Fans pack Golden Gate Park for Outside Lands music festival

The return of Outside Lands music festival brought a crowd of 75,000 people back to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park for the festival's first day of music and food, with new health and safety protocols aimed to keep concertgoers safe amidst the pandemic.

"We're back. And it feels great to be back," said Camille Ryan, who says she used to live in San Francisco and traveled up from Los Angeles to attend the festival Friday.

"It's so exciting because I bought the tickets before the pandemic happened so it kept getting pushed back, pushed back, pushed back, so feels to great to finally be here," said Allison Degour of San Diego.

A giant statue of Outside Lands' mascot Ranger Dave, sporting a Halloween tattoo, welcomed people at the entrance.

New protocols require every person to show proof of a COVID vaccination and an ID as verification.

Inside the gates, the festival's nine stages will feature 95 performers over the three-day event, from local acts to The Strokes, Tyler the Creator and Glass Animals on Friday, as well as Lizzo and Tame Impala over the weekend.

"We love live music. It's been two years and I think after getting vaccinated we were ready to go. So excited that Outside Lands was going to do it for Halloween weekend," said Chloe Lucas, who came in costume with her husband Josh from Redding.

"It's been great 'I think it's so much fun. We have costumes for every day cause it's Halloween weekend," said Josh Lucas.

"Thank you very much for having us out here," said one man in a complete Elvis outfit.

"I'm a flaming bag of Hot Cheetos. I got my glasses. I got my red hair," said one woman with a costume resembling the famous snack bag.

Colorful costumes stood out along with colorful statues of mushrooms and flowers under the redwood trees in the park.

A new feature this year was the SOMA tent, a nightclub popup in the middle of Marx Meadow that replaces the comedy lineups.

"It was great. It's very vibe-y. It's reminiscent of night-clubbing. It's really, really cool. I like the good addition," said Bobby Wong of San Francisco, who said he hopes the festival keeps the new venue.

Also back at the festival, is the Grasslands area where booths sell varieties of recreational cannabis.

"I love it. we can smoke, people can use it and everybody's being responsible too," said Jorge Solano, a representative with Autumn Brands, a cannabis vendor from Southern California with a booth.

This year's festival includes 85 restaurants, as well as wineries and breweries to gave people a taste of the Bay Area.

"We expect really large crowds. When the singers come out the whole field gets packed like sea of people. You can't see the green grass," said Dana Oppenheim of Precita Park Cafe.

"It feels great. Live music is wonderful. Seeing people very happy. Seeing San Francisco thrive. That's a wonderful experience," said Wong.

"Every people of every nationality and going out for the common goal of having fun," said Storm McDonald, a Hayward who shared his thoughts as he left the park after the final concert in Friday's lineup, "I'm so excited to see what's going to happen tomorrow night and for Halloween especially."

McDonald said his favorite acts were The Strokes and Tyler the Creator, who lit up the  on stage with some hot pyrotechnics.

San Francisco Muni buses lined up along Fulton Street to transport people in packed buses downtown.

San Francisco police said there were some people who were stopped as they tried to jump some of the fences, but as of 10 p.m., there were no major incidents and no arrests.

Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU. Email Jana at and follow her on Twitter or Facebook.