This year's Outside Lands will be the first to happen in late October as opposed to mid-August, and with that come the extra considerations of festival-goers potentially creating havoc in the Avenues as kids get out of school on a Friday, and the culture clash of rowdy music fans and trick-or-treaters out with their parents.
The pandemic pushed Outside Lands out an extra year and two months, and this year's Halloween Weekend edition is likely to be both a) very cold, and b) extra costume-y. It's also very likely to at least partially interfere with commutes home for kids leaving school on the first day of the festival — a school-day Friday, as opposed to a mid-August Friday. And on Sunday the 31st, actual Halloween, there's going to be a backdrop of humming bass and music in the outer Avenues while kids hit the streets to go trick-or-treating — and adults who aren't attending the fest are likely to be doing their own cosplay partying that night as well.
Another Planet Entertainment, the Berkeley-based concert-promotion company that co-founded Outside Lands along with Superfly (of Bonnaroo fame), says they're taking extra measures this year to mitigate traffic on the streets outside Golden Gate Park — and they'll be sending some "community stewards" out into the area to try to discourage festival-goers from scaring or interfering with kids collecting candy.
"It presents a new set of challenges for the festival and the community," says Allen Scott, president of concerts and festivals at Another Planet Entertainment, in a statement to the Chronicle.
Another Planet is also reportedly in contact with administrators at 15 schools in the Sunset and Richmond to coordinate efforts and (hopefully) keep things safe for the schoolkids when school lets out on Friday, amid tens of thousands of twenty- and thirty-somethings arriving at the festival gates and trying to prove their vaccinated.
Organizers are estimating they will see 74,000 festival-goers each day in Golden Gate Park. Judging from years' past, there's likely to be one busier day and one slower day, and many three-day pass-holders may bail by Sunday if it turns out to be really frigid, or just drop in late to catch J Balvin and Tame Impala.
The festival is sold out, and a last batch of three-day and single-day tickets went on sale two weeks ago and disappeared quick. Another Planet says that 86% of festival-goers will be three-day pass-holders this year. (There are still some $4000 'Golden Gate Club' super-VIP passes available, which come with special viewing access at the stages, free meals and drinks, and complimentary golf-cart transport between stages.)
Anyone attending this year, in addition to showing their proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test less than 72 hours old, will need to abide by all the rules from 2019, which included requiring clear bags if you're bringing in belongings. Also, masks are encouraged for everyone, but will be required in any indoor (tent) areas of the festival.
The BottleRock festival in Napa came off without much of a hitch over Labor Day Weekend, and without any significant subsequent COVID outbreak either. Another Planet is obviously hoping for the same minimal amount of drama with its first big music festival in over two years.
In addition to the 100+ acts performing over three days, including the originally announced headliners Lizzo, The Strokes, and Tame Impala, there is a series of 16 night shows this year at smaller venues around the city and in Oakland that start earlier in the week.
Photo courtesy of Outside Lands