With less overlapping sets than Lollapalooza and less heat and dirt than Bonarroo, Outside Lands is quickly rising to the top of the list of premiere summer music festivals. It’s set in the meadows of San Francisco’s stunning Golden Gate Park, where the temperature’s rarely top 80 degrees and there’s always a good spot to watch a set from. Outside Lands has also gained fame for it’s top-notch food, beer and wine offerings, which include selections from dozens of northern California’s top eateries, breweries and vineyards.
Friday at Outside Lands has typically been noticeably less crowded than Saturday and Sunday, but this year might change that. This year’s festival sold out weeks in advance of all tickets, and features some of it’s biggest draws on opening day.
Top on the festival’s bill this year is Paul McCartney, who will play for nearly three hours to close out Friday (Lands End, 7:10 to 9:55). Expect massive attendance at McCartney’s set, since his only headlining competition will be EDM superstar Pretty Lights (Twin Peaks, 8:40 to 9:50). Pretty Lights, known for his glitchy hip-hop style beats and phenomenal visual shows, but even the best in the EDM game could never put up a solid fight against an former Beatle.
Earlier in the day, Friday offers a lot of good garage rock, as well as some smooth and soulful offerings. The Men (Panhandle, 3:05 to 3:45) and Wavves (Panhandle, 6:15 to 6:55) should both have some solid mosh pits going at their quick sets. D’Angelo (Sutro, 6:05 to 7:05) has been one of this festival season’s most hyped artists, and earlier in the day, Jessie Ware (Sutro, 3:25 to 4:15) will put on a great show with her emotional, Florence + The Machine-esque vocals.
Most people have sporadic first days at festivals, with lots of getting lost and unexpected changes in plans. My best advice for Friday is to do just that. If there’s a specific set you’re dying to see, go ahead and camp out at that stage early, but for the most part, let Friday be your day to wander around a bit, find ChocoLands (vendors selling cookies, cupcakes and chocolates hidden in the forest), and maybe catch some sets by bands you’ve never heard before. Your festival is only getting started.
Biggest Conflict: The National vs. Zedd.
Must See Set: Paul McCartney, part of it, at least.