Another Planet Entertainment has released the much-anticipated lineup for Outside Lands in San Francisco, offering up a unique slate of headliners that includes both Metallica and The Who’s only festival appearances in 2017, along with the resurgent Gorillaz, A Tribe Called Quest and Fleet Foxes. The Who headlines Outside Land after wrapping an AEG-back Las Vegas residency in July and August, while Metallica are working their way around the country in support of their tenth studio album, Hardwired… to Self-Destruct. Outside Lands is also currently the only North American date Gorillaz have scheduled as they prepare to release their new album Humanz, out April 28.
Outside Lands will also feature Queens of the Stone Age – marking their first scheduled North American show of 2017. Tickets for Outside Lands go on sale April 6th at 10 a.m. PT via the festival’s website. The San Francisco festival announced its 2017 lineup in a YouTube video featuring footage from past events and the peppy psych-pop track “Certainty,” from festival performers Temples.
Along with its many music offerings, Outside Lands will once again feature a comedy lineup, though performers have yet to be announced, along with an array of high-end food and drink options from Bay Area hot spots. Amplify recently caught up with veteran promoter and former Bill Graham Presents President Gregg Perloff to discuss ten years of Outside Lands and why San Fransisco’s Golden Gate Park remains one of the world’s top festival destinations.
Congratulations on the lineup. Have you had a pretty good reaction so far?
It’s been amazing. With social media you get all these different comments that are all over the place, but most people, I think, like the fact that we have such an eclectic lineup. It’s very San Francisco. I think they appreciate that there’s something for everyone, no matter your age or where you’re coming from musically.
Let’s start by talking about Metallica, who is absolutely a quintessential San Francisco Bay Area band.
And our favorite. It’s amazing that after 35 years, this is a band that’s at the height of their power and is just enormous all over the world. They can play a stadium anywhere and I think it’s remarkable that over time they have grown in stature. Here’s a band that had an appeal to a certain group of people when they first started out. But as they played live, in whatever setting they played, they won over people everywhere. They’re bigger now than they ever have been.
What about The Who? How did you land one of the most iconic rock bands in history?
We’re going to have The Who close the festival this year. One of the things we’ve tried to do at our festival is have either a heritage act or an iconic band in the festival. Remember, we’re in an urban setting and we’re not a camping festival, so we have to end earlier than other festivals. In a lot of festivals, that’s the slot that people get tired and start leaving, but in our festival, it’s when the fest gets the largest attendance.
2017 marks the 10-year anniversary of the festival. Going into it, what were some of your hopes for celebrating a decade of Outside Lands?
We all feel extremely fortunate that we get to work in Golden Gate Park, which is one of the most beautiful backgrounds for a festival anywhere in the world. I was just at the park visiting the Conservatory of Flowers, where they have this amazing orchid and butterfly display. I thought they did a spectacular job. And there’s so many other great things to see in the park, whether it’s the Academy of Sciences or the De Young Museum. We encourage people who come from all over the world to attend the festival to check out all the other things the park has to offer. It’s really spectacular — the 10 years is a great milestone, but more importantly, the opportunity to work at the park is just fantastic.
How has Outside Land’s footprint at the park changed in the last 10 years?
We’re adding Marx Meadow this year, our fourth meadow, to enlarge our footprint and give the festival a little more breathing space. Comedy has become so popular that we’re going to have a much larger tent this year and we’re moving that area within the festival grounds.
Outside Lands has become one of the biggest festivals in North America and such an important event within the festival circuit. Has the growth of Outside Lands made it difficult to stay independent?
I don’t think so. In fact, it’s part of the reason we’ve become the largest independent promoter in the country. According to Pollstar, we’re the third largest promoter in the United States and that’s been very exciting. There are only four or five festivals, if that, that sell out the first day and we’re one of them. This will be our tenth year — we’ve sold out the last seven years and in the last three years we’ve sold out the first day. In terms of remaining independent, it hasn’t been a problem. In fact, both Live Nation and AEG have been very gracious in delivering bands that might be doing a world tour with them. In a couple instances, we’ve purchased the date directly from AEG and Live Nation. They’ve been very helpful and it’s been a very positive situation.
Are any of these acts on current Live Nation or AEG tours?
The current stadium tour that Metallica is doing is a Live Nation tour, and The Who is doing a tour with AEG, so both of them were very gracious in terms of our festival. If you look really deep into our lineup, you’ll see that we have a much different lineup than a lot of festivals. And while some of the acts are the same, we have a very San Francisco-centric lineup with artists that appeal to the Bay Area. One of the things I’ve always said is that we’re probably the fifth or sixth largest market in the country, but San Francisco will not sell as many tickets as some markets for any individual act, but outside of New York, we’ll sell more tickets for more acts. Does that make sense?
Yes. The Bay Area does a higher volume total than other major markets.
Music fans in the Bay Area are open to experiencing many different artists and types of art. In fact, it’s the sense of discovery and wonderment that really drives Outside Lands and that every year, whether we’ve added Chocoland, which is this wonderful chocolate element to the festival, or microbreweries. We also have had emerging artists that have started as very small acts and that have grown with us. The Black Keys performed three times over the years, which is very unusual because I think they’re the only band to do that.
You already had a large pre-sale with your Eager Beaver program. How did it go?
We had the largest Eager Beaver onsale that we’ve ever had. It’s something we do based on the faith and the trust of the Bay Area community and the rest of the world. It’s grown over the years and the demand is there for people to be able to buy a ticket before the lineup comes down.
There’s so much movement in the festival world towards these super premium VIP packages. How does Outside Lands approach the ultra-premium customer?
I would say I don’t really have a position on that. We do have VIP tickets, which are more about knowing you can get a decent seat and a flushed toilet, but we have not created a super expensive ticket. I’m not sure we wouldn’t look at it in the future, but we just haven’t gone there yet.
Last question — food and wine have always been an important part of Outside Lands. Anything new you’re working on this year?
We’re still working on the food element, but I can tell you that we’ve got some new restaurants this year. I think the one thing that Outside Lands is credited for is being the first gourmet food festival, and to have been copied by so many festivals is very gratifying. We originally had the idea of not having concession food, and having a lot of the really great local restaurants provide one or two of their most popular dishes. We’ll announce those food partners in a couple of weeks. I’ll be able to give you a much better idea of what we’re doing then, but we’re just not quite there yet.
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