By Kiana Lei Yap | Opinion Columnist

Tove Lo performed at the 10th anniversary Outside Lands festival, which widely dissapointed attendees. (Courtesy of The Mercury News)

For the third year in a row, Outside Lands has produced another disappointing lineup. As one of the Bay Area’s music festivals, Outside Lands draws hundreds of thousands of people to the fields of Golden Gate Park for the duration of its three-day festival run.

When I started going with a small group of friends after our senior year of high school, perhaps the festival spoiled us a little too much with headliners that included Mumford & Sons, The Black Keys, Elton John, Sam Smith, and Kendrick Lamar. Their sub-headliners were outstanding too: pre-fame James Bay, Odesza, G-Eazy, and Leon Bridges, to name a few. Each day had us scrambling from the mainstage at the polo fields to the smaller stages around the park, while rushing to grab some overpriced festival food and bathroom breaks in between. As first-timers then, we all agreed to make this our yearly summer go-to before heading back to college.

Little did we know that Outside Lands would only severely disappoint us in the following years. In early March of 2016, we were all sitting at our laptops waiting to buy the “Eager Beaver” pre-sale tickets right when they opened at 10 a.m. Unlike the previous year, the organizers didn’t release the full lineup of artists prior to the pre-sale. We assumed that was because it was going to be so amazing that they wanted us all to be happy we bought pre-sale tickets before the general public release. A little over $400 later, we were thoroughly upset to see artists like LCD Soundsystem, Lionel Richie, and Radiohead as headliners. Still, we went. Instead of the artists being our reason for going, we made it more about enjoying the food, the rich festival atmosphere, and each other’s company before heading out for the school year.

For reasons still perplexing to us, we decided to give the Outside Lands another chance for their 10th anniversary. What better time to have an exciting lineup than for the festival’s anniversary, we reasoned. It wasn’t nearly as close to the trash lineup of 2016, but it was still a let-down for us all—especially since three-day passes took a considerable price hike.

Now, here we are, after learning our lesson, and we are still upset by their lineup of artists. For those who are going, this year’s headliners include The Weeknd, Florence + The Machine, and Janet Jackson. A sampling of sub-headliners include: Odesza, Bon Iver, Portugal. The Man, and Børns. The Weeknd is expected to perform tracks from his newest album, “My Dear Melancholy,” (and yes, there’s actually a comma at the end of the album title), while Florence + The Machine is slated to release a new album in 2018.

“We are looking forward to great new music from Florence + The Machine, Blossoms, Chvrches, James Bay and Shawn Mendes,” said Virgin Records CEO Ted Cockle in an interview with Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.

As someone with more unorthodox music taste from that of many of my friends, maybe this evaluation of the Outside Lands lineup is contrary to what others think of it. I can’t stand electronic music, so Odesza is a huge turn-off. The Weeknd is too overplayed to enjoy his music anymore. Bon Iver hasn’t released anything worth listening to since his 2011 self-titled album. Portugal. The Man was horrific to watch, let alone listen to, at this past Live 105’s Not So Silent Night. They played their entire set with the stage completely dark, so for all I know they were lip-syncing the whole time. And you just have to be desperate to fill a lineup if you have Carly Rae Jepsen. As for the rest of the lineup, I have never heard of anyone past Børns on the listing.

Not only does Outside Lands need to work on revamping their lineups, but they also need to have better festival food vendors. Of course, sticking with SF locals like 4505 Meats, Humphry Slocombe, Pacific Catch, and Pizzeria Del Popolo hardly garners criticism, but it’s time for a change. Having so many local vendors within the same vicinity was great for the first year that my friends and I went to the festival. Now, after seeing the same vendors for a third year at the festival in 2017, having the same options with slight price hikes each year was tiring.

This year will be the first time that enjoying the festival atmosphere with food and drinks for a weekend won’t be enough to bring my friends and I back again. It’s time for Outside Lands to revamp their festival because there’s almost no worse feeling than paying over $400 only to stand in the freezing wind and mist of Golden Gate Park listening to Lionel Richie. But then again, there are few feelings that can create such a rich atmosphere of community while belting out Mumford & Sons or Elton John hits with your best friends.

This article has 10 comments

  1. wait…..what? you consider Radiohead to not be a good headliner? the rest you have a point.

  2. Imagine living in 2018 and still thinking Carly Rae Jepsen doesn’t have a considerable fanbase in the Indie/synthpop scene. Not your type I’m sure but she’s hardly the one hit wonder in the making we knew in 2011/2012.
    Personally this line-up has a good 4 of my favourites here (Florence, Carly, Janet Jackson and Chvrches are all very high up there for me) and I would quite happily make up for your absence but I’m in Australia so fat lot of good that is 😛

  3. G-Eazy Sucks Anyway

    fuck off with this Carly Rae Jepsen slander

    rest of the column is trash too, I feel bad for the editors that must’ve grudgingly agreed to run this because they were so desperate for content this week.

    I could go into further detail but enough of my time has been wasted by reading this absolute garbage

  4. Lol is this satire?

  5. “As for the rest of the lineup, I have never heard of anyone past Børns on the listing.”

    That says everything any reader needs to know about your credibility. They don’t teach journalists to research before writing anymore?

  6. You’re still in college, right? You should probably switch majors.

    Not because your opinion is bad (it is), or because your taste in music is bad (it also is), but because this is just a very poorly written article. Don’t present this garbage as fact.

  7. The lineup this year is really bad but you’re a moron if you think anyone outside your little circle of friends was upset by Radiohead or LCD Soundsystem headlining. Two great acts.

  8. poosnaper reader

    She’s allowed to have an opinion, you know. And at least OSL doesn’t allow grotesque abhorrent shit like screamo/death metal/hardcore bands to perform. God do i despise music with screaming in it!

  9. This article is total opinion. Don’t generalize by saying “festival participants” instead of just saying “I’m disappointed.” Lineup last year seemed bad at first but had a few stars like Kali Uchis, Solange and Gorillaz. Gave attendees more of a chance to enjoy the festival itself.
    Everyone I know likes the lineup this year. Sorry you don’t know anyone past Børns but that doesn’t mean they arent good.
    NEXT

  10. Classic pre 2000s baby doesn’t know what music is. Go throw your stinky diaper away before you absolutely slander talented artists unlike yourself

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