Merced County Times Newspaper
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Ever-expanding Outside Lands music festival celebrates 15th anniversary


The Outside Lands music festival at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park kicked off Friday at noon, opening the gates to tens of thousands of people for three days of music, food, art and more. 

Fans bought more than 250,000 tickets for the 15th anniversary of the event which is now considerded sold out. Nearly 100 artists will be performing during the festival run, including Saturday’s headliners Foo Fighters, Lana Del Rey and Maggie Rogers. 

But it was Kendrick Lamar, Janelle Monae, Interpol, Willow and Diesel (Shaquille O’Neal) that got things rolling on Friday.

Actually it was Shaq that got the party started on the Twin Peaks stage. The former Lakers star and music DJ legend strolled onto the stage saying he had been just hanging out with his friends, Warriors greats Steph Curry and Draymond Green, and the crowd went wild. About a dozen lucky fans had the chance to make it on stage to greet the “hands up” star while he produced some thumping tracks that roard through a mass of humanity — stretching all the way to the Panhandle stage where another performance was going on.  

The crowds only increased for Lamar, Monae, and Interpol, the indie rock band that’s been making critically acclaimed music since the late ’90s. 

However, both concert-goers and promoters will say: It’s not only the music that makes Outside Lands so special. There’s also 100 different, mostly local, restaurants at the venue, all kinds of wine, beer and cocktails, live performances by street artists, and opportunities for people to interact with just about everything going on. The food can be pricy, but it’s definitely unique. For just one example, foodies can chow down and drool over an $18 Taiwanese hot dog from Piglet and Co. that features sesame seeds, rice pearls and special sauces.

San Francisco mayor London Breed showed up in some groovy clothing before the event to urge visitors to plan ahead this weekend and be safe. 

“This amazing transformative event will be an opportunity to enjoy so many incredible artists,” she said. “What we are asking the many people who are visiting are city to celebrate make sure you use public transportation, ride your bike or scooter. It’s going to be really crowded and we want to get you out in an efficent and safe way.”

The mayor should be quite proud of the event. Over the past 15 years, the festival has become a massive economic boost for the city, generating more than a billion dollars in economic impact. Leaders here will soon consider expanding the event next year to feature a second weekend of shows. 

Yanira Ledezma, a former Merced resident who has attended the festival for the past six years, says the event (as well as the city itself) is worth the trip for Central Valley residents. 

“Come out and enjoy the food, the music, the weather — and have fun!” 


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