The best of Outside Lands 2014

1.OutsideLands2014_postPhotos by Pedro Paredes, Benjamin Wallen and Marc Fong // Written by Molly Kish //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 8th-10th, 2014 //

With so much to offer this seventh year of Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, the celebration of music, food, art and everything in between was at an all-time high! Boasting a packed lineup of diverse performers, culinary innovators and artists, Golden Gate Park hosted a wonderland of possibilities. Here are our favorite features from this year’s extravaganza.

Read our daily recaps from Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
View artist photography by Pedro Paredes below.

2.Kanye West


With a lineup of more than 70 diverse performers, naming the best shows of the weekend is at best an exercise in personal point of view. With opinions running rampant on headliners, under cards and buzz-worthy acts, we instead choose to focus on what caught our attention as some of the most memorable performances of the weekend for better or worse.

How do your favorites match up with our top sets and moments from the weekend? Leave your comments, opinions and personal picks below!

Most Controversial Headliner: Kanye West
Most Explosive Dance Performance: Flume
Biggest Crowd of the Weekend: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Biggest Local Draw: Atmosphere
Best Rock Performance: Deer Tick
Best Hip Hop Performance: Run the Jewels
Breakout Artist of the Festival: Lucius


Best Crowd Engagement/Dance Moves: Cut Copy
Best Use of Stage Design/Props: The Flaming Lips
Heineken Haus MVP: Gorgon City
Loudest Sing Along: The Killers
Best Comedy/Improv Performance: Improvised Shakespeare Company (with guest Patrick Stewart)
Best Quote: “You’re gonna tell your kids about this!” -Kanye West

3.OL-August 08, 2014-3


A festival at maximum capacity can already be hard to navigate, especially with large groups of various paced members, and Outside Lands is no exception. With the innumerable obstacles present in the park’s terrain, even the most seasoned shepherd will at some point find difficulty in herding their festival flock.

This year, especially with the stricter rules regarding what attendees can bring in concerning poles, flags, hoops, etc., the Outside Lands crowd got creative with their tracking skills.


Innovative Beacons/Totems: No pole, no problem! Although the presence of PVC pipes still managed to make their way into the masses, people got pretty imaginative with their signage and “find us here” monuments. Ginormous balloons (even full bouquets of them by weekend’s end) soared hundreds of feet in the air, flocks of Flabongos bounced together above the crowd all weekend and cardboard cutouts of Hodor, crying Kim Kardashian and poop emojis received praise from the crowd. Even those with a history flag waving kept the tradition alive amidst the pole ban by finding the biggest stick within Maclaren Pass to wave their banner high.

5.OSL 2014 117

Festival Wear: Fickle weather kept the costumed crowd members on their toes this past weekend, with temperatures fluctuating as quickly as a set change, Karl the Fog intermittently reared his mischievously muggy head. Outside Lands is an atypical festival in the sense that it fails to adhere to most counterparts’ “clothing optional” fashion guidelines, so attendees have to get creative in the Bay Area when it comes to group uniforms — and this crowd didn’t fail. Most effective use of costumes this year included creepily monochromatic “balloon people” with fully inflatable body suits and face masks, a storm trooper masked duo (made out of cereal boxes) donning a “show us your taun-tauns” sign and flocks of animal onesies.



With almost as much excitement revolving around the fare of Outside Lands as the music and art portions of the festival, this year’s attendees were treated to an exorbitant amount of delicious options to satiate their palette. Marrying the festivals’ live entertainment with culinary prowess, a lot of the action took place on this year’s inaugural debut of the GastroMagic stage and surrounding food “lands”. Some of our favorites included:

7.Big Freedia2

Big Freedia’s and Brenda’s French Soul Food “Bounce Brunch”: This was where fans of Southern cooking and the transgender twerking sensation, the “Queen Diva” herself, were treated to an early Saturday afternoon, interactive mini set. Freedia took the stage with her co-ed twerk team and two members of Brenda’s French Soul Food, coerced the crowd to join her on stage and twerk for made-to-order beignets. Almost immediately, lines formed to strut in front of the audience for the piping-hot pastries, with the restaurant staff joining in on the fun, tapping their powdered sugar dispensers along to chants of “Shake for your beignets…”

8.Bacon-Flight Photo via Pop Sugar.

Bacon Bacon Lands flights: For the truly decadent, this year’s Bacon Lands covered all the delicious meat-candy bases. Most often seen floating throughout the park via the Bacon Bacon flights, the well-known Bay Area food truck offered a skewered sampling of three various types of cured fat, packaged as a between set “meat-sicle” snack comprised of everyone’s favorite part of our piggy friends. The aroma wafting from this “land” was hypnotic, coaxing weary festivalgoers rummaging through Maclaren Pass to the magical pork stand tucked away in the trees. Surpassing all of its other neighboring “lands”, this location easily had some of the most enthusiastic lines with patrons salivating for their chance at some greasy goodness on the go.

9.Don't Get CaughtPedro

Macgyver Mini Bars: While we at Showbams do not condone attempting to smuggle in anything restricted by Outside Lands (or any festival for that matter), we have to acknowledge the attempts both successful and foiled. By the weekend’s end, security was a force to be reckoned with, but what seemed like an ocean of alcohol still made its way inside. Even in a setting that one can traverse the fairgrounds openly with some of the world’s best beer and wine while adorning a legal ID wristband, people got ingenious with their covert booze operations, tipping authorities off to some of the greatest sneaking-in secrets in the festival’s history.

Beyond hiding alcohol in legal food boxes, wrappers and the obvious camel back and thermos containers, many used the park’s topography to literally bury their liquor treasures. There were hollowed out loaves of bread, burrito wrapped liters, creepy nether-region containers and more. Some successful showoffs even boasted about it to local press and spattered social media with their accomplishments.



Digital Detox, Camp Grounded Analog Zone and Sober Lands: In an attempt to reunite the festivalgoer with the true concept of what a music festival essentially is/used to/should be, Outside Lands brings a truly “unique” experience to the forefront with its campaign to “disconnect to reconnect” with these three features. Attempting to remove attendees from the digital noise of the modern world and get back to a simpler, more organic festival experience, Digital Detox and Camp Grounded Analog Zone provide the opportunity to drink tea in a yurt while making arts and crafts, playing board games, meditating, face painting or writing love letters on a typewriter to leave on a missed connection board sans social media and telephones.

If you’re not a fan of partying with the inebriated masses, Sober Lands had you covered. With meetings scheduled throughout the day, the tent offered a place of solace for those looking to clear their head between smushing up against sweaty booze-soaked bodies all day amidst the craziness of the typical festival crowds.

11.Art Chillin

Outsider Art and The Barbary: This year’s art program, curated by Jeben Berg and the legendary SF art publication Juxtapoz Magazine, brought an incredible roster of talent to the festival forefront. Between the live graffiti art, painting, theater and insane installations, the visual art at this year’s festival was better than ever before. From the individual wall panels lining the polo fields to Dennis Mcnett’s incredible sculpture piece, even Ranger Dave got in on the fun with his larger-than-life welcoming statue next to the North Side entrance/Sutro Stage.

Along with the stunning visuals, Dr. Flotsam’s Hell Brew Revue dominated the Barbary area, causing mischief throughout the McLaren Pass with his frolicking band of Carny Bastards. Very rarely could you make the mission through the woods without encountering a circus sideshow of random clowns playing “bowling for drunks”, whips cracking, roots revival hoe-downs and odd Nordic funeral processions clouding up the overpass. It wasn’t something most would consider having to navigate around at a sold-out music festival, but when in SF, one better come prepared for more than just cold weather and marathon-style walking.


  1. why does the picture of the SFPD have to be placed next to the bacon article??

  2. Really appreciate all the great photos and the top sets list, because there is just way too much to see and hear at OSL! Gotta say, Chromeo, still makes me smile the most 🙂 I have to give a shout out to the OSSO crew who fabricated and installed all the signage. Those kids give it their all. It’s cool to see the festival coming to life for the week leading up to the event. Sorry I missed the BaconLand pop, but took full advantage of ChocoLand. LOVE the Showbams forum!!!!

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