Outside Lands is the only thing I have to look forward to the entire year. My birthday is a week before finals and Christmas gets ruined by obligations to see my problematic extended family, so, I have Outside Lands. Growing up in the Bay Area, I always thought it was the coolest thing we had to offer — the most famous artists in the world coming to Golden Gate Park for three days of indescribable experiences. Every year I wince at the ticket price, yet year after year I buy a ticket against the better judgment of my bank account. My single regret so far was only getting a one-day pass last year (for SZA, obviously). The lineup just dropped on March 7 and this might just be the best one I’ve ever seen.
To save me from the emotional vacuum of my studies and remembering what awaits after finals this semester, these are the things I’m doing to prepare for the festival now:
Picking up more shifts at my job
Committing to such a hefty purchase can be a really stressful and difficult process, especially when you have worked so hard for each paycheck. For me, work and school gets incredibly hectic and I hate feeling like I’m wasting away all my efforts for something I don’t need to go to. However, I tell myself that Outside Lands continues to remind me every year that these experiences make my life worth living, that it makes me happy, and that is enough reason to get a ticket. I’ve always worked incredibly hard at school and work, exhausting myself to the point where I don’t remember the last time I’ve done something for pure enjoyment. Then, in August I get to go to Outside Lands where all my hometown friends come back to attend and we get to watch some of the most talented people on Earth perform. For me, that will always be worth it.
The festival has always been my Met Gala, planning the best outfit I have and getting excited to see what everyone else is wearing. The festival is unique in that there’s people dressed in elaborate costumes while others look like they just came from their day job. I think it encompasses the Bay Area really well, extravagance and nonchalance coexisting — come as you are!
I want to start thinking of themes and types of pieces I want to wear so I can scavenge thrift stores and online. Some themes and costumes that I want to draw inspiration include: Western, racecar driver, bright primary colors and snow wear. Let me explain these a bit more. I want to do Western for one of the festival days because I have these really comfy cowboy boots that I’ve always been too shy to wear out on a normal day. I’m thinking leather, fringes and denim. For racecar driver, I’ve been really into the racing jackets that have become a trend, and I think one of those will keep me really warm when nighttime comes around. For bright primary colors, I have this huge red and yellow sweatshirt that I think could be really fun with other bright accessories. In terms of snow wear, I just thought it would be so comfy to show up like a bundled up skier — snow pants and big jackets with bright colors or patterns to keep me warm. I think what’s most important to keep in mind as the festival comes around is that you do not need to buy a whole new wardrobe. I try to pick my favorite pieces that I already own and look for pieces that will not only enhance it but that I will want to wear after the festival is over.
Revisiting some artists I’ve forgotten about
Outside Lands has always had a very diverse and varied setlist, from rap to indie to rock and to Shaquille O’Neal, apparently. There are so many artists that I haven’t looked at in years — for me, those include Lana Del Rey and The 1975 (forgive me indie girlies). I still want to make sure to see them though, so I want to go back to listening to these artists more. When the festival approaches, there are going to be so many playlists of people curating their ideal days of who they want to see, so make sure to check these out or even better, make your own!
Keeping in mind what I should buy to bring into the grounds
Every year I forget something crucial, so I want to make sure I have all the necessities before I’m scrambling to find things last minute. Some essentials that come to mind include:
1. Sunscreen: The city is known for its fog, but the sun’s rays are strong. Following so many sunburn nightmares after the three day festival, with my face literally peeling, I’ll never forget sunscreen ever again.
2. A backpack that holds water: I do not drink enough water ever, but if there is any time to be super hydrated, it’s during this festival. You are going to be walking very far from stage to stage, and then squished between the body heat of other people in the crowd, so you will get very thirsty. There’s also refill stations throughout the park.
3. Baby wipes: The portable bathrooms are gnarly.
4. My film camera: Film is able to capture memories in such a beautiful and nostalgic way which frenzied videos of me scream-singing during concerts do not. Grab your disposable or film camera to capture some moments you may have forgotten about during the hectic three days that will be so special to see once they’re developed.
Sending the volunteer applications of the festival to all my friends who don’t want to buy a ticket:
The price point of the festival is not one that is easily accessible, so I encourage all my friends that are weary of getting a ticket to think about volunteering at the festival! I did it my first year, being a high school student with not a dollar to her name, and it was a really great experience. You can choose between being a General Festival or Clean Vibes volunteer and in return, you’ll get a free ticket! I remember it being really fulfilling that I was able to give back to the park for having such a great event.
Remember, Golden Gate Park is a beautiful jewel of the city and it’s important to treat the natural space with respect and consideration when attending the festival!