Things I Learned About Myself At Outside Lands

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Things I learned about myself at Outside Lands:

  1. Death by trampling is a serious fear of mine.
  2. I do not like crowds.
  3. I will never again share a hotel room with my guy friends.
  4. I am a master at using a porto potty without actually having to touch a single thing.
  5. More than 5 hours of sleep is a must during a three day festival
  6. Festival feet is a real thing people. Post festival pedicures are a requirement.

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The only word I can use to describe this past weekend is “ridiculous.” It was ridiculously fun, ridiculously crowded,  and ridiculously expensive.

Outside Lands is an annual music festival in Golden Gate Park and only gets bigger and more outrageous every year, so I’m told. This was my first time attending. I celebrate music festival season like most people celebrate the holiday season. I take time off work months in advance for the festivals I love the most. I have a “music festival,” checklist/binder full of tips, packing lists, sheet music and more. However, Outside Lands is not the type of festival you will usually spot me at. I prefer events like Strawberry, Hardly Strickly, Annual Father’s Day Bluegrass Fest etc. I prefer that style of music, I prefer to camp and I do not like near death experiences.


Yes, I thought I was going to die on Saturday. My group and I were really jazzed about going to see G Eazy. He’s a local SF hip hop artist that we’e been following for a few years now. The crowds were insane so we got to the stage 30 min early so that we could be close to the front. We never really looked back to see how deep the sea of people was behind us.

After his set was over, (which was totally kick ass by the way, probably my favorite show of the whole weekend) a mass entrance and exit of people merged into one and it started to get really cramped. Think about 10 thousand people all trying to get in and get out at the same time. After a few minutes of pushing our way out, tension started to rise and people started tripping, falling, elbowing and yelling and I was sure I was going to get trampled and swallowed by the insanity. It’s hard to explain in words how scared I was. I looked back at my boyfriend with a “panic attack” look on my face and he knew instantly that I was on the verge of a total freak out. He wrapped himself around my body and just started body slamming people out of the way to get me the hell out of there. It must have taken 15 min to get through, that’s how deep the sea of people was. When we finally broke free, I felt like bursting into tears. I always knew I was a little claustrophobic, but this was the ultimate test. I held it together, but needless to say, we watched the rest of the shows from the back row. That just isn’t my idea of fun. Maybe I’m getting old, or maybe I’m really out of touch with what’s considered exciting, but I’ll take boring ole bluegrass over that craziness any day.

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It wasn’t all bad. Lake Street Dive, Elton John, and Devil Makes Three were awesome! The food vendors were so tasty and creative. Oh and of course, WineLands, the tent full of some of the best wineries in our area. I indulged at Preston, Ridge and Red Car. All in all, the weekend was insanely over priced. The hotels, the ubers, the drinks, the food. If I do it again, I’m picking my one favorite day and that’s it. By Sunday, we were all so wiped out, we were walking around like zombies just trying to find somewhere quiet to lay in the grass.

I am looking forward to Strawberry Music Festival in Yosemite next month. I get to see my Strawberry family, jam with talented musicians and have quality times with my old man.

I’ll Never Grow Old

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Most days I have a grumpy old man, “back in my day” attitude about my generations’ taste in…well mostly everything, but especially music. The past decade has been scary and disappointing for me in regards to what was considered popular music, and I truly thought all hope was lost for the future.

Let me explain. Pop.

Never mind, no need to explain that one. We all know it sucks and is void of quality.

And I don’t want to get into the techno argument because I’ve had it a million times with my Dj friends who have tried to convince me that people who construct sounds on their lap top and make techno music have an equivalent amount of musical talent as someone who shreds on the guitar or belts ballads like Whitney. We will never agree.

However, over the past few years, I have observed an increase of young fans that are getting into Americana, Folk, Bluegrass and good ole, well written singer/songwriter music. This makes me happier than I can even explain.

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I’ve been going to music festivals with my dad since I was old enough to stand on my own two feet and dance. It’s become our tradition, and now every summer we have our own little musical adventure. We camp, drink, jam, dance and discover new music to get us through the year until its time to return again. The last few years have been all about Strawberry Music Festival. We’ve made friends we only see at this festival, but stay in touch with all year. I’ve met musicians that have changed my life and opened my world to music I would have never discovered on my own.

Most recently, I took my dad to BottleRock Music Festival in Napa, CA. He hadn’t seen Robert Plant perform since the 70’s and I felt so lucky to have shared the experience with him.

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The thing that made me so happy about this festival was the size of the crowds and amount of fans that came out to see bands like the Avett Brothers and Brothers Comatose. And these “kids,” (aka people my age and younger) had as much energy and excitement as crowds I’ve seen at Raves, listening to horrible pop, techno and offensive rap. They knew all the lyrics, they jumped up and down and cheered for killer fiddle solos. It was moving. It restored my faith in them and their taste.

When Brother’s Comatose performed “I’ll never grow old,” I witnessed a whole new generation of modern day peaceful hippy kids, dancing around in circles and holding their hands up high singing “I’ll never grow old,” along with the band over and over again. I felt less old than I usually do at these big festivals because it actually felt like I was at Strawberry. I felt like I could relate to everyone there, like we all belonged there together.

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It could be just wishful thinking, but I’d like to think that this generation isn’t getting enough out of techno, MDMA and repetitive lyrics about partying all the time anymore. I think music is evolving along with the rest of the world. Minds are opening slowly, but they’re opening, and that’s enough for me.

I could go on and on with a list of bands that I love but I’ll try and just focus on the best and most influential.

The Steeldrivers

The Avett Brothers

The Brothers Comatose

Patty Griffin

The California Honeydrops

Audra Mae

Alabama Shakes

Aubrey Debauchery

Chris Stapelton

Punch Brothers

Gary Clark Jr.

Lake Street Dive

The Easy Leaves

E Minor and the Dirty Diamonds

The Lone Bellow

The Record Company

Carolina Chocolate Drops

The Jompson Brothers

Devil Makes Three

Trampled by Turtles

If you have any interest in this type of music at all, I can promise you this list will convert you completely. These are bands that are current, making music for today’s generation, with old school roots. Enjoy!