Lifestyle, Travel

Outside Lands 2017: Highs, Lows and Huhs?

We finally got back from Outside Lands yesterday morning, and I just spent the day at Hungover-And-Sleep-Deprived-At-Work Lands! It was totally worth it though, because we had so much fun! Check out some of the highs and lows from our music and wine-filled weekend:

BEST: Metallica still ROCKS

There is a reason these guys are in the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame: because they f**cking rock. James Hetfield looked like a silver hard rock fox as he worked the stage in black leather pants and black t-shirt. His voice was spot-on, and the band never missed a beat. They put on a stadium-caliber show, complete with pyrotechnics and a massive fireworks display. My favorite part of their set was how much they genuinely seemed to enjoy being on stage and interacting with the crowd. The whole band performed with huge smiles on their faces, and the vibe was infectious.

WORST: The lost continent of Cheese Land

I’m not going to say that the promise of Cheese Lands was the only reason I wanted to go to Outside Lands, but it was probably in my top 3 reasons. When we arrived at the festival, we grabbed a quick bite (TWO elote corn dogs) and then made a b-line to Wine Lands. Our plan was to get some wine and then head over to Cheese Lands to sample the best of what NorCal had to offer. But imagine our shock and disappointment when we discovered that THERE WAS NO CHEESE LAND. It was on all of the festival maps, and we spent about 30 minutes walking around the grounds searching for it to no avail.

BEST and WORST: Layout made things feel less crowded, but we had to walk A LOT

The festival made great use of the park’s space. The rolling hills and natural pathways provided a layout that felt like it was pretty spread out. They also had stuff to do in every corner of the park (like food trucks, characiture artists, giveaways, photo booths, giant jenga, cornhole, photo ops with Ranger Dave, etc.), so it never really felt like there were too many people congregated in one area (except, of course, the stages). Unfortunately, the two main stages were on completely opposite ends of the park, and we made the loop several times each day. My legs hurt and I was totally exhausted by the end of the day, which made me feel super old. However, all that exercise made me feel a little better about the copious quantities of corn dogs and wine I was ingesting.

BEST: Dancing our faces off to Gorillaz

Gorillaz closed the show on Friday with a set that was chock full of special guests, including Kalis Uchis, Yukimi Nagano (of Little Dragon) Pusha T, De La Soul and Del the Funky Homosapien (who helped the Gorillaz perform their huge hit ‘Clint Eastwood’ live for the fourth time since the song was released sixteen years ago). They played their trademark cartoon video footage on the screen behind them during the show, and the crowd had a blast. In this girl’s humble opinion, their set was, by far, the most dance-able and sing-along-able of the night.

WORST: A Tribe Called Cancelled

I’m not a huge Tribe Called Quest fan, and if I am being completely honest, I probably couldn’t name even one of their songs right now. But I have heard they put on a great live show, so I (and like 10,000 other people) was really pumped to see them. They were originally scheduled to perform on Friday night, but postponed their set until Saturday due to “travel issues”, whatever that means. So after Cage the Elephant on Saturday, we hustled across the entire grounds to the Twin Peaks Stage to catch Tribe’s set, only to find hoards of disappointed festival-goers walking in the opposite direction. We figured something had to be up, because so many people were walking away from the stage, and sure enough, we overheard that Tribe had cancelled their show completely. Wah wahhhhh.

BEST: Wine Lands was every bit as amazing as it sounds

Although “Wine Lands” sounds like some sort of fairytale fantasy world that you’d find in adult Disneyland, it was actually just a huge tent with a bunch of booths from different wineries. As you’d expect, the wine was ridiculously overpriced, but oh-so-delicious. Some of our favorite wineries were in attendance, so we definitely spent a fair amount of time there.

BEST: Cage the Elephant can’t be tamed

Cage The Elephant was a late addition to the lineup to replace Queens of the Stone Age, who cancelled a few days before the festival due to “illness”. The lead singer prowled the stage like a combination of young Mick Jagger and young Iggy Pop, for a veritable Brit-pop explosion (they’re not British, but they sound just like it). These guys definitely know how to put on a show, and I think we can expect big things from them in the future. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them headlining Outside Lands 2018!

WORST: Scheduling faux-paux 

The two bands I was most excited to see were Metallica and Empire of the Sun. Empire is one of my absolute favorite bands, and they’re supposed to put on a pretty amazing show. I have never seen them live, so I was super pumped when I found out they were playing Outside Lands. Buuuuuuut, it turned out that Empire and Metallica were both scheduled AT THE SAME TIME on opposite ends of the festival. One does not simply skip Metallica, no matter how tempting the other act might be, so Empire of the Sun will have to wait. Needless to say, it was still FOMO city, population me.

BEST and WORST: We were exactly the right age

The crowd at Outside Lands definitely skews older than other festivals like Coachella, especially with headliners like Metallica and The Who, but overall there seemed to be a really diverse mix of people age-wise. People of all ages came out to enjoy the music, which was awesome because we didn’t feel super out of place. However, even though we seemed to be exactly the right age for festival, we might have been a little too old for all of that dancing and wine, because it’s going to take at least half the week to get rid of this massive hangover and catch up on my sleep.

BEST: This corn dog

BEST: I left my heart in San Francisco

San Francisco is the perfect location for a music festival. The weather was crisp and cool, the people were super friendly, and there were plenty of things to do and see in the mornings before we left for the festival. On Saturday morning, my boyfriend surprised me with a trip to Muir Woods National Monument, which was absolutely breathtaking. Walking among the giant California Redwoods was a peaceful and welcome contract to the weekend’s noisy nighttime festivities. We also got to check out a couple great, late-night restaurants and take a little stroll around the city.

For more highlights from this year’s festival, check out this post from The Young Folks. We weren’t able to make it to any comedy shows at The Barbary, but we did find Bacon Land (did you guys find Cheese Land??), and it was basically just a tiny booth selling bags of bacon.

Overall, we had the best time at Outside Lands, and we can’t wait to go back in 2018!

Have you checked out any good music festivals this summer?

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