Outside Lands 2019 Returns This Weekend: Five Lesser Known and Five Classic Artists To See (PREVIEW)

Over a decade since its first edition, Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival is still going strong. Now in its 12th iteration, San Francisco’s major weekend event returns to Golden Gate Park this August 9-12. Aside from the extensive, locally-focused food and drink options that put traditional festival fare to shame, Outside Lands has booked a massive music and comedy lineup that’s sure to have something for everyone, whether you’re a fan of folk, hip-hop, electronic or something else entirely. Here are five lesser-known acts and five classics you should check out:

The Up-and-Comers

Judah and the Lion

Judah and the Lion perform an ideal, festival-ready style of rousing folk that should be well received at Outside Lands. Their latest album Pep Talks, features plenty of stomp- and clap-along anthems like “Quarter-Life Crisis” and “Alright (frick it!)”. Plus, they have a recent crossover with country star Kacey Musgraves (“pictures”), so don’t rule out a live collaboration of some sort.

Better Oblivion Community Center

You may not be familiar with this moniker, but you likely know the two collaborators behind Better Oblivion Community Center: Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers. The duo have been touring in support of their 2019 self-titled debut album, but this is their first (and only scheduled) major festival gig of the year. Expect folk-infused collaborative hits like “Dylan Thomas“ and “Didn’t Know What I Was in For”, as well as some cuts from Bright Eyes and Bridgers’ solo catalog.

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is well on his way to becoming a household name in hip-hop, releasing THE AMERICAN REJECT this year. The project is chock full of laidback jams like “NO ONE OUTSIDE”.

Even more recently, Bennett went toe to toe with big bro Chance the Rapper with a guest spot on the latter’s The Big Day track “Roo”. After Chance appeared to perform the live debut of his The Big Day Death Cab for Cutie collab “Do You Remember” at Lollapalooza last weekend, don’t rule anything out for this set.

Alex Lahey

If you’re looking for rollicking riffs and pop-punk jams, look no further than Alex Lahey. The Australian rocker is touring in support of latest album The Best of Luck Club, which also shows the expansion of her sound. From the anthemic “I Don’t Get Invited to Parties Anymore” and “Misery Guts” to the pensive “Unspoken History”, the singer is poised to showcase her sonic palette for the SF crowd.

Rainbow Girls

Rainbow Girls won’t have to travel far to get to Outside Lands. Currently calling north of the Bay Area home, the folk trio lean into their poignant harmonies set to gentle acoustic guitars — perfect for a chill afternoon, especially as the band are playing one of the first sets of the festival. Rainbow Girls will be playing in support of their aptly named record, Give the People What They Want.

The Classics

Paul Simon

Paul Simon officially retired from touring last year, so this is an increasingly rare opportunity to see the legendary singer-songwriter live. (He has said that he will occasionally consider playing gigs that benefit good causes, and Outside Lands fits the bill with his proceeds going to local environmental organizations.) During his Homeward Bound – The Farewell Tour, Simon pulled out all the stops to deliver solo hits (“Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard”, “You Can Call Me Al”) and Simon & Garfunkel classics (“The Sound of Silence”, “The Boxer”).

Kacey Musgraves

This may be the sunset of the album cycle for Kacey Musgraves’ acclaimed record Golden Hour, but it’s been a hell of a ride so far. After winning four Grammys (including Album of the Year), the Texas country star is taking the album on a well-deserved victory lap. Expect to hear a range of hits from the LP, such as “Slow Burn”, “Space Cowboy” and “Butterflies.”

Childish Gambino

Donald Glover’s latest project brought him to Disney’s live-action remake of the classic The Lion King. Perhaps it’s possible that his alias Childish Gambino has some musical tricks up his sleeve from the new movie for this festival performance. (He performs on tracks like “Hakuna Matata” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” on the 2019 update of the soundtrack.) If not, he has recent hits like “This Is America” and “Summertime Magic”, as well as last album ”Awaken, My Love!” to lean on.

Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples may have just turned 80, but the iconic gospel and soul singer is still going strong, releasing latest album We Get By this past May. Full of rollicking, bluesy anthems for our day and age (like “Change” and “Brothers and Sisters”), this new record showcases Staples’ still-fiery activism. After delivering a show-stopping performance at Pitchfork Fest earlier in the summer (including a cover of Buffalo Springfield’s protest classic “For What It’s Worth”), expect a similarly commanding set at Outside Lands.

The Lumineers

Sure, The Lumineers have a stable of hits (“Ho Hey”, “Ophelia”) that are sure to get any festival crowd moving. The folk outfit also just released a fresh EP, Leader of the Landslide, last week in the lead-up to their next studio album III. Keep an ear out for their two newest songs, including the title track of the EP and “It Wasn’t Easy to Be Happy for You”.

Single-day tickets are still available –head on here for more information…

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