Outside Lands music festival brings electrifying performances to San Francisco
Over the Halloween weekend, the Outside Lands Music Festival drew approximately 74,000 people from across the country to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco every day. Crowds gathered in costume to indulge in some of the Bay Area’s unique food and art offerings and watch three days of breathtaking concerts. The impressive lineup included celebrities like Tyler, the creator; Glass animals; Lizzo and Tame Impala, as well as smaller emerging artists such as Bebe Rexha’s mentee, Shilan.
The organizers designed the entry requirements with COVID-19 security in mind. Guests were required to test negative 72 hours prior to participation or show full proof of vaccination. Although generally encouraged, masks were strictly required only indoors.
Alison Rogers ’25, who was in attendance on Friday, was especially thrilled to see British indie rock band Glass Animals. She said the concert “was all I hoped to go – they were energetic and charismatic, and hearing live music for the first time in forever was a feeling I will never forget.”
Nicole Domingo ’24 was equally excited to finally see a live performance; she attended Outside Lands to see her favorite band, The Strokes, in person. Domingo added that she was present alongside one of her best friends, who she initially bonded with around a “shared love for The Strokes – an incredible loop moment”.
Local restaurants in the Bay Area, including highly rated Nepalese restaurant Bini’s Kitchen and fried chicken experts World Famous Hotboys, offered a plethora of mouthwatering dining options. The park air was constantly permeated with the tantalizing smells of everything from tacos quesabirria to wood-fired pizzas. Organized in neat rows of tents, restaurants scrambled to handle long lines of hungry onlookers.
The main festival grounds also featured a thriving market held in conjunction with West Coast Craft, a collective of small craft businesses from across California. Talented Bay Area designers sold everything from intricately designed sew-on patches to stunning handmade jewelry. Grass Lands, a legal marijuana sales area, was hidden away alongside more than 21 sister areas selling beer and wine.
One musical group in particular marked me with its avant-gardeism: the Mongolian rock group The Hu. The four-member group merges western rock music with a traditional Mongolian overtone singing technique called throat singing, or khoomei. The rapid growth of the Hu is testament to the surprising stylistic synergy of their music. As they performed, the amazing resonance of khoomei and traditional Mongolian instruments completely enveloped the audience.
In an interview, singer Nyamjantsan “Jaya” Galsanjamts said that the throat singing technique “takes years of hard work and practice,” claiming to have practiced it for 22 years. Much of the band’s music revolves around their Mongolian culture and homeland. They use traditional Mongolian instruments like the Jaya tumuur hhuur (jaw harp) and tsuur (flute). Members Enkhsaikhan “Enkush” Batjarga and Galbadrakh “Gala” Tsendbaatar play horse-headed violins called morin khuur. Gala, who is also the lead singer, explains that at the heart of their lyrics is a universal reminder to “be respectful to our elders and protect this nature”.
For them, “having fun together” was the most vital part of returning to concerts in person.
“Being connected with the audience is our favorite part of performing on this stage,” said Temuulen “Temka” Naranbaatar, backing vocalist and backing vocalist. tovhsuur (lute) player.
While The Hu established himself as an unexpected star, Outside Lands also stunned audiences with audience favorites established on their four main stages. Tyler, the creator made fans applaud with a typically energetic performance of the hit songs from his latest album, “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST”. One moment he rocked the crowd with a quick rape on “LEMONHEAD”, and the next, everyone was rocking on the sweet and nostalgic “WUSYANAME”.
Iconic pop singer Lizzo, also known for the infectious energy of her performances, wowed audiences by recording a TikTok directly on stage during her performance.
Palo Alto High School alum Remi Wolf is no stranger to TikTok either, with several songs going viral on the platform. Her memorable set Outside Lands showcased her versatile voice and irresistible charisma; Wolf swept his audience away in a tide of his bubbly pop and covers of familiar hits such as “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley.
Other artists born in the Bay Area have given brilliant concerts, including San Francisco rapper 24kGoldn and experimental musicians Salami Rose Joe Louis and Brijean of Oakland. Country artist Cam grew up in Lafayette, a suburb of San Francisco, and even worked in psychology research at Stanford before turning to the music industry.
Outside Lands is the latest in a series of interim post-pandemic music festivals. There was no shortage of artists to see; As the day wore on, the excitement mounted for the last headlining concert of the evening. Powered by a dizzying pulse, the event made for an exhilarating Halloween weekend that holds great promise for live entertainment to come.