The Gems of Outside Lands 2016 In a Crowd of 70,000, it's the little things that make the weekend

Signs That Double as Landmarks

Thank goodness for festival-goers who hand-craft clever landmarks, or else you'd never be able to find anyone....

Signs of OSL 2016

Or ever text the phrase: "Past Beer Lands between Mario Kart with a GoPro and Riley Curry." Yes, your life is an adult game of Candy Land.

The Ostrich

When texting pictures of crowd-bouys and describing knots on a Golden Gate Park tree fails, The Ostrich won't.

The superior feeling of having your shit together

Cuz you're an adult. I wrote about how to prep for the festival if your tolerance for crowds and standing is going the way of your underarm skin and it doubles as a little ode to feeling "old" at festivals.

That guy who has everything with him

Like a dad on a camping trip, only with more potent trail mix.

The GastroMagic Stage

ChefsFeed curated a spectacular culinary lineup on stage and backstage.

Tucked into the woods, away from the main-stage madness, The GastroMagic Stage always ends up being on of my favorite experiences of the weekend. This year, the musical and culinary talents were curated by ChefsFeed and they really out-did themselves. In a weekend of squatting in woods and swimming through crowds, it's always nice to have a bougie moment--it wouldn't be SF if you didn't--and this stage delivered with limited edition Prince-themed Humphrey Slocombe ice cream alongside a tribute band and even a pig roast backstage. But all that couldn't beat my absolute favorite moment:

Big Freedia's Beignet Bounce Dance Party

After three years of pining and pushing and angling, I finally made it on stage for her famous Beignet bounce brunch where her backup dancers took a break to pass out Brenda's French Soul Food Beignets to the hungry bouncing crowd. Big Freedia's set is always a big party where the lines between performer and audience become amazingly blurred.

Crowd kindness

Sometimes you wish death upon the person who cut you in line for the porta potty, but most other times you're reminded people--especially those who love San Francisco--are mostly kind. Biodegradable balloons, volunteers who pick up every piece of trash, staff who pour water into the mouths of die-hard (and possibly dangerously dehydrated) fans in the front row of LCD soundsytem. Women who watch out for other women, and the guy who said to the other guy in nature's great transgender bathroom: "Dude, put your phone away. She's just peeing"--They make the weekend.

This guy.

Doing life right with his warm comfy outfit, Brenda's beignet and glass of wine at 2pm.

The staff worker who never took his eyes off the crowd but smiled mildly through LCD Soundsystem's entire set.

Occasionally, he'd kick a balloon back into the screaming masses.

This Twerking Carrot

When Third Eye Blind Did Something Good with their Crowd of White People

I went out of agreeability and nostalgia--you couldn't be a pre-teen in the 90s and NOT know and love every word to "Semi-Charmed Life." But two songs into their set I realized that I actually don't miss the white male angst that dominated music during my youth. It's not them--a trip through familiar hits reminded me that their lyrics are mostly earnest, well-meaning--although also loosely associated in my head with Zach Braff movies. More honestly: I feel weird, sad, and a little guilty when I look in every direction and don't see a person of color (not that they're not there, in small numbers or perhaps hidden behind a Pokemon landmark). But when Stephan Jenkins sang "Cop V Phone Girl," a new song that aligned "the good fight"--and everyone's participation in it--with the BLM movement, I remembered why my earliest crushes were on thoughtful, empathetic skater dudes. My fondness for Third Eye Blind will likely stay in the realm of the occasional pause on a throw-back radio station, but I really hope they remain relevant to thoughtful, empathetic white males of the future.

"All the kids are alright."

When everyone Lost their Shirts During Major Lazer

And then likely regretted it when the fog rolled back in.

This sweet performance

Clear across the city, the slightly hidden staircase at the base of the Stockton tunnel was one unknown band's stage at 1:30am on Saturday night.

I take this staircase home when I can to side-step a couple steep hills. And because I oddly love it--the way you're one minute in Union Square with its grand department stores on Stockton's busy through-way looking through the tunnel to Chinatown's lanterns and lettering and in 30 gum-and-pee-drenched steps high on quaint Bush Street surrounded by Victorians and bars crowded with Europeans. The first time I learned of its good acoustics was when a man (who was more gross than dangerous) grabbed my butt as I rounded the corner and startled me so much, my scream touched all three neighborhoods. When I emerged on Nob Hill a second later, ready to fist fight for feminism, seemingly all of Bush Street came to my aid. Since I have always secretly fantasized about publicly confronting entitled men when I'm in no real danger and the fight is simple and just, I didn't think I could love that corner more. That is until Saturday night when I walked home from an after party, euphoric with The Knocks and dancing, and this band treated this neglected corner to one last show of the evening.

Outside Lands touches every inch of the city, drives up the energy, and reminds me every year that I live in the best place on Earth.
Created By
Amy Copperman
Thank you, ChefsFeed, for sponsoring one of my favorite romps of the year!

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