The first time I went to Outside Lands was in 2008. My mom, a “born and raised” SF native was excited about Golden Gate Park’s first night time concert so she decided to bring my brother & me to check it out. Every year since then I’ve wanted to go back, but a family vacation or my own birthday plans would fall on the same weekend and I’d tell myself, “Definitely next year.”
So last year, while I was returning from my birthday trip (Chicago) and scrolling through my friends’ amazing Outside Lands pics on Instagram, I decided that this year would finally be THE year. And it was. I bought my ticket as soon as it went on sale and announced to the internet that this was to be my birthday party. But now, 2 days after The Lands closed for the year, and even though I had a ton of fun, I realize that I may have done it kinda wrong.
Of course, I did all of the things I majorly wanted to do. I dressed pretty cute, painted my face, ate the bomb food, danced with my friends, and saw my top priority artists. But in my rush to get from stage to stage for music I missed out on wine lands, all of the comedians, a lot of the art installations and who knows what else.
Here’s where I went wrong:
1. I went into the park WAY too late each day.
I mean like, 4 or 5 pm late… The reason is that I was in a hotel room with my best friends and we were having such a good time getting ready and pregaming that we let the hours slip away. I also made the mistake of thinking about OSL solely in terms of the musical acts, “Well, Chance doesn’t start til’ 5 so we can leave at like 3:30…” And even though I’m sad about the loss of time I could’ve spent exploring, at least I can say I was having fun…
2. I kept telling myself, “I’ll go see that tomorrow…”
While walking from stage to stage I would notice cool art stands and booths that I really wanted to check out. One of them was the Juxtapoz booth and art installation next to it. I walked by it every day and stared the whole time, but we were either rushing to a stage or trying to meet up with a friend, so I didn’t have time to stop and appreciate it. Every time I saw it I told myself to make a point of stopping next time, but I never did.
3. I didn’t always express to my friends what I wanted to do.
A lot of the time, if I’m with a group of people, I choose to be a follower instead of a leader. I’m tempted now to get into the psychology behind this, but we’re talking about music festivals right now. Anyway, I can think of a few times that I wanted to do or see something and decided to let it go because the rest of the group was already migrating in a different direction.
4. I did not take nearly enough pictures.
Here’s the thing. I’m cold ALL of the time. It doesn’t matter if I have a sweatshirt with the hood tied over my face and am also wrapped in a blanket and my boyfriend is fully smothering me… I am still cold. And I was very much so at Outside Lands. I resisted taking my phone out for any reason, even when people were calling me to meet up.
5. I got one of my wisdom teeth removed a few days before.
We all know that rule number one of making fun plans is to never make anti-fun plans within the same week. An anti-fun plan is a plan that might negatively impact the level of fun you have at a future plan. For example, getting a bone pulled out of your face and having to take preventative antibiotics would make it harder to eat and drink all the glorious food one might be presented with at a festival. So anyway, I broke that rule…
I’m not mad, though. I’ve already prepared a checklist of things I MUST do next year, and now I have a list of things I must not ever do again. Overall, even without the full experience, I’d still give Outside Lands aka Sab’s Birthday Party 2016 a 10/10.