Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival is one of the most epic and electrifying annual music festivals in the USA.
Every August, thousands of eager festival-goers gather in Golden Gate Park for this 3-day extravaganza. Hosted over the weekend of August 10-12th, the 2018 Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival brought superstar performers, fun vibes and retro-inspired style to San Francisco.
2018 Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival
From mind-blowing performances by talented superstars (like Janet Jackson, The Weeknd, Florence and The Machine, and Janelle Monáe) to fanciful themed entertainment (complete with Wonderland-inspired characters and treats at The Bubble Tea Party) and gourmet eats and food truck fare, wine and beer tastings, and even an SF-themed miniature golf course, here’s why Outside Lands Music Festival is truly a feast for the senses.
Janet Jackson Reigns as “The Queen of Pop” at Outside Lands
Aside from catching electronic acts like rave-worthy Odesza and Chromeo (who are known for getting crowds moving), a couple performances I was incredibly excited to see were two of my faves – Janet Jackson and The Weeknd.
With a new album “Daddy Yankee” debuting this month, Miss Jackson has returned to touring recently (which is exciting news for fans!). Bringing back her old-school chart-topping hits (including “Miss You Much” and “Alright”), Jackson got the crowd rocking with her beloved dance songs and eye-catching look. Wearing a glamorous athleisure outfit offset by a crimped high ponytail, Jackson brought a chic hip-hop vibe to her fun show.
She also got the crowd revved up when she performed songs from her new album. Her new album is a mix of upbeat melodies, powerful lyrics (which focuses on politically-charged statement-making messages), and catchy tunes.
Referred to by DJ Aktive during the show as the reigning “Queen of Pop”, Janet wowed the crowd with her fun dance moves, soulful voice and eternal beauty. If there was ever a way to describe this phenomenal talent in one word – it’s “timeless”.
The Weeknd Brings The Heat to Outside Lands
Another fun headliner to catch at Outside Lands was current chart-topper, The Weeknd.
Kicking off the festival on Friday night at the Lands End stage, The Weeknd brought the dance party to the Bay Area. Joking about how freaking cold it was, The Weekend raised the temps when he started busting out his sexy, hypnotic R&B hits.
Performing his popular songs like “Starboy” and “Call Out My Name”, The Weeknd got the crowd stirring with excitement as they sang and danced along with the superstar performer.
Outside Lands Wows Crowds with Visual Entertainment
One of the most enjoyable aspects of attending Outside Lands is the venue itself. Golden Gate Park is a phenomenal setting for such an experience, as it enables attendees to see a variety of acts throughout each day (as there are multiple stages)
Plus, the woodlands feel like they’re turned into mystical realms with trance-like lighting effects, over-the-top theatrical staging and props, and fanciful elements (like a giant Ranger Dave statue – which is the festival mascot and the King of Magic).
As the nights grew darker and the music pulsed louder, the majestic forest of trees that surrounded the park was transformed into a magical atmosphere, set aglow with a rainbow of colorful lights. Even the stages were brought to life, resembling the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
To say that Outside Lands wowed the crowds with visual entertainment is an understatement.
Girl Power Promoter Janelle Monáe Brings The Love to Outside Lands
When it comes to moving ballads, eye-catching costumes, and girl power anthems, beautiful singer-songwriter (and Covergirl spokeswoman) Janelle Monáe is definitely a must-see musical act. Having known little about her music, I was delighted to see her witty lyrics come to life in this theatrical (and often comical) performance. When I say comedy – let’s just say she walked out on stage in what could be referred to as a pair of “Vagina Pants” at one point!
From soulful, heart-stirring lyrics to cheeky, thought-provoking raps, Monáe is truly a multi-talented, modern-day wonder woman. Whether she’s promoting feminism or making light of society’s injustices, her powerful messages resonate with both women and men (from all walks of life, backgrounds, and beliefs).
Beyond the colorful getups, splashy digital background and choreographed dance routines, Monáe exclaimed one truly memorable message that everyone got behind – it’s all about love.
Talented Rising Stars (and Old School Favorites) Perform at Outside Lands
Some of the other fun acts to catch included electronic-funk duo Chromeo, DJ Jamie XX (pictured below), and a surprise performance at the Heineken tent by none other than old school rap group Salt ‘n Pepa (with DJ Spinderella hitting the turntable). Nothing like a little “Shoop, Shoop” to get the crowd moving and grooving.
Other talented indie acts making their presence known at Outside Lands included soulful songstress Freya Ridings, AJNA (which is a group of talented student musicians from Berklee College of Music), and Dermot Kennedy (whose earthy voice gives him a raw edge to his sound).
Besides these acts, dozens of other talented musicians, singers and songwriters performed on multiple stages throughout the venue, keeping fans entertained all weekend long.
2018 Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival Fashion & Beauty Trends
Some of the most popular festival fashion trends at the 2018 Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival included belly-baring crop tops, retro-looking fanny packs (which definitely gave off that 80’s throwback-vibe), cozy faux fur vests and jackets (because the weather in San Fran is often foggy and cold in August), and No Doubt-inspired plaid pants.
Other festival style trends we saw included sparkly makeup and jeweled body decals, sandals and booties, cat eye sunglasses, and even Fresh Prince-looking colorful tracksuits.
Personally, my looks this weekend included boho-chic maxi dresses paired with fur vests (for those chilly SF nights) and striped tops worn with skinny jeans and stylish (yet comfortable) leather riding boots (with Dr. Scholl’s gel inserts, of course). Those two festival styles were my go-to looks during this year’s 3-day OSL experience.
2018 Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival Entertainment and Attractions
In addition to the unbelievable musical lineup by both top performers and up-and-coming indie bands and artists, there were a number of other entertaining attractions and activities to partake in at Outside Lands this year.
From the popular Sapphire Lounge by Chase (which offered a complimentary happy hour each evening for Chase Sapphire cardmembers) to Wine Lands, Beer Lands, GastroMagic, Cocktail Magic (which combined mixologists whipping up delicious fresh cocktails and magicians performing tricks), and even the new Grass Lands section (which was a Cannabis-education section for 21+ festival-goers), festival attendees had no shortage of fun places to indulge their every whim and desire.
At The Bubble Tea Party, fanciful characters dressed head-to-toe in over-the-top costumes played to the party-goers as they lounged by oversized mushrooms and blooming flowers strung above. The magical setting made festival attendees feel like they took one long, colorful trip down the rabbit hole, straight into a fairytale ending.
From mesmerizing entertainment to heart-pumping performances, Outside Lands was a spectacular, dizzying 3-days of blissful moments fueled by sensory-overloading music, attractions, and indulgences. If you’re into music festivals, this is definitely one to check out.
To learn about other awesome events, check out the Special Events section on Inspirations & Celebrations.