San Francisco’s musical treat

The cool fresh air and foggy skies, paired with the tree-lined backdrops of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park proved to be the perfect setting for the 5th annual Outside Lands Festival. Tens of thousands of hungry ears flocked in from all over California, and even as far as Australia, for the three-day festival featuring over 65 bands, live and three-dimensional art, and endless food choices. Festival headliners Metallica, Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Foo Fighters drew large crowds to the Lands End stage, with Stevie Wonder closing the event Sunday night with an awe-inspiring performance.

Saturday evening, Norah Jones’ dreamy voice and relaxed demeanor collected listeners at the Sutro Stage. She had the audience swaying with ease and couples slow dancing under the setting sun to her hit song “Come Away With Me”. The evening breezes and mellow tunes even had some napping peacefully on blankets around the stage. Norah definitely presented a memorable show.

The Scottish rockers of Franz Ferdinand had spectators carelessly jumping up and down and pumping their fists in unison as they delivered one great song after another. Crowd surfers and beach balls added to the experience as the band played some of their popular songs like “Can’t Stop Feeling” and “Take Me Out”. The band had everyone in the audience going wild as they ended their set with an intense, full band drum circle. Certainly a great start to Sunday’s line up at the Lands End stage, which consisted of Regina Spektor, Jack White and Stevie Wonder.

The variety shows and comedy acts occurring at The Barbary tent were a great way to escape the cold while getting in a few laughs. Reggie Watts amused the crowds with his comedic tunes and well timed jokes. Following Watts’ performance, The Nerdist Variety Show with Chris Hardwick drew in large crowds, with a guest appearance by Neil Patrick Harris, who joined in on a part of Justin Willman’s magic act, but was ultimately in attendance to promote his new show, “Henson Alternative’s Miskreant Puppets”, airing on The Nerdist Channel. It was a nice break from the music, and the entertainment was worth the wait.

The festival provided a bountiful supply of good food ranging from pork belly burgers and slaw from Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers to Woodhouse Fish Co.’s clam chowder served in a bread bowl, which paired nicely with the chilly weather. Straw’s delicious sweet potato tots and blackberry bbq sauce seemed to be a crowd favorite. Choco Lands, a dessert only section of the festival, supplied a plethora of tasty treats sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. Festival attendees could be seen carrying around s’mores and tantalizing cupcakes from San Francisco favorite, Kara’s Cupcakes.

Fog filled days and nippy evenings did not slow down the crowds at Outside Lands this year. With a killer line up of bands, fascinating art work and tasty eats a plentiful; this was a three-day extravaganza not worth missing.