Oh, it’s possible alright — and San Francisco is your oyster
I have hated on San Francisco on the past, I know — and that hasn’t entirely changed. It’s cold, it’s foggy and I’ve heard Mark Twain’s “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco” quoted so many times that I may just Huckleberry Finn myself (except I don’t really know what that means). However, the Outside Lands music festival is a different story. I’d kind of be in love, if I didn’t have to soak myself in alcohol to stay warm, that is.
Here’s what you should know:
BOYS COME from all over. I met kids from all over Europe, Argentina, Illinois, Iowa, Japan and outer space (at least, it felt that way — Cosmic Boy, you know I’m talking about you). Everyone was there to have a good time and enjoy the music. It didn’t feel like a hook-up fest, but that’s when the best kind of magic happens: when you’re not looking for it. Or so they say.
BE OPEN to meeting freaks without judgment. I’m not going to say that Johnny Rocket Astro Turf with his penchant for red-colored objects, pixy wings and bubbles was weird, but I’m not going to call him normal, either. Cha. You need to embrace the weirdness that is Outside Lands.
BE CRAFTY, because you will want alcohol, and booze is expensive. You’re allowed to bring in backpacks and water bottles, so wad up some shirts at the bottom of your bag and stick a few bottles in between. The guards usually check only the bottoms of your knapsacks, and a few frisky ones will pat your bottom as well. Oh, behave!
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT to see. The festival goes for three days and there are four stages and two dance tents. You may have to choose one option over another. Kind of like the misery I experienced by having to leave Deadmau5 on Sunday night to catch the last hour of Arcade Fire. Good decision? Je ne sais pas.
DON’T LOSE your friends. While it’s possible that you’ll find them again, it’s entirely possible that you won’t — and cell phone service sucks. Unless you plan on meeting randoms and don’t mind wandering alone, that is.
PLAN TO EXPLORE San Francisco. Don’t bum out on night one claiming exhaustion. You’re in a cool city, so see it. I may not remember the name of the bar, but I do remember feeling pretty fancy-footed to some 60s swing music. Of course, that could’ve just been all in my head.
TAKE A BUS. Festival goers are in party mode. Bring the life of the party with you, like this guy (I like to call him ‘Pixy Pete’). He’ll start singing something innocuous like Sweet Caroline, he’ll probably blow bubbles on your face or smack you with a laser stick, but hey, at least you’ll have something to talk about, right?
PACK IN LAYERS please, I beg you! I went from shorts and a T-shirt in the afternoon, added a sweater, added a jacket and sweater and finally, jeans, by 10 p.m. I was still cold — and that was the warmest day! It isn’t like Coachella, where you’re wandering around wearing next to nothing. Girls still did that, but they were damn fools — and the guys are earthy enough to be unimpressed by female fashion stupidity.
If you strike up a romance at Outside Lands, power to you. At least you know you’ll have met a cool guy with similar musical tastes to you. Just hope that he doesn’t live there if you do find him — that city is damn cold!