My advice after going to the first day of the outer lands of San Francisco: go

NO LATER THAN August 6, 11:30 a.m.. One-day tickets for Saturday have exhausted but day passes are still available for Sundays.

August 6, 9:30 a.m. San Francisco’s Outside Lands are usually full. Not this year. Day tickets are still available for Saturday and Sunday.

If you’re hesitating whether to grab a last-minute ticket, my advice after spending the day there on Friday is to go, even if you’re not overwhelmed with the lineup and only know a few bands playing (see our recommendations here). The best part of my day was discovering artists I didn’t know existed, like Zambian artist Sampa the Great who delivered a viscous whirlwind of jazz-infused hip-hop, rap and Afrobeats; and Fay Webster who soothed her audience with whispered, amorous indie-country ballads while playing guitar.

Faye Webster performs at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday August 5, 2022.

Faye Webster performs at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday August 5, 2022.

Adam Pardee / Special for SFGATE

Convinced? Now you need to figure out how to get there.

Lyft and Uber are expensive this weekend as demand drives prices up (SFGATE wrote about insane prices for getting home Friday night). My advice is to hop on MUNI, ride a bike or do what I did, and take the $24 prepaid shuttle (buy your ticket online) that runs between the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and the site of the festival at Golden Gate Park. Buses start running at 11am and when I arrived at 10.45am on Friday a line had already formed.

The 15 minute wait revealed the outfits people had put together for the festival. Outside Lands is almost as much about fashion as it is about music. People wore halter tops with strands of pearls falling over their exposed stomachs, Doc Marten combat boots with mini skirts, crochet fabric pants that looked like the blankets my grandma had on her bed and scout uniforms with marijuana patches.

On the bus, two girls debated whether to spend the whole day at the Sutro Stage or hop from stage to stage – a big decision for anyone heading to the festival. I opened the Outside Lands app on my phone and started putting together my schedule, which involved a lot of scene skipping as I like to see as much music as possible. (If you haven’t already, download the app and create your schedule. You can have the app alert you before a band you want to catch – a feature that comes in handy when dancing in the DJ tent and you lose track of time.)

By 11:30 am I had cleared security (super easy, just make sure to follow the strict bag requirements – find these in SFGATE’s Outer Lands guide.) and entered the festival site . The windmill in the center of Polo Field was spinning in the ocean breeze and the sun’s rays were streaming through the pink-tinted cotton candy clouds passing overhead. The live music didn’t start until noon (it does every day), and Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hillbury Hill” blasted over the PA system. The lyrics correspond to what I felt: “My heart goes boom-boom-boom.”

The festival grounds were serene with more open space than people. I walked to the booth where they verify your ID and give you a special wristband so you can buy alcohol. No line. Later that day a friend waited 15 minutes to get her group. All of this brings up another tip, my best advice – go early when there are no queues and you can get close to the front of the stage.

The Spelling performs at Outside Lands on Friday, August 5, 2022.

The Spelling performs at Outside Lands on Friday, August 5, 2022.

Courtesy away from land

At noon, I was near the front row of the Sutro Stage to catch Spelling, an artist from the Bay Area who has a gorgeous voice and an experimental electronic pop sound.

“What’s new?” she shouted to the crowd. “It’s a beautiful day. Glad to have some sunshine. Nice to see you all.”

Dressed in a full skirt and with her long hair falling down her back, she moved around the stage like a creepy ballerina, leading the crowd through dark, haunted alleys with her haunting synthetic music.

“His music pushes the boundaries of pop…It’s very different,” said Logan Albiani of Modesto. “I don’t even know what genre it is but I love it.”

When she sang her popular anthem “Awaken,” the crowd raved, “Everything we want is here. Everything we need and more. Let your heart surrender. Let your heart transform. “, she sang.

The music picked up and two punk-rock women wearing tall black boots and baby doll dresses danced wildly, waving their arms around. It was 12:30 p.m. and the party had already started.

Attendees sit along the grassy hillside of the Twin Peaks stage where The Marias would soon be performing at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Calif., Friday, August 5, 2022.

Attendees sit along the grassy hillside of the Twin Peaks stage where The Marias would soon be performing at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Calif., Friday, August 5, 2022.

Adam Pardee / Special for SFGATE

On the Lands End stage, Cory Henry ignited the crowd with his groves of retro funk.

“One more song!” shouted Henry. “Are you OK?” The roar of the crowd echoed across the polo field.

The party-ready mood of the festival was strong and I had a whole day of music ahead of me. I had no regrets.

Three more tips from my day:

  • You cannot bring your own drinks to the festival, but you can bring an empty water bottle and there are special stations to refill them.
  • The lines for the restrooms get long, but they were shorter near Helman Hollow and Panhandle Stage.
  • I’m glad I brought my light down jacket that I could easily tie around my waist and wear in the evenings when the fog set in and it was cold. I would have been cold with only a sweatshirt or sweater.

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