Now in its eleventh year, Outside Lands festival took place Friday, August 10th to Sunday, August 12th at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA. Florence + The Machine, Janet Jackson, and The Weekend topped the bill, but over the three days there were many notable artists making appearances on the various stages spread throughout the park. Throughout the years, Outside Lands has continued to prove that it is at the top of its game, seamlessly bringing excellent talent, food, and beverages together for a one-of-a-kind experience. For the first year, PureGrainAudio was in attendance to take photos and notes! Looking back, here are seven of the weekend’s top moments.
– After the first couple songs, Florence, the frontwoman of Florence + The Machine, kindly asked that everyone put their phones away and to experience the moment. On by one faces were no longer illuminated by screens but by the lights beaming from the stage. Few times have I seen an artist’s request to the audience to put their phones away respected. Florence had the magic touch. Florence is an angel on the stage – she effortlessly glides from one side to another. Her constant movement made the large stage feel small. She does a wonderful job bringing everyone’s attention throughout the crowd into the experience of the moment. Her powerful performance was truly the highlight of the weekend. If you missed them at Outside Lands, there’s still time to catch a Florence + The Machine performance during one of the remaining North America tour dates this fall.
Check out Catherine Patchell’s full photo gallery of Day 2 of Outside Lands 2018.
– Alongside her two dynamic dancers, Lizzo delivered a powerful set of feel-good songs at Outside Lands. Amidst her encouraging messages about self-love and body positivity, she brought the crowd together in a chant of “You’re beautiful. You can do anything!” With an outfit that matched her bold voice and vibrant personality, Lizzo was a ray of sunshine that brightened our afternoon.
– Janelle Monae absolutely slayed during her set. Set changes, costume changes, and not a moment of rest between tracks. It wasn’t until the last song that Monae told the audience that she was recovering from food poisoning during the set. How she managed to flawlessly deliver a performance that fierce while not feeling good is baffling. Monae and her fellow performers are a force to be reckoned with.
– Chvrches were supposed to make their first appearance at Outside Lands back in 2014, but due to unfortunately being faced with visa issues at the border, they were forced to cancel their performance. Taking to the festival’s main stage in the early evening on Saturday, the group was greeted with a massive welcome from the crowd’s cheers. Their mesmerizing performance featured many songs off of their most recent album release, Love Is Dead. Chvrches will be back in North America in September, continuing to tour in support of the album, and it is no surprise to see dates selling out in advance.
– Coming all the way from Australia, Tash Sultana spent the first part of the year packing venues throughout the United States and Canada. Her set was late in the day and unfortunately, I was only able to catch half of it due to conflicting set times. Leaving another set, I pass by many people who had sat down to take a break and get in line for food since we were nearing the end of the day and festival. As I rounded the bend and headed down the path that led to the Sutro stage, the energy level changed immediately. Sultana had the crowd dancing and full of joy. The solo multi-instrumentalist brings to the stage the energy you would expect from a multi-person band.
Check out Catherine Patchell’s full photo gallery of Day 3 of Outside Lands 2018.
– Okay, please forgive me for that tacky line. Outside Lands is a festival that does a great job catering to a wide age range and music taste, by selecting iconic acts that will draw a wide range of interests. On the last day of the festival, the main stage brought pop icon Janet Jackson, but if you took the winding path through the festival grounds, through the colorfully lit trees after the sun had gone down, you’d find DJ Snake closing out the festival at the Twin Peaks stage. The crowd had grown so large that it overflowed into the space of the adjacent Panhandle stage. When DJ Snake tried to get the crowd to “get low” at the beginning of a song, they were physically unable to because there was not an inch of extra space around.
– During the set, frontman Justin Vernon asked the crowd to give him their best death metal growl. As an avid metal listener myself, I’ll give the crowd a two out of five on quality/brutality. He followed it up by asking his sound technician if they had captured that sample. Is Bon Iver getting into the death metal space in their next release? Well, probably not. But with unique sounds layered throughout the tracks, who knows, if you were at Outside Lands, you might find yourself somewhere within the next single. Though bringing a performance a music style that I felt was a bit too mellow for a late evening festival slot, Bon Iver was well received by the crowd. The only complaint that I heard over and over after the set was the lack of his most popular song, “Skinny Love,” being left out of the setlist.
Outside Lands, thanks for all the memories. We’ll see you next year, August 9th-11th, 2019!