With the arrival of August, the drum beat of Outside Lands (OSL) is back; returning to its summer schedule after last year’s COVID-driven Halloween diversion. To preview this year’s festival, we’ve put together a list of 15 must-see music acts and festival explorations, in no particular order.
1. Dance duo Disclosure, brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence, will bring the energy as they always do (and maybe some special guests) with electronic textures, smooth vocals atop garage-style beats, and club-friendly rhythms.
2. Expect local legends Green Day to deliver to the home crowd in an emphatic way, with high-octane nostalgia and heavy-hitting hits. Enough said.
3. German disco house producer Purple Disco Machine, also known as Tino Schmidt, has lots of festival-friendly tunes at his disposal. He has his hit track “Hypnotized” with vocals by Sophie and the Giants, plus remixes of Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now” and Lady Gaga’s “Rain on Me.”
4. Chillwave and dream pop act Washed Out (otherwise known as Ernest Weatherly Greene Jr.) knows Outside Lands very well. He will bring a summertime sound glittered sometimes with drowsy distortions and tropical tones.
6. Dirtybird Records owner and house producer Claude VonStroke always has fun when performing in San Francisco. Hear his sonic creativity and see his goofy on-stage antics as he drops gritty, bumpy German-inspired beats.
7. Grammy-nominated electronic act TOKiMONSTA has the ability to shine at any festival. She has collaborations with both Anderson .Paak and ZHU, plus superb dance-friendly remixes of tracks by Beck and Odesza.
8. French duo Paul Armand-Delille (aka Polocorp or ‘Polo’) and Alexandre Grynszpan (aka Peter Pan or ‘Pan’) are Polo & Pan, a tropical house phenomenon that instantly induces groovy vibes. What began as individuals mixing songs at a Parisian Bar called “Le Baron” has since become an electronic music success story.
9. Oklahoma indie folk rock band Wilderado has a sound that oscillates between mooods of melancholy and introspection. Swaying in the sunshine seems like it would be a nice moment for many if the Karl the Fog were too allow it. 50-50 chance?
9. Five-piece indie rockers Mt. Joy give off auras of alternative, Americana, and folk. They have the talent to dial it up multiple notches when performing live. The crowd will surely appreciate a set highlighted by “Astrovan” and their newest track “Lemon Tree.”
10. Future bass, grammy-nominated artist ILLENIUM was born in Chicago, but raised in San Francisco where he attended SI, a stone’s throw from Golden Gate Park. The massive potential for mind-melting visuals is strong with this locally-linked dance act.
11. Take advantage of the sublime SOMA Tent, located in Marx Meadow. Inspired by underground clubs and late nights, it features over nine hours of non-stop house music all weekend long.
12. Taste of the Bay Area will host 96 restaurants this year, of which 23 are new. Wine Lands will feature wines from 35 different wineries, plus a new DJ Station and Sparkling Wine bar in the courtyard. Beer Lands, curated by Dave McLean, has a offerings from 30 breweries. Consider making visits to Cheese Lands and GastroMagic, but definitely don’t forget Cocktail Magic, where exotic libations will be served at the three liveliest popup cocktail bars you’ve ever seen.
13. The Outside Lands mobile app has features like maps and schedules, so it’s important in that regard, but it also allows attendees who are 21 and older to pre-order cannabis products ahead of time for pick up in Grass Lands at The Farmers’ Market by High Times. What a dichotomy, a stoner who plans ahead and downloading the app can make the impossible possible. BTW, this is the fourth year Outside Lands has a dedicated space to celebrate cannabis.
14. Outsider Art returns to embrace the local San Francisco community with original works by Bay Area street artists in the form of painted sculptures, stage scrim design, and live-painted murals around the festival grounds. Artists whose works will be on display include: Hiero Veiga, JEKS ONE, RISK, Balloonski, and Rachel Wolfe-Goldsmith, among others. Be sure to also check out all the murals from past Outside Lands.
15. One new element this year is The Music Den by Toyota, located in McLaren Pass. It will feature interactive games and personalized giveaways, plus intimate performances from artists Major League Djz, KennyHoopla, Jelani Aryeh, and Cassandra Jenkins.