While the rest of the Northern Hemisphere enjoys warm and sunny days come the first weekend of August, the San Francisco Bay Area promises one constant: cold and fog. For Bay Area locals, the weather is something that can be counted on with little change almost the entire year. For those traveling in, it’s a rude awakening.
“One of the differentiators of Outside Lands is the weather,” Superfly’s Rick Farman, who helps organize the event, tells Pollstar. This year sees the festival’s return to the first weekend of August for the first time since COVID-19 reared its head. Last year, Outside Lands was pushed back to Halloween weekend in October. “So many festivals are hot, and to a certain degree that can be uncomfortable. And especially when taking the full breadth of our creatives, wine, beer, radical food from over 100 vendors. That is really best to partake of when you have a cool climate.”
The average high in August is a comfortable 72.5ºF and can drop down to 56.3ºF come nighttime.
This year’s Outside Lands not only promises cool weather, but features Bay Area superstars Green Day – an act the festival has been trying to get for years.
“Green Day headlining has been an artist we’ve wanted to play the festival since forever,” Allen Scott, head booker of Outside Lands and EVP for Another Planet Entertainment, tells Pollstar. “And it’s just never worked out. It’s made total sense to have them. They’re a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame artist and local legends as well as a world-renowned band. It’s just been a no-brainer, and finally the stars aligned this year.”
Post Malone and SZA round out the rest of this year’s headliners, with the former coming off his new album and the latter returning after opening up the Twin Peak stage at noon just a few years prior.
After nailing down the main headliners, Scott plans out the rest of the lineup depending on the vibe. “We start with the headliners and we build off of there. We build stages off of them, too, and let it flow from there,” he says. This year’s lineup also features sets from Jack Harlow, Weezer, Phoebe Bridgers, Lil Uzi Vert, Kali Uchis, Disclosure, Mitski, Illenium, Dominic Fike and more.
On top of the musical experience Outside Lands promises, the festival also brings an entire culinary experience. While one festival package runs at close to $5,000 (with Michelin-star food and other great amenities), even the most affordable vendors at Outside Lands promise to be delicious.
The City by the Bay has long been considered a melting pot with fine cuisine, and Outside Lands’ organizers bring in restaurants from all across the Bay Area. From Mexican to Vietnamese, Cambodian to festival staples like burgers and pizza, there’s something for everyone (including plenty of vegetarian and vegan options). On top of the food, the festival boasts numerous wine options (with more than 100 different wines) and Beer Lands, which brings in more than 30 breweries).
“If you go through and look at all the different food, it’s not like back in the day,” Scott says. “[Back then] it was just pizza, burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches. We have so many different cuisines from so many different cultures, and I can’t wait.”
With great music and a mouthwatering menu, Outside Lands’ Grass Lands promises to add the finishing touch. This year marks the fourth year of Grass Lands, which educates festivalgoers about cannabis and cannabis culture. This year also marks the third Outside Lands will dispense cannabis on the festival site.
“It’s such a pioneering space,” Farland says. “[It’s] still really the only major national festival that has sales and consumption of cannabis legally. San Francisco has been kind of the hub of the cannabis industry. It’s nice to extend our mission as a festival, really espousing everything the Bay Area has to offer and create culturally.”
With more than a decade under its belt, Outside Lands encompasses every facet of Bay Area culture. With the festival always taking place in Golden Gate Park, the encapsulation of the Bay Area only heightens the experience.
“We’ve been doing this festival for close to 15 years,” Farman says. “We are a well-oiled machine. Most of the core festival team has been there from the beginning. There’s a lot of collective experience that allows us to do this. We are really building on all of the things that we’ve been able to put in place in the past – things that we’ve created from engagement with the Bay Area community.”
After having done a special Halloween weekend in 2021, Scott and Farman look forward to returning to the first weekend of August. There’s less of a chance of rain (but not entirely impossible), which occurred before and after Outside Lands’ October date.
“It’s our home weekend,” Scott says. “Last year, the Halloween special edition was really great. We had a lot of fun with that. But this is our home weekend. It’s where we cut our teeth; where we feel comfortable.”
Since its beginnings, Outside Lands has managed to become a Bay Area staple. From curating lineups that honor Bay Area legends, to highlighting local cuisine, showcasing Bay Area culture and topping it off with San Francisco’s signature foggy weather, the entirety of the festival celebrates the City by the Bay. This year’s festival promises to bring all that and more – just remember to wear warm layers.