Outside Lands 2010 — review

16 08 2010

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Another year, another chance to cover Outside Lands. Despite all the talk going around about the shortened festival and the lack of musical firepower, I was impressed with the way the event came together. Here is the review I filed — it will out in tomorrow’s edition of the newspaper.

Smaller, but just as potent, Outside Lands’ return is a success
By Julio Lara, Daily Journal Staff

Big names or smaller ones, two day or three — if there’s one thing the organizers of Outside Lands can count on it’s that if you give the people of the Bay Area good music, good food and great drinks, they will come.

The task was challenging, yet simple: how do you bring people to a music festival, which was one day shorter and without the aid of a gigantic, mainstream act and still deliver a memorable experience.

The answer: it’s easy  — at its core Outside Lands has always been about the music and the people — with or without titanic acts, those who are appreciative enough to know good music will always come out as long as you try to give them an amazing atmosphere to enjoy it in.

And a memorable experience is what you got if you attended Outside Lands 2010 at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Sure, the drive here and then subsequent parking situation might have been a headache. But once you got inside music fans experienced what has made Outside Lands the most popular music festival in the Bay Area.

Flocks of people headed to the historic park for the two-day event and were treated to exceptional musical acts, great food and the vibe unique to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Dead heads, tweens, young and old — the thing that has made Outside Lands great throughout the years is the ability to gather an array of musical fans to a central location and give them a taste of everything.

Saturday, Furthur, the Grateful Dead spin-off featuring Bob Weir and Phil Lesh brought their sound straight from the Haight-Ashbury area to the park, filling the Lands End stage in the process and playing to an emotional hug of a set — a love story of sorts for the place that embraces their culture so much.

They were preceded by acts like Tokyo Police Club, Gogol Bordello and The Whigs. The Strokes, an east coast band who rose to prominence in the early park of the decade, made a triumphant return to the stage, thrilling the San Francisco crowd during the first night the festival.

Sunday the masses flooded the park for a chance to see Kings of Leon, the Grammy-award winning band who were presented with the task of carrying and headlining a festival that has brought huge names to their stage in the past. Judging by the size of the crowd to close out the two-day festival, the band from Nashville did not disappoint.

Sunday saw a strong line-up of music. The Reverend Al Green dazzled in his soulful performance at the Lands End stage. Down the polo field and into the Speedway Meadow, Aterciopelados, a rock band from Columbia, was spot-on with the voice of Andrea Echeverri to lead the way — her socially conscious performance was perfect for the San Francisco crowd.

But it wasn’t just about the music — what the organizers of Outside Lands were banking on was that the extra effort they put into gathering the best of locally specific food and wine would go long way in distinguishing their festival from the rest.

As it was they can pat themselves in the back — there was delicious cuisine for every appetite present at Outside Lands — from the South American with Pica Pica and Sabores del Sur, to Korean Tacos with Namu, to fried chicken at Farmer Brown’s Little Skillet — frankl, if you left hungry from Outside Lands it’s only because you weren’t trying.

The ecological efforts of the festival should also be applauded — at “EcoLands” you could watch a concert at the completely solar-powered Panhandle Stage while teeter-totting your way to a free sno-cone.

There was plenty to do and plenty to see at Outside Lands and with the success of the festival this past weekend expect the music, food, wine and art extravaganza to return for years to come.

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