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Outside Lands

An Inside Scoop

The Outside Lands Music and Art Festival juggernaut, with its six stages and 60 bands, is landing in San Francisco on August 22nd, putting the city on the map as a large-scale music festival destination. Despite the obvious attractions -- back-to-back sets by Radiohead and Beck and a performance by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers -- the festival offers several other draws that are unique to San Francisco.

Local Flavor. Outside Lands fits with San Francisco in so many ways, not the least of which is its hefty price tag. With three-day tickets priced and nearly $300 with service charges (single day tickets are now available), the festival is at home in one of the most expensive cities in the United States. Itís part of the package that you get when you live here, among the cultural and public amenities like the festival grounds at Golden Gate Park. Attendees will pay a premium, but they wonít be sucking dirt and getting heat stroke in the desert (Coachella) or traveling to other remote locations (Bonnaroo) for a good time. After the last note, you can still hop on the N-Judah and hit last call at your local dive.

The festival will also feature several Bay Area eateries and wineries that will supply food and libations, and Bay Area-based artists will create much of the art that will decorate the six stages.

Local Sound. Primus leads the pack of more than 15 bands that rep the Bay Area with a set on Saturday shortly before Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers headline. Two Gallants and Rouge Wave will also perform, along with Lyrics Born, the Coup and the Mighty Underdog, who comprise the majority of hip hop acts booked at the festival. Sila & The Afrofunk Experience will insert some international flavor to the rock-heavy lineup.

See the Park in the Dark. The festival marks the first time a large music event will be held under the night sky at Golden Gate Park, according to promoters. It will also likely mark the first time many attendees have braved the park after the streetlights are on without jumping at shadows.

Keeping the Scene Green. The festival has an underlying theme of environmental stewardship that resonates with the parkís 1960s hippy heyday, as well as Friday night headliner Radiohead. Singer Thom Yorke is outspoken about the negative impact touring and large-scale concerts have on the environment. The band has made an effort to perform at venues that promote public transportation, a la Golden Gate Park, and green concepts. Composting, recycling, and solar energy are among the eco-friendly components of the festival.

Shower and Sleep. Camping is fun, and all, but there is something to be said for a sobering shower, a warm bed and a few hours away from the fray of the largest musical endurance run planned for the 2008 Bay Area summer concert season.

The Outside Lands Music and Art festival is August 22nd, 23rd and 24th at Golden Gate Park. Visit for more information.