San Francisco Outer Lands Day 1 Tips: Be Ready to Cry

The first day in Outer Lands of San Francisco felt like an explosion of emotion – an outing for a city that has shut itself down during a long and dreary pandemic and is rising again with a drop in cases due to the will of the residents to get vaccinated.

The swollen ready-to-party vibe of the festival felt more intense than usual, and there was a sense of utter joy permeating the event. It was evident in the smiles of the high school students, crammed into laughter packs, rejoicing in the friendliness they enjoyed after their schools had closed for months and months. And in the crowd that went wild when Glass Animals took the stage and cheered until tears rolled down their cheeks as California-raised Remi Wolf took control of the Sutro stage with her dazzling pop star voice and sparkling psychedelic instrumentals. Wolf ended his set with an exuberant “passport photo” and everyone jumped in unison and sang.

RELATED: 13 bands and artists you’d love to see perform at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park

Festival-goers gather for selfies around a Ranger Dave Halloween-themed sculpture at Outside Lands on Friday, October 29, 2021.

Charles Russo

The festival usually takes place in August, but this year it was pushed back to October and fell on Halloween weekend, a choice that looked brilliant on Friday as people wore elaborate costumes even two days before the holidays. San Franciscans love a good costume party and the creativity it inspires, and the usual festival attire has been taken up a notch this year with a costume parade – flamingos, a walrus, the Scooby-Doo gang and lots of Where’s Waldos which were fun to search for in the crowds (see our photo gallery here).

I was running late Friday and rode a Lyft to the festival just before noon – a bad idea. It took 15 minutes to get a car and cost $ 40. My tip: Take Muni, ride a bike and use the free bike parking, or hop on one of the Outside Lands shuttles at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. (Learn more about transportation options from the outer lands.)

I walked around after noon and the festival grounds were packed with people drinking beers in the sun, but it wasn’t too crowded. This brings up another tip for those planning their days on Saturdays and Sundays – get there early when there is no line at the food trucks and you can get close to the front of the stage.

When I arrived the sun was shining over my head and it was hot. The expanse of velvety grass was soaked by the atmospheric river and the soil moisture mixed with the rays of the sun creating balmy conditions. Fog arrived at 3 p.m., temperatures dropped dramatically, and the down jackets were removed from the see-through backpack. More advice: dress in layers and bring a jacket.

Sharon Van Etten sings Outside Lands on her afternoon on the Lands End stage on Friday, October 29, 2021.

Sharon Van Etten performs at Outside Lands on her afternoon on the Lands End stage on Friday, October 29, 2021.

Charles Russo / SFGATE

My final tip: be prepared to get emotional. When I bumped into my friend Léa, she told me that she had already cried twice, moved by the performances of artists who were playing live for the first time since the pandemic.

Festival fervor overwhelmed me as Sharon Van Etten’s tumultuous and emotional performance took over the Land’s End stage with black and white video footage of stunning Van Etten in a sequined, barefoot mini dress.


She spoke of the darkness of the pandemic and said a bright spot was approaching someone she had long admired. She was referring to singer-songwriter Angel Olsen who then took the stage.

“I’m going to cry because you know what, Angel Olsen is also the most amazing person, friend, musician, peer, most down to earth artist that I can bring with you tonight” , she said. to an enthusiastic crowd.

The two sang “Like I Used To,” a song they teamed up on and released during the pandemic.

I wasn’t the only one crying.

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