'It's a Community Affair': Outside Lands Producer On Taking the San Francisco-Based Festival Virtual

Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival neon sign at Golden Gate Park.

If it wasn't for a pandemic, San Francisco's annual Outside Lands festival would have taken over Golden Gate Park for three days of live music roughly two weeks ago. Unfortunately, the 2020 festival never even had the chance to announce its lineup before having to cancel in-person events due to the spread of coronavirus.

Head of concerts and festivals at Another Planet Entertainment and co-producer of Outside Lands Allen Scott said it was genuinely sad weekend for his team as well as fellow event producers at Superfly and Starr Hill Presents, but it remained important for Outside Lands to connect with fans this year. Organizers announced earlier this month that they would pivot their event to a two-day virtual festival called Inside Lands that would feature archival footage from more than a decade of Outside Lands performances, new live sets from past and upcoming OL artists, and live discussions with musicians, chefs and cannabis companies.

"It was kind of surreal not being at Golden Gate Park that weekend, where we have been for the past 12 years," says Scott. Inside Lands "was a way for us to celebrate the first 12 years of the festival, as well as connect with the community and give a nod towards next year and what is to come."

This Friday and Saturday, fans can catch archival sets from Elton John, GorillazLCD SoundsystemJ. ColeJack WhiteAnderson .Paak & The Free NationalsAbove & BeyondHaimMajor LazerLeon BridgesLouis the Childalt-J and Cage The ElephantKehlaniZHUBeach HouseBrittany HowardSofi Tukker and Sharon Van Etten will also perform at Inside Lands and are set to perform next year at Outside Lands 2021.

Scott adds that all the artists on the bill have either played Outside Lands or are scheduled to play Outside Lands. Most artists involved, according to Scott, have also worked with Another Planet as they went from playing small clubs to big stages promoted by the independent company.

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Booking the virtual festival "has been a blast," Scott tells Billboard. "It has been a challenge for everyone in our office not being super busy in terms of shows. This was a way for everyone to get together, all hands on deck. A lot of us and the folks at Superfly had never produced an event like this, so it was a crash course the last couple of months."

The free festival will be available this weekend via Twitch, which partnered with Outside Lands to underwrite the virtual event. The Bay Area’s own Lyrics Born will host the event that will also include specialty programming and culinary highlights such as Katey Red's Beignets and Bounce Showdown live from New Orleans, interviews with artists, a live AMA (Ask Me Anything) with festival producers, Cocktail Magic with mixologists and magicians, Lyrics Born Presents Mobile Homies with special guests, fan testimonials, features with festival curators, and live GastroMagic segments with chefs Chris Cosentino and Naomi Pomeroy.

"Unfortunately, this is not a money making venture," says Scott. "It's a good opportunity to remind people who've been to the festival what we're all missing this year, but also hopefully it turns some people on who've never been to the festival. They'll get a glimpse into it because we're going to be talking about the different attributes of the festival such as different interstitials between the artists, about [cannabis space] Grasslands, about Taste of the Bay Area, Winelands, Beerlands and our different properties."

All breweries, wineries and eateries at the festival are local and will be showcased over the weekend via the virtual event. Inside Lands will be offering special discounts on takeout and delivery for the promoted establishments for local fans tuning in. Select restaurants will also be serving Inside Lands specific dishes for the occasion.

"It's definitely a community affair," says Scott. The vendors "are really important to us. Even on the weekend Outside Lands should have occurred, we were promoting these things as well."

Fans can also check out limited edition Inside Lands merch that includes shirts and socks, as well as quarantine-tailored items including masks, puzzles and sweatpants.

Check out the full lineup below for the event kicking off at 4pm PT tomorrow.