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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Outside Lands Music Festival-- The Best Fest In The West

Mark Twain once said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” With that in mind, Outside Lands is the perfect place to let the inner wild child free without having to worry about dehydration, heat stroke or melting. Unlike Coachella or Burning Man, Outside Lands is arguably the best festival on the West Coast if triple digits aren’t your thing. Putting the weather aside, Outside Lands strays from the typical, trendy music festival, giving veteran festival-goers something to be excited about.

If you dig the lights and drug culture of raves—or Coachella, even—then Outside Lands might not be for you. The festival is much less of a spectacle and less E.D.M (electronic dance music) oriented—keeping the light shows and thumping bass to a minimum (thankfully!). The lack of spectacle makes Outside Lands a music festival that’s actually centralized around the music. As odd as it may sound, the majority of music festivals aren’t about the music anymore, giving Outside Lands an edge over most multi-day music events. It’s an event for the genuine music lover because it’s an authentic music experience.

What separates the San Francisco music festival from other massive music festivals is the line up. The number of incredible, world-renowned musicians who perform every year at Outside Lands is more than impressive. Between 2010 and 2013 alone, Al Green, Foo Fighters, Willie Nelson, Metallica, Neil Young, Jack White, Paul McCartney, LCD Soundsystem and Stevie Wonder have rocked the Golden Gate stages.

Year after year Outside Lands continuously books quality performers, while most other music festivals do not. Most festivals have conformed and morphed into mainstream conclaves, and let’s be real: Mainstream music is terrible. Outside Lands, thankfully, has kept to its unique, eclectic roots.

The San Francisco music fest is also notorious for it’s performers doing wildly unheard of things. In 2012 former lead singer of the White Stripes, Jack White, performed an impromptu set in the middle of the Golden Gate woods. Completely unannounced, a massive crowd gathered around him as he performed songs off of his solo album, Blunderbuss.

Paul McCartney
An equally mind blowing affair occurred this past year during the middle of Paul McCartney’s set. The former Beatle invited two fans from the crowd on stage and gave them a once in a lifetime experience. The girls chosen to join McCartney stood motionless, speechless and teary-eyed, as he chatted with them in front of the massive Golden Gate crowd. The overwhelmed fans wept as Sir Paul hugged and dedicated the song “Hey Jude” to them.

The spontaneous and spirited nature of the performers gives the massive festival an intimacy other music fests don’t have. I mean, what other concert allows attendees the opportunity to personally engage with A-list musicians? None. It’s unheard of for rock stars to play surprise sets in the middle of a forest. But, it’s even more unheard of for a Beatle to invite people on stage and dedicate an iconic song to them.

Instances like these don’t happen anywhere else, making Outside Lands electric. For the people who witnessed White’s unannounced set, and the fans who were brought on stage by Sir Paul McCartney, Outside Lands is the place where dreams come true.

Additionally, the festival is located in one of the hippie epicenters of the universe – Golden Gate Park—giving the festival an old school vibe. Between the psychedelic art structures and festival attendees dressed in their best hippie attire, it’s hard not to feel the peace and love.
Along with the festival’s innate hippie culture, the options for food and alcohol are stellar. Between fried pickles, cruelty-free meat, ice cream trucks and vegetable vendors Outside Lands has something for everyone to eat. The options for adult beverages are also limitless. With wine from Napa Valley, beers from some of the best breweries in the nation and bartenders who pour stiff cocktails, it’s easy to get into the festival spirit. In regards to all things tasty, Outside Lands has its bases covered.

For more reasons than I can count on my hands and feet, Outside Lands is arguably the best music fest in the West.  

By Mary Carreon


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