The Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival gives 40,000-60,000 ear-eager music fans a yearly opportunity to experience both music and art in one place. Atop the scattered stages you can find an abnormal yet effective line-up of musical artistry. Seeing a neighborhood cafe act lead into Erykah Badu was normal. The purgatory that lies between mega stardom and small-town-nobody is suddenly erased. Nor are any rules of artist seniority enforced. Divas mix amongst us normal folk, all egos aside, in the attempt to give awaiting fans what they're spending the weekend in San Francisco for: pure, raw musical talent. It didn't matter how many albums the artist sold --it only mattered if they were good. And to my surprise there weren't any "not so good acts" at this year's festival, which was held at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
Artist industry lines were erased, as were demographics. The elderly mixed with the youth, and the Heavy Metal fans mixed with the R&B Soul fans. Friday and Saturday went off with a bang hosting acts like The Black Keys, The Roots, Girl Talk, Ok go, Toro y Moi, Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, Ellie Goulding, The Shins, Muse and many more. During Girl Talk's set an angelic lightning storm danced behind the strong basses and rhythms. Ok Go kept the crowds attention and ears perked with their clever assortment and use of instruments. The Shins delivered a heart pulsing set, amping the crowd more and more with the beginning of each song played. STRFKR’s high energy performance gave the audience a feeling of intimacy by having them participate in songs and onstage pictures.The Black Keys upped your amo while in the midst of other great acts, belting out enormous vocals and sounds. Muse did not divert from the shows they are known for; hard guitar licks accompanied by lazier light shows and bouncing inflatable eye balls.
The historic Golden Gate Park served for a vast venue --talent performing in every corner. On the opposite side of the park K Flay, The Joy Formidable, Foster The People, Ellie Goulding, Big Boi and many more performed. I was pleasantly surprised by both the caliber of Ellie Goulding's talent and the amount of fans who came out to see her. K Flay, a local San Fran MC dazzled the crowd with her lyrical abilities. Lead singer Ritzy Bryan lead The Joy Formidable throughout a power packed set, pleasing both the eyes and ears. And Big Boi laced his microphone with his classics, interrupting the show only to bring out Dave Chappelle for a few jokes.
Other acts included: Arcade Fire, DeadMau5, The Decemberists, John Fogerty, Beirut, STS9, Major Lazer, Little Dragon, Julieta Venegas, Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band, and Mavis Staples, to name a few. As the cloud covered weekend came to a close, and the lingering waft of music in the air settled to the ground; sleep deprived music lovers headed back to their respective towns. Awaiting next years line up news.