Thursday, August 18, 2011

Adventures in Outside Lands

Outside Lands comes and goes and we always think how fun it would be to go but ultimately never pull it together. Go figure, that this year, the year that we have a small child to take care of, we got free tickets for one day at Outside Lands!  Of course, we didn’t want to pass it up! 

But, oh yeah, we have a 7 ½ month old baby.  Who we’ve never got a real babysitter for.  And it’s gonna be a late night.

Time to call in the reserves!  Lucky for us, we have amazing friends that jump at the chance to practice their baby raising skills on our little guy.  {We try not to use and abuse our friends for this kind of situation.} So now that Cubbie is all set to spend the evening with his Aunties and Uncles….

Let the adventure begin!!

We’ve always heard parking for this event can be a real pain in the butt .  SF doesn’t exactly boast a plethora of parking in the first place.  But we decided to drive and park on a familiar street about a mile from Golden Gate Park {the venue}.  We found a parking spot insanely fast but there was an hour limit, until 6pm.  Okay, it’s 5:50pm.  Let’s walk around for 10 mins, come back to the car, and fill up the meter.  Check.  Good to go.

The *mile* to Golden Gate park seemed like a lot longer than that, and by longer, I mean it took half an hour to walk!  When was the last time it took you half an hour to walk a mile?  Yeah, it was waaaay more than a mile.  We trucked our way through the “panhandle” and were filled with joy to see a sign welcoming us to Outside Lands with an arrow pointing straight ahead!  We’ve made it!  However, we’ve seen soooo many parking spaces right at the entrance to Golden Gate Park. 


Why didn’t we try to park here first?  FF a few steps and we see another sign informing us that the box office was just a mere 30min walk….further! This is where we stopped to make a crucial decision, weighing our assumptions: 

1 hour in ≤ 1 hour out.  MUSE closes at 10pm + 2 hour walk to the car {additional hour for extra crowds, confusion, darkness, and finding our way back} + 1 hour drive back to San Jose.  Uhh….our poor friends.  We’ve already asked enough of them and I promised we’d be back around 11pm! 

The other option;  walk back {30 mins}, get the car, drive the car to the park and park closer, but not too close so as to get stuck in the masses, and walk another 30 mins in to the venue.  We went with the latter. 

About this time, I was getting grumpy, as I do. So we threw in Option C. Option C was a clause to address the particular case in which we retrieved the car, but could not find closer parking.  Option C allowed us to forego Outside Lands entirely, find a restaurant, and enjoy a nice dinner a la San Francisco before heading home.  Luckily, we did not have to resort to Option C because there was PLENTY of parking inside the park by the time we drove back.  So much parking that we wondered if it was really okay for us to park here.  But we decided to take our chances.

As we’re getting out of the car, a young {and super high} man stopped to ask us if this was the way to Outside Lands.  When we gave a vigorous “Yes!”, he proceeded to tell us the story of his own adventure in getting to the festival.  He was on a bus with his friends and had almost reached the venue when he realized he had forgotten his ticket!  He ran all around town trying to find a computer to print his tickets out on.  Oh man, his troubles and tribulations had been much greater than ours, and yet, he was just as happy as can be that he had made it, with his box of 30 glo-sticks in hand. Then we watched and he ran the rest of the way to the gate....which was a long way. This man shone a little light on our day and we shed any negative feelings about our long walk back and forth through SF.  At least it was a beautiful day, and now I can eat anything I want at the concert because I burned enough calories for a feast!

A 30 min walk to the box office was like, extremely optimistic.  We finally made it in {after wading through many a strange folk camped out along the way}, just in time to hear the last song played by The Black Keys while we grubbed on some samosas and chicken tikka masala from the food court.  Then we had about half an hour until Muse started.   We went to find ourselves a nice spot where we both would be able to see at least a little bit of the stage, and if not the stage, at least the big screens.  We probably should have brought a grungier blanket.  I felt kind of bad putting our nice knitted one on the ground.  O-well.

After getting situated, we got a few minutes to take it all in, and we thought what a fun time it would be to actually get to spend the whole day here.  There were all kinds of booths filled with free activities and freelance artists selling headbands and knitted beanies and face painting {sorry, we need to get better about taking pictures....maybe if we had iPhones like the rest of the world}. Of course, we missed out on all of that.  Maybe next time.

Then Muse hit the stage. They didn’t disappoint.  Although I wish that they had some new songs to play.  I can’t say it beat the first time we saw them {probably nothing ever will}, but at least I didn’t get beer or wine spilled on me.  I must be getting old because when I go to a concert, I don't want to come out drenched in other peoples' sweat and beverages.  Anyway, they still rocked.  And I’m pretty sure that Taylor Swift CD in my car {or wait, is it Rock-a-By Baby} will have to move over for one of my Muse mixes!  RogĂ©r will be happy about that.

It took us a ridiculous amount of time to walk back to the car, even though we parked relatively close, and we got back later than we expected.  SORRY!  I feel so bad for extending the “sitters’” watch.  I really do.  Not our intentions at all.  We owe our friends big time, and I’m sure they’ll be calling on us when they have kiddos of their own.  Of course, we’ll graciously offer our help when they need it!

You know, I think we'll hit up Outside Lands again when we have a little bit older kids.  We'll slap some noise reducing headphones on them and make a big day of it.  I also have to point out, that it was our first time truely in Golden Gate Park, and it is so beautiful!!  We have got to go back to experience just the park itself one of these days.


  1. Teresa and I consistently get into tiffs about one thing: parking. I am conservative (she would say pessimistic; I would have parked in Oakland for Outside Lands) and she is overly optimistic (I would say dumb) when it comes to parking. We would have had a melt down trying to park for Outside Lands!

    Also concerts. We went to two at the Fox; Goldfrapp and Keane. Both of which I really enjoy when listening to their studio stuff. Seeing Goldfrapp live was awful: too much bass, people getting in fights right in front of us; it was actually the complete opposite of her album, way too much energy, bass and skin tight silver suits with fog machines and fans. Keane was OK, but it didn't feel right for some reason; again too much bass.

    Teresa really liked Ingrid Michaelson. I bought us tickets to go see her at the Fillmore. This too, was not our thing. Had it been at the Fox, it would have been better, but the Fillmore has no seats. And she talks. And talks. And then she talked somemore. The anecdotes were less than entertaining. I wouldn't have minded as much if I could have sat down. Funny thing: we have not listened to her since that show. Teresa listened to her ALL THE TIME before that, and the live experience ruined it for her.

    Lesson learned: we are too old for concerts.

  2. Haha! I'll take comfort in knowing that another couple shares our pain when it comes to parking. I don't think I've ever been to a concert at the Fillmore, but I like the warfield. You can sit in the balcony there. Typically public transport is the way to go when it comes to SF, but we didn't quite feel cozy with that with our time constraints. BUT there was a ton of bicyclists at OL and a great big place to park your bikes. That also might have been a good choice!


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