The schedule for this year's Outside Lands festival hit the web earlier today. But you can stop gritting your teeth and clutching the edge of that desk: Although many festival schedules are an exercise in painful decision-making, this one isn't so bad. In fact, the 2011 Outside Lands bill -- more than 70 artists on five stages in Golden Gate Park -- strikes us as pretty well arranged, offering plenty of options without crushing any of our hopes. Check it out here.
We can't promise you'll find deciding whom to see so easy, of course. But here are five things we like about the 2011 Outside Lands schedule:
1. There are plenty of ways to avoid Phish.
Doubtless, some of you will be seeking to actually catch Phish (ha!) -- and to you, well, godspeed. But those of us who require a minimum 200-yard distance from any jam bands are well served by Friday's schedule, which offers such enticements as Big Boi, Erykah Badu, Best Coast, the Shins, and Big Audio Dynamite, all while Phish noodles on the main stage for more than three hours.
2. MGMT is playing early.
Let's get something straight: MGMT is a daytime band. Its sound is all bright sunshine and neon surf shorts and goofy Wayfarers (and psychedelic drugs, which, at least in our experience, work better in the sunlight). Happily, the Outside Lands organizers recognized this, and scheduled the band to play the big stage at 4:35 on Friday. Now we just have to hope it ain't foggy.
3. We can end Saturday with Girl Talk.
Because big beats and shout-along choruses are exactly what we want from the climactic night of a music festival weekend. Who is this Muse band, anyway?