Outside Lands 2021: COVID precautions, safety measures in place

The Outside Lands music festival returns Friday at noon with a record, sold-out crowd of nearly 75,000 people expected each day at the event that is staging a comeback after being postponed for more than a year due to the pandemic.

"We're completely sold out, which is the first time ever that we've been sold out of everything," said Gregg Perloff, CEO of Another Planet and one of the event co-founders.

The three-day music festival features six stages and a packed schedule that includes headliners Tame Impala and The Strokes as well as local artists.

"We bought tickets for 2020 and then it got postponed a full year and then it got postponed another few months so we're just happy to finally be here," said Ian Rayha, who traveled from Orlando, Florida.

"My first time in San Francisco so very excited to check it out and be part of the city for some time," said Amogh Matthew who came from Los Angeles with his friend Justin Schmalholz to attend the festival.

"I haven't been to a music festival in a long time so just being around people and listening to good music," said Schmalholz, explaining why he decided to come to Outside Lands.

"I'm just so glad that we can go see live music and I mean, nothing beats the energy of live performances," said Sebastian Rodriguez of Orlando, "I'm just super pumped."

This year, there are new health and safety protocols.

"Everyone who comes here will need to be vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID test," said Rick Farman, co-founder of Outside Lands & Superfly Productions.

Masking is advised but not required for the festival, which will include Grasslands with recreational marijuana products and the food vending area which features Bay Area restaurants.

"We've also got 39 new vendors this year so we're super excited to have more variety," said Tanya Kollar, the Outside Lands Food Curator, "Everything from Cambodian food to Malaysian Food all the way back to pizza and burgers."

"All of our food vendor staff are required to be vaccinated so we're trying to make things absolutely as safe as possible," said Kollar.

"I think for San Francisco and knowing the event people that put this on, I think they're going to take it pretty seriously," said Thomas Frongillo, a San Francisco resident who's attended all thirteen of the past Outside Lands festivals.

Frongillo says he downloaded the CLEAR app that the festival staff is recommending everyone use to pre-load their proof of vaccination.

Traffic congestion which has always been a problem in streets surrounding Golden Gate park, will also be addressed with new street closures and bans on taxi or rideshare drop-offs near the park.

"The roads are blocked off, so even getting here just to go to will call, we were dropped off a street over and had to walk over," said Morgan Pena of Orlando.

Part of Fulton Street north of the park and Lincoln Boulevard to the south will be closed, as well as neighborhood streets from 25th Avenue to 37th Avenue just north of the park, to protect pedestrians and children trick-or-treating.

Police plan to have extra patrols.

"They're going to have officers in full uniform. You're going to have officers in the streets, in patrol cars, on foot, and there are going to be officers working undercover," said Officer Grace Gatpandan, an SF Police Department spokeswoman.

"Throughout the city we also will have DUI saturation patrols to ensure people are driving sober," said Officer Gatpandan.

Any vehicles blocking driveways will be towed. Residents can call 3-1-1.

San Francisco Police also say concertgoers and residents should sign up to get alerts by texting OUTSIDELANDS to 888-777. That way they can get text message alerts on their phones about any emergencies throughout the weekend.

Halloween costumes are permitted but there is a ban on:

  • Backpacks (only see-through kind allowed) 
  • headdresses 
  • toy weapons of any kind (guns, knives, baseball bats, etc.)fake blood 
  • first-responder costumes (police, firefighters, medical staff)

Outside Lands begins at 12 noon Friday October 29 and ends at 10 p.m. Sunday on Halloween night.


OUTSIDE LANDS WEBSITE: https://www.sfoutsidelands.com/

SFMTA INFORMATION: https://www.sfmta.com/project-updates/outside-lands-supplemental-service

BART: https://www.bart.gov/news/articles/2021/news20211015-1

Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Jana at jana.katsuyama@fox.com and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook