Outside Lands, the three-day Golden Gate Park festival that attracts legends across the fields of food, music, and comedy, has canceled its 2020 event, citing concerns about the coronavirus crisis.
The 12-year-old event began with a focus on music (the lineup in 2008 included Radiohead, Tom Petty, and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings). Food quickly became a centerpiece of the event, as it typically attracts a bold-faced list of local restaurants that set up in tents around Outside Lands’ main concourse, all serving their greatest hits to hungry concert-goers.
The show also devotes an entire stage to food events, known as Gastromagic. Past participants include folks like newly crowned Top Chef all-star Melissa King, Sarah and Evan Rich of San Francisco mainstay Rich Table, and Chris Cosentino (also a reality TV star, as well as the owner of meat-centric SoMa spot Cockscomb).
In an email sent Wednesday morning and posted to its website, Outside Lands management said that the festival would be on hold this year, as “after lengthy discussions with local and state health authorities about the impact of COVID-19 both in our community and throughout the world, we believe it is in the best interest of everyone’s health and safety that Outside Lands not be held in 2020.” The plan is for the show to resume on August 6–8, 2021, with the “the best in music, food, beer, wine, art, cannabis and more.” To that end, they’ve already announced the full music lineup for the 2021 show, with acts including Vegan Mob fan/Oakland artist Kehlani, Vampire Weekend, and Tyler, The Creator (you can see the full rundown here).
Not only is the news a blow to concert-goers eager to see this year’s planned lineup, which included Lizzo and the Strokes, but to area restaurants, many of which reaped the bounty of a reported $67 million spent on local businesses by concert-goers in a single year. According to SF Travel, 65 percent of Outside Lands ticket holders live outside the area, making it a boon for local dining and lodging establishments.
The timing of the announcement makes sense, however, as it becomes more and more clear that the pandemic is far from over. According to the California Department of Public Health, 5,019 new lab-confirmed cases of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) were reported Monday, the highest jump in confirmed cases since the crisis began. A source close to Another Planet, the organizer of Outside Lands, says that the company “hoped that since Coachella was just postponed” (the SoCal music festival was planned for April and was moved to October in the early days of the pandemic), “we could go on, but it’s too dangerous.”
Ticket holders for Outside Lands 2020 are encouraged to hang on to their passes, “as they will be honored for the 2021 festival,” and there are even vague incentives to let them ride: “Passholders choosing to rollover to 2021 will be treated to exclusive contesting for upgrades, giveaways and more throughout the coming year,” the festival says. Those who choose not to place their hope in 2021 can instead request a refund, but must do so by July 24, 2020.