A proposal for an extra weekend of Golden Gate Park concerts the weekend after Outside Lands, plus three free concerts in downtown SF, picked up steam with approval this week from a key Board of Supervisors committee.
Word broke in May that Outside Lands festival organizer and promoter Another Planet Entertainment (APE) aspired to hold a second weekend of “headliner-driven” concerts the weekend after Outside Lands, starting in 2024. A month later, APE also announced they wanted to do three free outdoor concerts at Civic Center Plaza, Embarcadero Plaza, and Union Square, also starting in 2024. In both proposals, the added-on APE concerts would be held for 2024, 2025, and 2026, and be reevaluated from there.
Mayor London Breed was enthusiastically onboard with both ideas, with supportive press release quotes ready to go the moment APE made these announcements. But Supervisors Connie Chan and Joel Engardio, both of whose districts are adjacent to Golden Gate Park, were not at all happy with the extra weekend of proposed concerts.
The matter went before the SF Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Finance Committee Wednesday. And as the Examiner reports, that committee approved moving the proposal forward to allow SF Rec and Park to issue permits for all of the above-named expanded concerts. The proposal will now go to the full SF Board of Supervisors in the near future.
As explained in the graphic above from SF Rec and Parks, an extra weekend of concerts would be added the weekend after Outside Lands, starting in 2024, and lasting through 2026. There would only be one stage and one headliner per day, rather than the eight stages and multiple headliners for Outside Lands. It’s unclear whether it would be a two-day or three-day event, but APE would pay $1,400,000 per year in permit fees for a two-day event, and $2,100,000 in fees for a three-day event.
The weekend-after event would use existing Outside Lands infrastructure, but would have a much smaller footprint. You can see this illustrated above, where Outside Lands is represented in orange, and the weekend-after concerts are represented in pink.
But the extra cash is obviously the motivating factor for city departments, who learned in December they were looking at deficits and likely budget cuts.
“We began looking for revenue ideas, among other things,” consultant Sara Matlin said on behalf of SF Rec and Parks. “The proposed concerts have economic benefits for the rest of the city as well.”
And the “matching shirts” brigades sure turned out to support APE’s proposal (as they’ve done for the Castro Theatre). The above shot from public comment on the matter features hired Rec and Parks horticulturalists, who’d like to see their department get the extra cash to avoid cuts. Other proposal supporters mentioned affiliation with the California Renter’s Alliance, so APE seems to have made a few friends there.
Supervisor Connie Chan was a key vote Wednesday, because she initially opposed the added concerts in Golden Gate Park, and on Wednesday she complained that Richmond residents “bear the brunt of the impact” of these shows. But Chan did seem to reverse her opposition in a late July announcement.
“I do recognize the benefits of these concerts,” she said at Wednesday's meeting. “I really appreciate that Another Planet Entertainment and Rec and Parks have come to the table and really improved this proposal.”
But is she onboard? “However, I continue to have serious concerns that the department has not really presented a concrete plan to address the concerns that our westside residents, particularly the Richmond residents, who have had time and time again had large events like this closing off large swaths of our park for weeks at a time for private events,” she added.
She even threw in a complaint on the “impact on wildlife habitat,” so she’s still got laundry list on ongoing beefs with this thing.
But Supervisor Ahsha Safai (who’s shaved off his beard!) was super supportive, as was Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. “It’s an extension of something that I think has tremendous positive impact on San Francisco,” Safai said before Wednesday’s vote. “The majority of the cost is being borne by the promoter.”
The three supes on the committee unanimously moved the matter on to the full board. But it seems Chan might still be very much against the idea, as the committee passed it to the board “without recommendation” rather than an unqualified full approval. And it sure seemed like Chan was the only committee member who had reservations, so she might be a No when this gets to a full board meeting.
But it was still a big win for APE Tuesday for their concert proposal to move forward. And if they are indeed using these concerts to polish up their image to get full approval for their proposed Castro Theatre renovations, it sure helps to give City Hall free money, and to give free shows to the folks attending the downtown concerts.
Image: Annie Lesser, SFist