Disappointed Outside Lands fan, we share your woe: The lineup this year -- at least concerning headliners -- just doesn't woo us like it has in years past.
Not to slam the bands at the top of the bill. My Morning Jacket, Furthur, Al Green, Phoenix and the Strokes are all decent-to-damn-fine acts. (Kings of Leon is, well, popular.) But for Outside Lands to maintain its momentum into a third year, those names belonged in big type under a huge name -- a blockbuster on the level of Radiohead or Pearl Jam or Beck or Dave Matthews Band. Outside Lands brought us three days of titans in 2008 and 2009. But there isn't one booked for either day this year.
Allen Scott, Vice President of Another Planet Entertainment, which produces Outside Lands and books several major local venues, told us that fans should look at the overall lineup -- not just the headliners -- to judge the festival. He also told us we were crazy for being disappointed.
"The festival is the sum of its parts and not necessarily headliner-driven," Scott said in a phone interview. "People need to look at the festival as a whole -- that's the wonderful thing about a festival."
Scott said his firm tried to book a show that would appeal to Northern California tastes. "With a band like Furthur, the music they're doing has been an integral part of San Francisco's musical history," he said. "It's an extremely relevant band. And Kings of Leon is one of the largest up-and-coming touring acts. They're playing out amphitheaters."
All of which is true. But Furthur, a reunion of The Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, ain't the Dead, and even Scott said headliners Kings of Leon were "up-and-coming."
"I think Radiohead is on its own level," he said.
Regardless what we think, Outside Lands tickets are hot. Scott said advance two-day tickets ($125) have sold twice as quickly this year as last year, and they ran out yesterday. Now it's $140 (plus fees, etc.) for both days.
In other Outside Lands news:
- Scott said he had no idea how the list of headliners was leaked early in this month's issues of both Rolling Stone and Spin.
- Black Star (the rap duo of Mos Def and Talib Kweli) were never confirmed for Outside Lands, Scott said, and he didn't know why Spin wrote that the outfit was booked for the festival.
- Contrary to some rumors, Outside Lands has no plans to leave Golden Gate Park. "We hope to be here for years to come," Scott said. "We want this to be a San Francisco institution -- an iconic event for the city."
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