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Outside Lands 2019: Our top sets & festival awards

Outside Lands 2019Photos by Marc Fong & Mike Rosati // Written by Molly Kish & Kevin Quandt //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 9th-11th, 2019 //

Now that the dust has settled in Golden Gate Park both literally and figuratively, it’s time to look back at what made the 12th annual Outside Lands such a success this year. Besides the banner performances from a smorgasbord of artists and bands across a multitude of genres, some attention should be paid to the fresh features that were brought to the three-day music festival’s expansive grounds.

Grass Lands was unquestionably the most talked-about “land” onsite, as OSL made history by becoming the first major U.S. music festival to permit the sales of recreational cannabis. There was something for every stoner in this lush forest, whether it was a variety of edible selections from Kiva to our own personal favorite, the Pineapple Coast-flavored disposable vape pens by DomPen. It wasn’t surprising to witness a vast majority of attendees make a pass through this immersive area that featured vendors, promotional goodies and dedicated cannabis smoking areas. While the enjoyment of ganja-related items is not new to music events in the Bay Area, it was a breath of fresh air to have it be considered legal in these specified areas. What better way to cure that cotton mouth and those pesky munchies than with all of the mind-boggling food and drink options that were available?

The 2019 edition of Outside Lands also featured plenty of memorable sets from some of the best breakthrough talents, returnees and legacy acts in the business. So, sit back, relax and discover which were our favorite performances of the weekend, plus our picks for the fest’s most standout aspects, below.


Outside Lands 2019 - blink-182

TOP SETS:

Artist: blink-182
Set date/time: Friday, 6:25-7:40 p.m.
Location: Lands End

Though these 90’s pop-punk kings may be short an OG member, that didn’t stop them from a summer shed tour alongside Lil Wayne. Sure, we all miss Tom DeLonge, and yes, Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio remains a considerably solid stand-in, but how effective is this nostalgia act in 2019? That’s a tricky question we won’t answer because at the end of the day, festivalgoers of all ages still love singing along to “What’s My Age Again?” and “All the Small Things”. It’s really as simple as that to be honest. Does frontman Mark Hoppus’ silly onstage banter work even as he approaches 50? That’s a whole other can of worms I won’t unpack here. -KQ

Outside Lands 2019

Artist: Tierra Whack
Set date/time: Saturday, 3:45-4:35 p.m.
Location: Twin Peaks

Following in the footsteps of many groundbreaking female artists who came before her, Tierra Whack brought some next level “Black Girl Magic” to OSL. Filling the oddball category on this year’s bill, the fire-spitting emcee brought impeccable artistry and her uniquely quirky brand of hip-hop to a stunned crowd as she competed against blink-182’s nostalgia-laden set over at the festival’s main stage. The audience was completely immersed in the 24-year-old’s warped red-and-white “Seussical” set design, as she delivered penetrating verses off her debut album Whack World. Reminiscent of Janelle Monae’s production during her tour cycle for Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase), Tierra paid homage to the aesthetics of Missy Elliot and Grace Jones while setting the bar for what music fans should expect from a truly authentic hip-hop show. -MK

Outside Lands 2019 - Childish Gambino

Artist: Childish Gambino
Set date/time: Saturday, 8:25-9:55 p.m.
Location: Lands End

As one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend, Childish Gambino (born Donald Glover) was an absolute highlight of OSL 2019 and it could very well go down as one of the best sets over the festival’s 12-year run. Minutes before making his grand entrance on the main stage, Glover was informed that he had induced the largest crowd in OSL history. When he finally dismounted from his disco platform in the middle of the polo fields, he shared the news and the audience’s energy from that point forward was palpable. Catching Childish Gambino on his current touring schedule is not only rare, but also few and far between. This year he has been mainly headlining festivals, and rumor has it that this cycle will be his final one billed under the “Childish Gambino” moniker, which made for an even more monumental event in SF. Glover dove straight into an aggressive set of songs from Because the Internet and notable cuts on 2016’s Awaken My Love while being accompanied by a backup band and rotating cast of creative support, including a full choir and crew of dancers/performance artists. More of a conceptual art piece than a typical headlining set, Childish’s masterpiece is one that we will remember for a long time. -MK

Outside Lands 2019

Artist: DJ Koze
Set date/time: Sunday, 3:40-4:30 p.m.
Location: Sutro

Daytime disco is never an easy feat to pull off at a festival, but DJ Koze had no issue whipping a packed field of dance enthusiasts into a lucid, sweaty frenzy. Coming off his OSL night show Friday at Mezzanine, Stefan Kozalla brought the club vibes so seamlessly to the midday crowd that in the moment, you could barely recognize that you were with so many glistening festival attendees in 80-degree weather (yes, really). Everywhere you turned, smiling faces flashed in unison to the infectious beats of “Pick Up” and “Operator” from his 10-year discography. Fans unapologetically sang along to DJ Koze’s well-known, nu-disco anthems and genuinely let go of themselves during a set that produced some of the weekend’s best vibes. -MK

Outside Lands 2019 - Kacey Musgraves

Artist: Kacey Musgraves
Set date/time: Sunday, 4:10-5:10 p.m.
Location: Lands End

Kacey Musgraves is arguably one of 2019’s top artists. Her fourth LP Golden Hour has received incredible accolades since its release in 2018, eventually nabbing the highly coveted Grammy for Album of the Year. That said, it was little surprise that Musgraves was able to fill the main stage with fans. Her subtle, yet powerful opener “Slow Burn” could not have been more ideal as she took in the immense crowd. She cutely quipped about playing the Sutro stage in 2014, and you could tell she was well-aware of the moment’s gravity. She naturally leaned heavily on Golden Hour, making sure to include fan favorites such as “Butterflies” and “High Horse” during her set, and at this rate, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before this alt-country breakout star finds herself in big font at the top of festival posters. -KQ

Outside Lands 2019 - Toro y Moi

Artist: Toro y Moi
Set date/time: Sunday, 6:10-7 p.m.
Location: Sutro

While this wasn’t Chaz Bundick’s first OSL appearance, the Berkeley resident was welcomed back with the biggest and most energetic audience that he has ever amassed in the festival’s history. Riding high from touring in support of his sixth album Outer Peace, he commanded the stage with confidence and performed a club-worthy list of dance-floor jams from his full catalog. Complemented by idyllic weather, Chaz Bear got us grooving and sweating during a much-needed, pick-me-up set on an often-weary Day 3. -MK

Outside Lands 2019 - Paul Simon

Artist: Paul Simon
Set date/time: Sunday, 7:35-9:35 p.m.
Location: Lands End

Now that OSL has casually cruised into its 12th year, some musical traditions appear to be in place. Sunday night has become the “legacy artist” slot for many years now, and while these may not be the highest-attended sets of the weekend, they have become a quintessential part of the event. Simon was no different in all circumstances referenced above. No one should be upset that his live retirement barely lasted a year, as the 77-year-old came out jubilant and as entertaining as ever. He quipped about his past musings and even invited a Bay Area legend onstage. As the sun began to set on a shockingly sunny August day, Simon waltzed out there and opened with “Late in the Evening”. Other classic hits like “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” and “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” were featured early. “Graceland” kicked off his encore, which saw the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir join in on the Simon & Garfunkel tune “The Boxer”. Although Weir didn’t tackle any major vocals, it was a unique moment to see the two share the stage. And in a fitting way, “The Sound of Silence” served as Simon’s closing song before the masses strolled into SF’s Outerlands one last time. -KQ


Outside Lands 2019

OUTSIDE LANDS 2019 AWARDS:

Best “Lands”: Grass Lands
Elevating the festival game with the legal purchase and consumption of marijuana on the grounds, there were interactive installations like the smell wall, tutorials on how to make bongs and pipes out of fruit, and lounges to chill and take in all the heady vibes.

Best Beacon: The Giant Inflatable Straw
In a city where the use of plastic straws is nearly obsolete, OSL found a tongue-in-cheek way to make sure that the last remaining one was ever-present throughout the park.

Best Food: Lobster Roll (Woodhouse Fish Co.)
This decadently loaded, perfect on-the-go meal may have been overshadowed by the rest of the 2019 culinary menu, but it was by far the best bang for your buck.

Best Cocktail: Pork Chop Express (The Treasury)
If you were looking for something refreshing and not too overwhelmingly intoxicating, The Treasury had you covered all weekend long. Consisting of gin, pineapple gum, honey syrup and lapsang souchong tea, this libation was a crowd favorite that essentially tasted like an adult Arnold Palmer.

Best Wine: West + Wilder (Sparkling)

Best Pop-up: Wyclef Jean’s (somewhat surprise) set outside of the Heineken Dome

Best Upgrade: Verizon Members Lounge

Best Merchandise: Limited Edition Bomber Jacket (buy here)

Best Comedian: Alyssa Edwards

Best Cameo: Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead (during Paul Simon’s headlining performance)

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