Last August, I flew out to San Francisco for the inaugural Outside Lands Festival, three days of great music in Golden Gate Park. And it looks like I'm going to have to do it again.
No bands have been announced at this point, but last year they brought in Radiohead, Tom Petty and Wilco as the headliners (I'm not acknowledging Jack Johnson as a headliner). Other great bands I caught were Broken Social Scene, Beck, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Cafe Tacvba, Bon Iver, M. Ward, Felice Brothers, Drive-by Truckers and the Cold War Kids. And I missed out on plenty of other great bands, making a tough choice on nearly every slot of the three days.
What's great about Outside Lands is the weather - overcast and slightly chilly beats hotter-than-hell in my book. The transportation, though, was a nightmare.
So now it's on the promoters to top themselves, and stand out among the other huge festivals out there. Coachella seems to be a bit lackluster compared to recent years, Bonnaroo seems to be more schizophrenic than ever, and Lollapalooza hasn't announced its lineup yet either.
I'm hoping for repeats from at least Wilco and Broken Social Scene, plus at least some of the following: Bruce Springsteen, Avett Brothers, Neko Case, Andrew Bird, TV On The Radio, Fleet Foxes...
And I hope to follow up Outside Lands this year with the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, which I missed last year due to job obligations. So, to all my S.F. festival going crew, get ready, because we're going to do it up right.
Radiohead - Weird Fishes / Arpeggi (live 2008-08-22, Outside Lands Festival)
Tom Petty - Runnin' Down A Dream (live 2008-08-23, Outside Lands Festival)