After the crush of humanity that was Saturday at Outside Lands, Sunday arrived with a noted calm, and a sunny afternoon in Golden Gate Park in which a lot of people seemed to stay home until the evening sets.
It's typical of festivals of course — three-day pass-holders blow their wad on Friday and Saturday, and wake up on Sunday unable to fathom schlepping back into the madness. And at Outside Lands, the tradition has been to schedule the "legacy" act on Sunday, which draws an older crowd of one-day pass-holders. Recent years have featured Hall & Oates, Elton John, Lionel Ritchie, The Who, and Janet Jackson, and this year it was Paul Simon's turn. As a result, the median age at the festival felt about 10 years older on Sunday than it was the previous two days.
The diminutive septuagenarian did not disappoint, and delighted his assembled fan base with a few newer tracks and hits from his long career, including "Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard," "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes," and "Graceland." Before the night was over, he even brought out his old friend Bob Weir to do their first ever duet on stage to "The Boxer," which drew huge applause.
The earlier part of the day felt very much like a mellow and curated collection of opening acts for Mr. Simon — though the far-flung Twin Peaks stage played host to young hip-hop artist Sheck Wes Sunday afternoon, and the Sutro Stage saw a set by electro duo Bob Moses.
Early arrivers were treated to sets by notables like the ever-timeless Mavis Staples — who promoted her new Ben Harper-produced album We Get By — the hitmaker behind “Waves,” Dean Lewis, pop-rockers Judah & the Lion, and the talented, Oakland-based Toro y Moi, a.k.a. Chaz Bear, who gave a big shout-out to the East Bay on the Sutro stage.
Swaths of people came pouring in a hair past 4 p.m. to see none other than the Grammy-decorated, "Space Cowboy" muse herself, Kacey Musgraves, who belted an incredible set from the main stage. She was clad in black, skin-tight body suit with rainbow bedazzling, and she was wielding a shining black guitar that reflected the stage lighting as she made her way through her acclaimed album Golden Hour, and treated the crowd to a cover of the disco classic "I Will Survive."
Wyclef Jean made a semi-surprise appearance on the small stage outside the House by Heineken Sunday evening — he was listed in the paper schedule that not everyone was using, but not listed in the app.
The vast selection of food, wine, beer, and cocktails once again did not disappoint — a few highlights included a crisp, acidic new rosé in a can being sold under the name "Roadie" by Saison Cellars; the Tiki cocktails by Last Rites in the new Polynesian Dave's bar installation on the polo field; Azalina's Malaysian chicken curry nachos; wood-fired pizzas from Mozzeria; some delicious curried chicken wings by Global Gourmet Catering in VIP; Omakase's chef's selection nigiri; and the annual fave, Rich Table's porcini doughnuts, which they were still slinging into the late hours of Friday.
Oh, and the bathroom areas? Some of them, somehow, managed to become marshlands overnight. (We saw one unfortunate, thirty-something woman slip on one of the slicker, steeper muddy patches near the Porta-potties, firmly landing herself in a melting pot of mud, hand sanitizer, and God knows what... and in a pair of off-white jeans, no less.)
On the Twin Peaks stage, where tropical house guru Kygo was cross-programmed with Paul Simon at the end of the evening, the tempo picked up around 6:30 p.m. with the entrance of Bebe Rexha — known for dancefloor bangers like "Hey Mama," "I Can’t Stop Drinking About You," and “Me, Myself & I.” She delivered an energetic, very explicit, sex-positive set, and she, like Musgraves, also dressed in a well-fitted black bodysuit. The New York City native waxed throughout her illustrious catalog, including staples from her 2018 LP Expectations, at one point licking her middle finger and rubbing it on her nether regions after "FFF" — "Sorry for all the parents with young ones out there," she chuckled, after the fact. The mark of a true performer? Rexha had a fully-fledged asthma attack mid-show—and still managed to delight all in attendance.
With a bit of a calm-cool before Kygo’s evening set, the hills filled with napping festival-goers, either stoned to oblivion or consciously power napping in preparation for the high-energy production to come from the Norwegian singer-songwriter-producer-DJ extraordinaire.
As the sun began to set, the multi-lingual hitmaker played an acid-trip-like set; it was, as expected, a full-on EDM spectacle. Bright LED screens surrounded the stage and lit up the surrounding grounds; fire and fog erupted from cannons, side-saddling the pit. High-lumen lasers shot through the smoke and man-made clouds like lightning in the sky, with the ludicrosity coming to peak as a live-orchestra took center stage, Kygo perched at his chromed piano to their side, flames erupting in front of them to a throng of jaw-dropped fans.
Below, some more pics from the weekend.
Matt Charnock contributed reporting to this article.