In a single word, Outside Lands 2022 can be described as joyful. As the San Francisco festival returned to its regular August dates after the pause and slow return from the pandemic, the weather was more than cooperative over the course of the three-day festival at Golden Gate Park. The infamous August fog was kept at bay and warm temperatures extended into the evening with clear skies while the sounds from headliners Green Day, SZA , Illenium and Post Malone emanated throughout the park over the weekend. Attendees, which were estimated at around 225,000 were dressed as if they were in the Coachella desert and danced and partied to take in the great music and weather. Billed as the most diverse lineup in its history, Outside Lands 2022 delivered on that statement and then some. Notable performances by artists of Asian descent were more than obligatory checkboxes – UK BRiT award winner Griff put on a tight set that was thoroughly engaging with sing-alongs and dancing; fellow UK artist Rina Sawayama had a set to remember with amazing choreography and songs that showed why she’s on the cusp of superstardom; Los Angeles punk band The Linda Lindas gave off an energy that was infectious to kick off the Lands End stage on Saturday, which also included a surprise guest in Gina Schock of The Go-Gos to drum on their cover of “Tonite”, while rising artists THE BLSSM and thuy showed a passion and enthusiasm during their sets that carried into their audiences to dance, sing and scream along.
Fans turned out in droves for Jack Harlow during a set that was tight and engaging as the rapper took time to talk to the crowd many times in between songs. He noted how he had played years earlier on a smaller stage to barely anyone and conveyed a humbleness to the audience who came to see him. It was a similar scenario for SZA who headlined on Friday to an enormous crowd. The R&B singer had recently recovered from a bout with Covid-19, as she spoke about battling it to get well in time for the festival. Phoebe Bridgers delivered a set that was just as intimate and personal, noting how she had grown up coming to Outside Lands and the Bay Area for various shows. Meanwhile, Illenium, Disclosure, and Polo & Pan drew huge crowds who were more than ready and eager to dance the night away. Just as popular as its debut during last year’s Halloween edition, the SOMA dance tent popped off and although the space was significantly larger, there were still long lines of people waiting to get in. The draw included incredible sets by Claude VonStroke, TOKiMONSTA, and ANNA who were tight and made it feel like a whole other world inside the dance area.
Passionate crowds showed up in droves for ROLE MODEL and Wet Leg on the Sutro stage, as both put on performances that will be spoken about many years from now when both perform on much larger stages. Other impressive sets included Amber Mark, whose stage presence was fun and captivating, as well as Sam Fender, who more than lived up to the critical acclaim by bringing an energetic and passionate set highlighted by his biggest song to date, “Seventeen Going Under”. Equally as impressive were Parcels and Mitski, both of whose fanbases have a strong passion for the artists that is infectious to even the casual fan who’s witnessing their sets.
The wealth of artists indigenous to the Bay Area performing at Outside Lands was a punctuated by Green Day’s first ever appearance at the festival with a set of hits that satiated many a fan both passionate and casual. Bay Area native Ashe made a strong debut after experiencing international success with her hit “Moral of the Story”, while on the flipside, emerging artists SPELLLING and Salem Ilese brought enthusiasm that was infectious, showing sense of gratitude and humbleness of performing at their hometown festival. With the accommodating weather, music fans were treated to a weekend of a stereotypical summer experience being able to take in the great music without chilly winds blowing. Outside Lands returned with not just the warmth from Mother Nature but a weekend of memorable performances that will certainly leave an impression of those who attended for a lifetime.