How to navigate Outside Lands music festival in Golden Gate Park this weekend

Aug. 9, 2013, 12:21 a.m.

Courtesy of Outside Lands.
Courtesy of Outside Lands.

Imagine a real life Candy Land — but for grown-ups. The annual music festival Outside Lands will be taking place this coming weekend, August 9-11, in Golden Gate Park, and this year, the event will feature more attractions than ever. Panhandle, Beer Lands, food trucks, oh my! It can be overwhelming to pick and choose the best performances, activities and vendors. Take a deep breath though, friends. Whether you’re going for just one day or the whole weekend, a simple strategy will help you navigate the six concert stages, six food “lands” and countless scattered tents.

The best way to make sure you don’t miss out on anything at Outside Lands is to plan around a personalized concert schedule. Make sure that prior to arriving you have a good idea of which acts you want to go to, the stage they are performing on and when their set will start. Once you’ve got that down, pat yourself on the back — but there’s still way more to figure out!

If on Friday night, you’re planning on seeing Daughter at 5 p.m. at the Panhandle Stage, and catching the middle of Paul McCartney’s set around 8 p.m. at Land’s End, your best bet is probably hitting up either Outside Lambs or the Taste of The Bay Area food trucks in section 5 for dinner. Not a bad idea since The Whole Beast’s lamb poutine – carved lamb with gravy on top of thick cut fries – tastes like God’s gift to San Francisco.

And if you decide you’re craving Asian delicacy, check out the easily recognizable red, beige and black striped food truck named “The Chairman Truck,” which serves baked tender pork belly bun with tumeric pickled daikon. You can munch on the amazing food truck’s wonton chips while listening to McCartney’s nearly three-hour, 35-song set.

OSL Windmills
Courtesy of Outside Lands.

If the crowd you’re hanging with goes ga ga for cinematic pop music like Milo Greene, but you can’t stand any song other than mellow indie jam “1957,” it might be a good idea to wander from the Sutro Stage over to The Barbary, which is fairly close by. There, you can catch the Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction show, which sounds wacky, but features some famous comedians like Natasha Leggero, whom you might recognize from “Chelsea Lately” and “He’s Just Not That Into You.”

For those of age, you might just want a beer. Luckily, right in the middle of all the action is Beer Lands! A little birdie I know recommends trying out Pacific Brewing Laboratory and ordering their Hibiscus Saison beer — light, floral and actually pink! It’s the perfect brew to drink when heading to see Vampire Weekend at Land’s End Stage Sunday evening. Knowing this pop-rock quartet, famous for their quirky jams like “A-Punk” and “Diane Young,” they’ll appreciate the unique hue of your responsibly enjoyed beverage.

Don’t forget to check out some of the lesser-known bands like Twenty One Pilots – they’re known for putting on jaw-dropping stage stunts – and Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, which plays sets that are just as catchy and playful as Feist’s.

Unlike Candy Land, this is one place you don’t really want to leave your navigation to chance: Study the venue map, do some magic Internet searching and figure out how to make the most of your time. With good research and planning, you’re going to be so busy experiencing the many wonders of Outside Lands that you won’t have time to notice the forecasted chilly 60 degrees!

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