The lineup for the 8th annual installment of the Outside Land Music Festival might be the best yet.
It's easy to excuse anyone who looks at the headliners -- Elton John, The Black Keys, Kendrick Lamar, Wilco, Tame Impala, Amon Tobin, D’Angelo, St. Vincent, Ben Harper -- and who thinks, holy shit, this is going to be a kick-ass weekend!
Of course it will be. Hell, even if there was NO music and it was just a weekend spent eating and drinking gourmet food, wine and beer in Golden Gate Park, it would be kick-ass enough.
I judge mega festivals like Outside Lands by the bottom of their bill, not by the top. Bonnaroo, Coachella, Lollapalloza, Austin City Limits, etc all spend a lot of money attracting acts they think will help sell tickets (Mumford & Sons? Sam Smith? Meh.). No surprise. But the bottom of the bill is where the promoters and programmers show off their curation and taste-making skills, introducing attendees to up-and-coming artists, or talented acts that might never become that big.
With this in mind, I like to create "Bottom to Top" Mixtapes, with a focus on artists playing in the early afternoon, before the crowds have gotten thick and the drugs have kicked in.
Here's my Outside Lands mixtape. Enjoy. And don't miss Strand of Oaks, Leon Bridges, or Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Just don't.