Tag Archives: festival

My Safety Noodle

In 2015 my sister made a few totems out of pool noodles to use at Outside Lands. She took a couple of pool noodles, added some ribbons at the top to make them distinctive, and bought some glow sticks to attach at night. Those totems served our group well, uniting us between different sets throughout the weekend. When the festival ended, I took one of the totems home.

Outside Lands 2016 rolled around and the totem came out of retirement. He even got an upgrade when one of our friends wrapped a battery powered LED light strip around it. The totem became an essential part of our Outside Lands experience. I liked to carry it. It was my safety noodle. I always knew where I was in a sea of people.

The safety noodle returned for his third Outside Lands in 2017. That’s impressive. My sister, the creator, added an inflatable unicorn to the top because the third anniversary is the unicorn anniversary. The unicorn turned my safety noodle into a celebrity. Random festival goers would take pictures of it and use it as a beacon to find their own friends.

Unfortunately the third year of Outside Lands took a toll on it. The LED lights got a little faulty. He also got a little bent from the extra weight from the unicorn. Pool noodles are not designed to deal with that kind of stress. I’m not sure if he will be able to survive Outside Lands 2018. He will make an appearance. I owe him that. But I don’t see him making it through another crazy weekend of debauchery. I want him to go out on his own terms and (other than the inside of my closet) Outside Lands is all he knows.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Towel Steppers

I went to San Francisco’s Outside Lands earlier this month. Outside Lands is a three day music and arts festival held in Golden Gate Park. I go every year and every year gets more and more crowded. Most people are respectful of other people’s space and property but there are always a couple of assholes who don’t give a fuck and consider themselves to be VIPs. They are towel steppers. They will literally step on your towel or blanket that you have splayed out on the ground. They will bump into you and not appologize. They will cut in line. They turn a fun event into a hassle. And they should be called out for it. The world needs more hippies and less towel steppers. 

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young 

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Bands I’ve Seen at Outside Lands

I’m too lazy think of something to write about right now so I figured I would just make a list of all the bands I’ve seen at Outside Lands. In case you don’t know, Outside Lands is a three-day music and arts festival held annually in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. I live two blocks away from Golden Gate Park. I’m pretty much required to go and so I do. It’s a three-day festival in my backyard. How can I not go?

The first Outside Lands was in 2008. That was a long time ago so I can’t remember all the bands that I saw, but I remember seeing Beck, Dredg, Matt Nathanson, Steve Winwood, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Wilco, and all three main headliners: Radiohead, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and Jack Johnson.

In 2009 I saw Incubus, Tom Jones, Silversun Pickups, the National, Black Eyed Peas, The Mars Volta, M.I.A., Modest Mouse, Matt & Kim, Atmosphere, Ween, and the three main headliners again: Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, and Tenacious D. The Beastie Boys were supposed to be Sunday’s headliner but MCA got cancer and they were replaced by Tenacious D. Jack Black and K.G. put on a hell of a show, but that was my only chance to ever see the Beastie Boys.

Ok, so I might have lied earlier when I said that I’ve been to every Outside Lands because I didn’t buy tickets the third year because of various reasons. I was supposed to work that entire weekend but somehow got Sunday off. I celebrated by going to Golden Gate Park with some friends that night and listened to Kings of Leon’s set. We were on the wrong side of the fence, but I kinda sorta consider that as going to Outside Lands. Anyway, I learned from my mistake and vowed to never do that again.

In 2011 I saw Phantogram, Foster the People, MGMT, Phish, OK Go, Arctic Monkeys, the Black Keys, and Muse. I didn’t like Sunday’s lineup so I sold the ticket to a friend. I kind of regret it.

I kept my 2012 guide so I know exactly who I saw and when I saw them. 8/10/2012 was a Friday and I started the day by watching Tanlines, then Fitz and the Tantrums, Beck (again), Foo Fighters, and ended the night with Neil Young & Crazy Horse. Saturday began with Geographer, followed by Alabama Shakes, Big Boi, Passion Pit, and finished with Metallica. Sunday’s first set was Allen Stone, then fun., Franz Ferdinand, Regina Spektor, Santigold, Bloc Party, and it concluded with Stevie Wonder.

2013’s OSL rolled around and I saw Band of Horses, the National, Zedd, and Paul McCartney on Friday. I saw Social Studies, Atlas Genius, Young the Giant, Jurassic 5, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, a little bit of Nine Inch Nails, and then Phoenix on Saturday. On Sunday I saw Foals, Daryl Hall & John Oates (and yes, they did play “Maneater”), A-Trak, Matt & Kim (again), and closed the weekend with Red Hot Chili Peppers.

I misplaced my 2014 guide, but I know that I saw Aer, Bleachers, Holy Ghost! Chromeo, Disclosure, The Kooks, Local Natives, Haim, Death Cab for Cutie, Imelda May, Flume, Spoon, and Kanye West, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (again), and The Killers.

Don’t worry though, I have my 2015 guide so I can tell you that on Friday, 8/7/2015 I saw the Family Crest, Lake Street Dive, Lindsey Sterling, Glass Animals, RL Grime, Chet Faker, Porter Robinson, and Mumford & Sons. On Saturday I saw Misterwives, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Cold War Kids, Toro y Moi, Tame Impala, Classixx, and Kendrick Lamar. On Sunday I saw Shakey Graves, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, DJ Mustard, Odesza, Sam Smith, Caribou, and Elton John.

Outside Lands is a big part of my life. I look forward to it every year. I will blindly buy a ticket before they announce the lineup. It doesn’t matter who is playing. I love discovering bands that I haven’t heard before. I love finding out how popular bands sound live. I love seeing living legends like Paul McCartney and Elton John take the stage. I love forming temporary friendships with the random festival-goers around me, passing joints and sharing booze while killing time before the next set starts. I’m all about living life and Outside Lands is one of those places where I feel truly alive.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

2014-08-05-vintagewoodenwindmillsatOutsideLandsJeffKravitzFilmMagic

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Packing Your Bag For A Festival

Last week I went to the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco. It was my fifth time in six years, so I knew what to expect and I came prepared. Packing your bag for a festival is an extremely vital step for an enjoyable weekend. The more supplied you are, the better the festival will be. Start by getting a decent sized backpack with a few different compartments. The biggest compartment is reserved for a beach towel or blanket to mark your spot, and it’s a good idea to throw in an extra jacket or hoodie in case it gets cold. The middle compartment is for food and drinks. And the smallest compartment is for small accessories like hand sanitizer and deodorant. Hand sanitizer goes a long way, especially at outdoor festivals that have a bunch of portapotties but no place to wash your hands. And deodorant is always nice to have, especially after hours of dancing and walking and baking underneath the hot sun. Sometimes I even include a small first aid kit, because you never know when your drunk ass will need a Band-Aid.

The food and drink compartment is the most important. You want to avoid buying food and drinks inside. The lines are too long and the prices are too high. I usually buy a bunch of mini liquor bottles (the kind they serve on planes) and I wrap them up in black socks and drop them in the bottom of the bag. Then I get beef jerky, trail mix, a few granola bars, maybe a sandwich, and some candy and throw those on top of the socked-up liquor bottles. They won’t be able to find your booze if you do it right. If they open your bag, they will just see a bunch of random snacks. Even if they take out the snacks, they won’t spot the liquor because it’s hard to see small black bundles on the bottom of a black bag. I’ll also buy a bottle of vodka and Gatorade and make some Faderade to take in. It looks just like Gatorade, so they probably wont confiscate it. If you make it the night before and stick it in the freezer, you’ll have an ice cold Faderade that will also turn the middle compartment into a cooler. I’ll usually bring in a few bottles of Coke for a caffeine boost and as a chaser for the mini liquor bottles.

If you want to smoke, I suggest that you roll a couple of joints or blunts and put them in a small container to keep them from getting squished or broken. They are easier to light, and it’s more convenient than packing a bowl. And when they start playing your favorite song, you just have to whip it out and spark it and you don’t have to fumble around. Properly packing your bag for a festival will make your weekend better. I spent three days at Outside Lands and didn’t spend a dime on booze or food at any of the vendors. Everything that I needed was in my bag. I was never uncomfortable, I was never hungry, and I was never sober. And I consider that a victory.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Goose Hands

Last August I went to the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco. There were a lot of bands, a few different stages, and thousands and thousands of people walking around. Anyone who has ever been to a festival can attest to how easy it is to lose your friends in the crowd. You look away for a second and they’re gone. Some people carry around sticks, poles, flags or balloons so that their friends can spot them amongst the sea of people. That’s a good idea, but it’s kind of cumbersome to walk around with a ten foot pole. Goose hands are the best alternative to lugging a flag around all day. Then next time someone gets separated from the group, tell them your general vicinity and to look out for the goose hands. Form a good old fashioned duck shadow puppet with your hand, then elevate it over your head and make it quack. Get a few friends to do it too, and the missing member of your group will be able to find you without any problem. It’s a great way to locate your group or guide your lost friend back to your spot. It’s easier to push your way through a crowd if you know where you’re going. Goose hands… try them at your next concert. It will change your life.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Using a Blanket to Mark Your Turf

If you’ve ever gone to an outdoor concert or festival, you’ve probably noticed a few groups that bring in beach towels or blankets to sit on. They stake out a spot where they can spread out their blanket, and that little plot of land becomes their territory. If you bring a towel you have a spot to lay down between sets, you have a place to leave your bags, you have a set meeting spot (I’ll meet you at the blanket). This is all perfectly acceptable behavior as long as there’s no music and you’re not too close to the stage. But if everyone around you is standing and/or moving to the beat and your ass is still parked on your blanket, it might be time to stand up and pack up your shit. There’s no point in bitching at a steady stream of strangers for stepping on your precious blanket. Yes, it is rude to step on someone’s personal belongings. But it’s also rude to claim ownership over public property by spreading out a blanket when everyone else is crammed together. Using a blanket to mark your turf is a smart idea, but you can’t be selfish about it. Drunk, stoned, and fucked up people have a right to dance and walk around during a set without worrying about stepping into your personal space. If you don’t like crowds, you shouldn’t be at a concert. That’s why they invented personal music players.

Critically Rated at 10/17

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Forgetting Your Ticket

You hear about an awesome festival with a fantastic lineup on an ideal weekend and so you buy your tickets a few months in advance and request the time off of work. You mark the dates on the calendar and your anticipation builds as the days slowly pass until it is finally time to rock out. You’ve been planning everything out: you know which bands you’re going to see, you recruit friends to join you, you pack your bag with some snacks and stash a few joints and a flask in a hidden compartment, and you start to make your way to the concert. You’re feeling pleased and excited and slightly buzzed because you were pregaming. And then you realize that your ticket that you bought months ago is still tucked away safely in your drawer. Forgetting your ticket is worse than leaving your kid behind at Chuck E. Cheese. You feel like an amateur. You feel like you’ve failed. And you did.

Critically Rated at 4/17

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Beach Balls

Beach balls are inflatable balls that require your lungpower. You blow into a little rubber nipple thing, and you get slightly dizzy if you blow it up too fast. The name is kind of misleading. You never see beach balls at the beach. You typically see them at concerts, festivals, and the occasional sporting event. They are sometimes distracting, but you still hope it comes your way so you can swat it. I wonder if the guy who brings the ball gets mad when no one gives it back. I would be pissed, “NO ONE IS LEAVING UNTIL I GET MY FUCKING BEACH BALL BACK! WHO THE FUCK HAS IT?”

Critically Rated at 11/17

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