MARCH 24 UPDATE: The official lineup has arrived. We weren’t spot-on with all of our picks but a handful of our predictions made it onto the 2015 lineup, including Elton John, Kendrick Lamar, Mumford and Sons and Sam Smith. Stay updated with all festival news with our Outside Lands news feed. We’ll see you at the park!
FEBRUARY 27 UPDATE: While we eagerly await the Outside Lands lineup announcement, there are a few subtle hints, rumors and lots of wishful thinking for performers who might grace the stage in Golden Gate Park this summer.
This year, the festival arrives August 7-9 with more than 60 performers. Festival organizers usually plan a diverse lineup with legacy acts, up-and-coming bands and local performers, usually about 20 percent of the lineup.
“You start with the headliners, and you kind of build around that,” says Allen Scott, vice president with festival organizer Another Planet Entertainment. “We really try to book an eclectic and a diverse lineup. You certainly try to book those rising stars that everybody wants to see—those acts that are blowing up right as the festival happens that a lot of people have not yet seen at the time.”
Scott says more details about the 2015 lineup will emerge in coming weeks, but until then, he has to keep a lid on it. The official announcement usually arrives in early April.
With a little research and educated guesses, we put together a few possible candidates for performers. Our selection process was based on current artist tour schedules, other festival lineups and evidence from Outside Lands organizers and recent history.
We’ll update the list as more information arrives.
-Back in January, Outside Lands’ social media mascot Ranger Dave said that he had “high hopes” (the name of Bruce Springsteen‘s 2014 album) and that it would be “a big year.” It has been nearly three years since “The Boss” last played in California and he has been a featured headliner at several other festivals in recent years.
-Outside Lands is due for another local headliner after Metallica’s hometown gig back in 2012. Our bets are on Santana or a potential one-off performance from Green Day. Carlos Santana has had a busy year with the release of his excellent new memoir and U.S. and international gigs with Santana. With a string of East Coast dates starting Aug. 14, there’s an outside chance he will be at Outside Lands. It’s been quite in Green Day’s camp lately, but it’s likely the trio would rally for a big Bay Area gig.
-Should the festival seek star power, another active candidate, Elton John, could very well be in the fold. The legendary “Rocketman” vocalist is already confirmed for New Orleans Jazz Fest, often an early indicator for potential headliners, and he would be a huge regional draw for the festival.
-Tennessee’s Bonnaroo festival tends to share at least one headliner with Outside Lands, making rapper Kendrick Lamar another likely option. His recent activity also makes him highly probable. The highly anticipated release of his sophomore album is imminent and Kendrick is also booked for Sasquatch Festival .He recently dropped the buzz-worthy second single from the album, “The Blacker the Berry.”
- A recent picture floating around showed Kendrick Lamar in the studio with Snoop Dogg, who also has his own new album, Bush, coming out soon with production help from Pharrell. His alter-ego Snoop Lion and party hits from his deep catalog make him a good fit for the 420-friendly crowd.
-File this one under “Wishful Thinking”: Incognito pop icon Prince, who released two albums last year, could make an appearance in Golden Gate Park. There has been an uptick of Prince performances across the U.S. following the two albums, most recently with several shows in New York for the NBA All-Star Break. After club dates at the Fillmore and DNA Lounge in recent years, he’s due for a high-profile Bay Area gig. He is also previous headliner at Coachella.
-We like the chances of a Mumford & Sons appearance at Outside Lands since they are already been booked as headliners for both Bonnaroo and Squamish festival in British Columbia, Aug. 7-9. Mumford is also putting the finishing touches a new album to follow up their hit record, Babel.
-Booking four-time Grammy winner Sam Smith would be a huge score for Outside Lands, and the UK vocalist already has a relationship with festival organizers Another Planet Entertainment. His last three Bay Area appearances were booked by APE. Looking at the UK vocalist and “Stay With Me” singer’s lengthy tour schedule, his West Coast tour skirts the Bay Area in early August with dates at Squamish and Sasquatch festivals, followed by a gig in San Diego.
-British rock band Blur has not released new material since 2003 and it has been 16 years since all the original band members released a record together. That streak ends on April 28 with their new record, The Magic Whip, recorded in Hong Kong. When Damon Albarn was asked about the possibility of a U.S. tour, he responded, “Maybe. It depends on whether anyone’s interested. If they are, then we’ll probably go.” Outside Lands and other festival appearances would be logical spots for live show reunions.
-Outside Lands organizers, in recent years, have had at least one big EDM act close out Twin Peaks stage. The festival posted this not so cryptic Instagram message with a subtle shout out to the Swedish musical duo Axwell and Ingrosso. The former Swedish House Mafia members were one of the surprises on the Coachella lineup, and they could continue their festival circuit with an Outside Lands appearance.
-Jack Ü, the buddy DJ duo project with Diplo and Skrillex, could be another big EDM act at the festival this year. The duo just attempted a 24-hour DJ set that was live streamed from their LA office where they also released a surprise album. They have performed together in several cities but have not yet made a visit together to the Bay Area, where they each have a huge follow.
-Electronic dance group Hot Chip plays at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles on August 11 with no Bay Area tour dates scheduled. They also have a forthcoming sixth album, Why Make Sense?, scheduled for release on May 18 in Europe and on May 19 in the U.S.. Call it a hunch that they’ll probably be at Outside Lands.
-Florence & the Machine have a new album titled, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, due for release sometime in June. They are also confirmed for Coachella.
-The mostly melancholy songstress Lana Del Ray say she’s completed all the tracks on her third album, Honeymoon, and has already started working on her follow-up fourth record. She also landed a spot on New York’s Governor’s Ball lineup, so more festival dates could be in the works.
-Don’t be surprised if masked London producer Sbtrkt makes up for his cancelling Outside Lands set last year. Big Boi did the same thing after his last-minute cancellation a couple of years ago. Sbtrkt is also booked for both Lightning in a Bottle and Coachella.
-Scottish electronic band Chvrches could also take another crack at Outside Lands after they cancelled last year at the last-minute.
Not Performing at Outside Lands:
UPDATE: Alabama Shakes kicks off the Greek Theatre concert season on April 12. It’s unlikely the band will make make a return for the festival in August.
-UPDATE It looks like Modest Mouse won’t be performing at Outside Lands this year, after all. The band is headlining Live 105′s annual BFD concert this year with Of Monsters and Men.
Who do you think will perform at Outside Lands this year? Leave your tips in the comments section.