As our summer season peaks, the build-up for this year’s Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival continues to grow; particularly with the event having been rescheduled (twice), and for the first time ever, it happens on a Halloween weekend.
We’re eagerly waiting for the food, beer, wine, cheese, weed, vendor, and experience lineup, which collectively elevates Outside Lands to a premier festival gathering. To preview the three-day festival slated for October 29th-31st, we put together a round-up of 13 must-see music acts that attendees should not miss this year. From local artists to rising talents, our list highlights a handful of noteworthy acts playing each day.
This Oakland-dwelling Seattle transplant and indie rock singer-songwriter’s captivating voice delivers sharp lyrics atop sparkling guitar riffs. She has a knack for weaving together harmonic, dreamy sounds with pop shoegaze vibes, that also contrast just right.
The Soul Rebels
The eight-piece brass ensemble from New Orleans has a strong live performance reputation thanks to their unique blend of soul, jazz, funk, hip-hop, rock, and pop music. The large Golden Gate Park audience will have no issue easily bouncing along to the epic vibes given off by this collective crew.
Sharon Van Etten
As a guitarist and vocalist, Sharon Van Etten’s emotional storytelling is delivered through powerful and graceful harmonies. Her raw style evokes both folk and rock elements, and she welcomingly started incorporating electronic components in her recent work, elevating her sound to new heights.
Those looking for a sublime of global music influences should absolutely make sure they catch this Houston trio at the festival. It’s nearly impossible to classify this group into a single genre thanks to the act’s eclectic grooves sprinkled with psychedelic sounds, surf rock riffs, funky melodies, lots of instrumental, with occasional dub undertones.
Born in Haiti and raised in Montreal Canada, this electronic and hip-hop producer was recognized this past year with two Grammy wins for Best Dance Recording and Best Dance/Electronic Album. He is a prolific remix artist and has released a series of collaborative projects, which makes his live shows full of diversity.
Bringing together elements of alternative rock, hip-hop, soul, and Afro-Gospel/Beat, this musician has Nigerian heritage and moved from Toronto to the Bay Area with his family when he was 12. His exposure to many cultures has helped him harness a broad array of ethereal and natural soundscapes when creating his digital art.
Oakland-based percussionist Brijean Murphy has worked with artists like Poolside and Toro Y Moi, but when he collaborates with multi-instrumentalist and producer Doug Stuart, a dreamy, back-room disco-infused sound emerges. The group’s elegant sound consists of hypnotizing and laid-back rhythms that can soothingly serenda any audience.
Rexx Life Raj
This Bay Area rapper features introspective and socially conscious themes in his R&B-inspired music. Thanks to influences from his mother who was a gospel singer and father who was affiliated with the Black Panthers, his performance at the festival should be inspiring.
The former Palo Alto high school student has blossomed since graduating from USC Thornton School of Music and soon thereafter making her solo debut. She once described her sound as “chaotic, color-free, funky, stinky explosion pop,” so one can only imagine how that might play out with a big crowd.
Born in Oakland, this singer, songwriter, and dancer found early success as a member of the teen group Poplyfe, but when she released her first two commercial mixtapes, it was clear she had an opportunity to show a more authentic side of herself. She performs an impressive fusion of R&B, pop, hip-hop, and neo-soul musical styles.
Another Oakland product that grew up near Lake Merritt has seen recent success thanks to an explosion in popularity on YouTube. This American singer-songwriter started her own channel during high school and has since pursued a self-made career exemplified by emotional vocals and uplifting ukulele chords.
Griffin Washburn creates summer-soaked indie-pop music out of his F-250 camper using the moniker Goth Babe. When he’s not performing folksy vocal tracks with acoustic guitar riffs and soft synths, he enjoys exploring the outdoors of the Pacific Northwest with his dog Sadie.
Born in Huntington Beach but raised in the San Franciso Bay Area, this American country music singer-songwriter began her career as a songwriter, composing material for big acts like Sam Smith and Miley Cyrus. Her solo music features country pop stylings and poetic songwriting along with honey-dripped harmonies.
Besides the individual acts we’ve highlighted above, here’s a Spotify playlist to preview Outside Lands 2021. Tune in. See you in GG Park this Halloween weekend.
Quick Note: While it’s unclear what the final policies will be, the hope and belief is that the spacious, outdoor confines of Golden Gate Park can support more than 100,000 people safely.