Living two blocks from Golden Gate Park, Outside Lands is well within the perimeters of my urban backyard. This was initially why I started attending the festival a few years ago, but now I go to escape the Normal. This is partially achieved by the way I revert to a gushy teen while watching acts for which my hipster-ass thinks it’s too cool (Red Hot Chili Peppers). The other part of the equation is they way OL transforms the Park into a carny fairytale filled with fine food and trees that are alive with color, as if their moods were on display in the night.
These moods were infectious, and the spirit of camaraderie and goodwill amongst the crowd was palpable. Heterosexual men approached my fella to compliment him on his majestic beard and give him free beer. We won free food, and happened upon a giant pouch of medical (yet illicit) substances on the ground. Old friends were found, and new friends were made with people and bands alike. My inner teenager was able to see Camper Van Beethoven, and I fell madly in love with Gary Clark Jr–our generation’s equivalent to Jimmy Hendrix.
When the tally was made the sum became a conglomeration of moments that will never be forgotten. This is what makes the price for entry worthwhile, the sticker shock recede. For a brief three days we were persons outside of ourselves: two souls wandering turf that many men and women had trod before, imprinting the land with another notch in a timeline that will carry on beyond our own. This fact was made clear to me while watching Paul McCartney–a piece of living history. His three-hour set included every song I NEEDED to hear, was peppered with deeply moving stories about John Lennon and George Harrison (Ringo got no play), and included fireworks. Positively breathtaking.
Thank you, Outside Lands. See you in 2014.