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Outside Lands Festival 2011: A Preview

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San Francisco will host the fourth annual Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival at the lovely Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA on August 12-14. This year’s festival returns to three days after being shortened to two days last year.

Attractions such as Wine Lands (a showcase of local wineries), Taste of the Bay Area (a showcase of local restaurants and food shops), Eco Lands (a showcase of sustainable and environment-friendly practices), and the DJ Dome (a Heineken-sponsored dance/electronic music dome) return as popular hangout spots. New is the The Barbary, a showcase of local variety shows and comedy, that aims to bring the Barbary Coast District to Outside Lands.

An eclectic mix of over 60 artists and bands will perform on four stages, including the main Lands End stage. Muse, Arcade Fire, and Phish (who are scheduled for two sets) are headliners. Most, if not all, of the performing artists are no strangers to San Francisco. Many artists are scheduled for multiple sets; in addition to their advertised stage performances, including The Stone Foxes, Vetiver, OK Go, and Josh Ritter, who will have more intimate performances in various tents throughout the festival (including Toyota’s Free Yr Radio Broadcast stage and American Express’ Serve tent).

Organizers reconfigured this year’s festival grounds to be much more open and free-flowing than in previous years, specifically with the expansive McLaren Pass thoroughfare that aims to reduce any bottlenecks between performances. I can recall last year a few antsy festivalgoers knocking over chainlink fences to obtain easier access within one very constrained path.

Since the festival takes place in San Francisco, be prepared to see noticeable environmentally friendly items and displays, including dozens of volunteers to help you decide where best to put refuse (hint: there’s only three options:compost, recycle, or trash receptacles).

I am personally looking forward to seeing The Black Keys (Outside Lands alumni), The Shins, Beirut, Ellie Goulding, Best Coast, Phantogram, The Joy Formidable, and Grouplove. For those who can’t make the festival this year, musical performances will be posted on YouTube.

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