Jorgensen/Outside Lands)
San Francisco’s biggest summer music festival of the year is set to begin as the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival returns to Golden Gate Park. But with more than 60,000 music fans on the festival grounds each day, it’s advisable for everyone to know how to have the best possible time, especially for those attending for the very first time. While most everyone already knows who will be performing, this festival guide offers a more comprehensive look at what else there is to see and do at this year’s Outside Lands.
Music | Food | Wine | Beer | Art | Comedy
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA 94117
Dates: Friday, Aug. 5 – Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016
About Outside Lands: The Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival is an eco-friendly music, arts and gourmet food festival held each August in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The very popular music festival sells out quickly each year and draws more than 200,000 music fans to the city’s largest and most famous park originally known in the 19th century as the “Outside Lands.” Since its inaugural event in 2008, Outside Lands has hosted a wealth of big name acts and up and coming bands representing popular music genres like alternative rock, classic rock, rap and hip hop, R&B, indie folk, country and electronica. High profile acts like Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, Dave Matthews Band, Metallica, Pearl Jam, The Black Eyed Peas, Foo Fighters, Elton John, Kendrick Lamar, Sam Smith and hundreds of others have all performed at Outside Lands.
Featured Musical Acts: Among the headliners confirmed for the 2016 Outside Lands are Radiohead, Lionel Ritchie, LCD Soundsystem, J. Cole, Duran Duran, Zedd, Lana Del Rey, Ryan Adams and the Shining and Major Lazer Other notable acts include Air, Sufjan Stevens, Halsey, Grimes, Chance the Rapper, Beach House and Brandi Carlile. The three-day event will also present a number of local bands, such as Third Eye Blind, Kehlani, Con Brio, Fantastic Negrito and Heron Oblivion. In all, there will be more than 70 musical acts scheduled to appear.
In addition to more than 70 musical acts at Outside Lands, several leading comedy acts will appear on the Barbary Comedy & Improv stage. Among the confirmed top name performers are former SNL cast member Fred Armisen, the star and co-creator of the Comedy Central series Workaholics Adam Devine and former SNL writer and stand up comedian John Mulaney. Other prominent comedians at this year’s festival include Natasha Leggero, Hound Tall with Moshe Kasher and Kyle Kinane. The Barbary Comedy & Improv state will be located in SoPo (south of Polo Field).
Outside Lands once again presents a mash-up of culinary talents, music, cocktail mixology and comedy as a variety of the above music acts and stand-ups share the GastroMagic Stage with a variety of local all-star chefs and San Francisco food luminaries. Attractions include an Iron Chef-style competition that pits chefs Cortney Burns, Sophina Uong and Michelle Polzine against each other with discarded food items from festival vendors to a soundtrack provided by DJ David Lee (of hip-hop duo Golden Age), a collaboration between Top Chef finalist Melissa King and the Police cover band side project of Ra Ra Riot, local “yacht rock” cover band Mustache Harbor’s lobster roll team up with Woodhouse Fish Co. and the third annual return of Big Freedia’s frenzied, crowd-pleasing “Beignets & Bounce Brunch.”
All general admission and VIP tickets are sold out. It is not advisable to purchase a ticket from an unauthorized vendor. Outside Lands is not responsible for any counterfeit tickets and cannot provide support for any third party purchase.
Three-day parking passes are also sold out but tickets still remain for three-day shuttle passes.
No tickets will be printed or shipped. Instead, RFID-enabled wristbands take the place of tickets and will be shipped via regular mail to each ticket purchaser and will be notified via email that the order is shipped. The shipment is expected to arrive in 7-10 business days fro receipt of shipping. Each wristband comes with a unique embedded barcode chip and must be registered prior to the festival. Wristbands can be registered online or through the official Outside Lands app for iOS or Android devices. Wristbands must not be put on until the day of the festival and cannot be removed for the duration of the festival.
Festival attendees who wish to purchase wine at Outside Lands are advised that Wine Lands is completely cashless. The official festival wristband, which is capable of disbursing “Bison Bucks,” is the only method of payment accepted. A Wine Lands Cashless Account may be created online.
Wristbands cannot be replaced if lost or stolen and aren’t intended to be transferable.
If the ticket(s) was purchased outside of the U.S. the wristbands will be held at Will Call at the festival Box Office in Marx Meadow.
The Venue: Polo Fields – Golden Gate Park
Outside Lands will be held in much of the western half of Golden Gate Park. The event will feature five primary music stages, with the Lands End Stage located on the grounds of the Polo Field. The festival grounds are bounded by John F. Kennedy Drive to the north and Middle Drive West to the south, with the Lands End Stage near the western border and eastern side near the Twin Peaks Stage in Hellman Hollow. Printed program guides will be available at all entrances while supplies last but can also be found on the official Outside Lands app, which also features a festival map.
The main entrance to Outside Lands will be near the intersection of John F. Kennedy Drive and 30th Avenue, near Lindley Meadow. The South Gate entrance, which is wheelchair accessible, will be located on Middle Drive West, not far from Outside Lands shuttle pick up and drop off point and the Self Parking Bike Lot on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The Box Office will be located in Marx Meadow, adjacent to the bike self parking area. The VIP entrance is located at John F. Kennedy Drive and 36th Avenue, with a VIP Hospitality tent set up just past the entrance. The primary Accessible Entrance is also located here but has a separate entranceway with an Access Center.
Among the facilities available on the festival grounds are medical tents and services provided by Rock Medicine, ATM machines, bathroom and hand washing stations, refillable water stations, Lost and Found and locker rentals.
Where To Stay:
No camping is allowed within the festival grounds or in Golden Gate Park. Additionally, all attendees are advised not to sleep in their vehicles in and around the park.
Hotel accommodations may still be available at one of the two official Outside Lands hotels, Hotel Zetta, next to the Westfield San Francisco Centre and Hotel Zeppelin in Union Square. Other hotels recommended by Outside Lands are Hotel Abri in Union Square, Joie De Vivre boutique hotels, the Stanford Court on Nob Hill and Cavallo Point in Sausalito.
Other suggested San Francisco hotels are the Argonaut Hotel, Hotel Zephyr, Axiom Hotel and The Metro Hotel.
How To Get There:
Outside Lands Shuttle: The pre-paid shuttle service to the south entrance of Outside Lands will depart from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco’s Civic Center. The coach-style shuttles, which are all wheelchair accessible, will drop off and pick up attendees on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The shuttle service will operate between 11 a.m. and midnight each day
By Public Transportation: San Francisco Muni is expected to provide additional service to Golden Gate Park on the N-Judah rail line, NX-N Express bus and 5R Fulton Rapid bus route. The regular 5-Fulton route will also be operating service to Golden Gate Park and the Outside Lands festival.
Concertgoers planning to take any San Francisco Muni service are urged to use a Clipper Card in lieu of cash to prevent any delays when boarding.
By Bike: Concertgoers traveling by bike can park at either the Valet IT lot above Hellman Hollow, at the intersection of Traverse and Overlook Drive in Golden Gate Park. Cyclists can also self-park and lock their bikes along John F. Kennedy Drive from Traverse down to Stow Lake, on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive near the South Gate and in Marx Meadow, near the box office. All cyclists are reminded to bring their own bike lock. Outside Lands is not responsible for any lost or stolen bicycles parked inside Golden Gate Park.
For bike rentals, Outside Lands recommends seven local bike rental shops, including Blazing Saddles, San Francisco Bicycle Rentals and CityRide Bike Rentals.
The Outside Lands Bike Party: Cyclists can join the Outside Lands Bike Party group ride departing in front of the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium each day at 12 p.m. On the return trip, the group ride will depart at 10:30 p.m. from the Log Cabin Meadow near the intersection of John F. Kennedy Drive and Stow Lake Drive. Interested riders are reminded to bring their bike lights and observe the “How We Ride” rules.
By Car: Concertgoers hoping to park near the festival grounds must be aware that Guaranteed Parking is sold out and parking inside Golden Gate Park and the surrounding neighborhoods will be extremely limited. Therefore, Outside Lands strongly encourages would be drivers to consider an alternate means of transportation. Motorists should also be aware that traffic laws will be strictly enforced in and around the perimeter of Golden Gate Park.
By Taxi/Ridesharing Service: Outside Lands recommends four local taxi companies, Flywheel Taxi, Luxor Cab Company, Yellow Cab and National and Veterans Cab Company. Ridesharing services Lyft and Uber also are available but prospective customer are advised to determine the actual cost of a ride before getting into the vehicle.
Getting To and Entering The Event: Although Outside Lands says it is possible to use any of the three entrances for someone using a wheelchair, the Accessible Entrance is the most accessible. The Accessible Entrance will be located on the north side of the festival at 36th Avenue and John F. Kennedy Drive. Vehicles, including paratransit vehicles, are allowed to pull up and drop off patrons at the Accessible Entrance. Near this entrance will be a limited number of accessible parking spots beginning at the intersection of 36th Avenue and JFK Drive and continuing west along JFK Drive. They are available on a first-come, first-serve basis to those who have a government-issued accessible parking tag, placard or plate.
Because of extremely limited parking inside the Park and the surrounding neighborhoods, Outside Lands strongly encourages carpooling or using public transportation. San Francisco Muni’s bus #5 makes a stop at Fulton and 36th Avenue, about one quarter mile from the Accessible Entrance. For those using the Outside Lands Shuttle, the drop off leads to a paved road to the South Entrance. However, there is an uphill approach of approximately a tenth of a mile to the entrance and followed by a shorter but fairly steep hill down to the Polo Field.
Access Center: Outside Lands suggests patrons who will be using a wheelchair to stop by the Access Center, located just inside the Access Entrance at 36th and JFK Drive. Staff will be on hand at the Access Center to provide the most up-to-date access information including the terrain, viewing platforms, accessible toilets and special requests. Comprehensive information on accessible services can be found through Outside Lands’ Access for Patrons with Disabilities page.
Nearly 80 food vendors comprised of restaurant partners, food trucks and carts, will be on hand to offer all sorts of delicious food items, including gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. Concertgoers can refer to the 2016 Outside Lands map for the location of each respective vendor.
Most food vendors will accept debit/credit cards for food purchases. However concertgoers are advised to bring cash to play it safe. Among the recommended restaurant partners to consider for tasty offerings are Earthly Delights, Nombe, Rosamunde Sausage Grill, Tacolicious, Three Twins Ice Cream and Wise Sons Jewish Deli.
Among the notable food trucks and cars operating on the festival grounds are Bacon Bacon, Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream, Senor Sisig and The Chairman. Other gourmet food items can be found at Chocolands, Cheeselands and Outside Clams, near Wine Lands.
Staff representing more than 40 regional wineries will be available to serve over 120 types of fine wine at Wine Lands. Among the notable participating wineries are Bluxome Street Winery, Chateau Montelena, Claypool Cellars, Preston Farm and Winery and Ridge Vineyards. All Wine Lands vendors are completely cashless and all purchases must be made with “Bison Bucks” through the official RFID-enabled wristband. Funds can be added to an account at the physical Top-up Station at Wine Lands or through the Outside Lands mobile app.
More than 25 local and regional breweries will be selling all sorts of fine craft beers at Beer Land. Among the most popular brewing companies lined up for this year are 21st Amendment Brewery, Anchor Brewing Company, Drake’s Brewing, Mendocino Brewing and North Coast Brewing Company. Beer Lands will be located at the east end of the Polo Field, furthest from Lands End Stage.
This year’s Outside Lands will also feature the return of Gastro Magic for food, drink, music, magic and more, as well as Outsider Art with daily live painting and a full lineup of artwork from local artists. Other activities on the festival grounds will be the Back Wine Mini Golf Course, Castland by Google Chromecast and the Digital Detox and Camp Grounded Analog Zone.
Allowed & Prohibited Items:
Outside Lands has a complete list of items that are either accepted or prohibited. Among the items attendees can bring in are blankets, regular sized or unframed backpacks, two sealed water bottles, binoculars and personal cameras with a detachable lens two inches or shorter. Among the prohibited items are weapons of any kind, illegal substances, skateboards, fireworks and explosives, umbrellas, selfie sticks, spray paint and large markers, pets, tents, audio and/or video equipment and professional cameras.