The second weekend of every August, we can count on Outside Lands to transform Golden Gate Park to into a bustling hub of good music, eccentric outfits, and hoards of people. Between the food, drink, music and setting, we'd argue that Outside Lands is one of the best music festivals around -- and not just because it's in our own backyard.
The excitement began months ago, when we learned the notoriously stellar lineup would include everyone from Elton John to Kendrick Lamar in 2015. And without a doubt, this year's festival didn't disappoint.
In an attempt to avoid the post-OSL slump (remind us when 2016 tickets go on sale...?), we're taking a look back at the most memorable performances, foods, outfits and more. Forget high school yearbook superlatives of "best dressed" or "most likely to succeed" -- these are the 2015 Outside Lands superlatives:
Most WTF moment: All of Lindsey Stirling's performance
When you go to a show by an artist whose genre is best described as "violin dubstep," you can only expect it's going to be a bit of a WTF experience. Let's just say Stirling lived up to her quirky, one-of-a-kind music style and reputation: from her outfit (a cross between Xenon and the Ice Capades) to her dance moves (somewhere on the Irish dancing spectrum), it was a performance to remember. It was awesome (girl is insanely talented), but also completely odd.
Worst stage: Sutro
In past years, the Sutro stage has been reserved for smaller artists -- likely because the stage's size and acoustics make it virtually incapable of handling large crowds. Unfortunately, they put some big hitters on this stage this year (Milky Chance, Glass Animals, Chet Faker, etc.) -- drawing huge crowds to a stage ill equipped to handle them. Its poor acoustics, overcrowded space, and near-entrance location made this stage a total bummer.
Best totem: My friend Sam as an elementary schooler
Yup, full disclosure: this was my group of friend's totem. But, if we weren't already convinced of how awesome it was, we quickly were told by literally 100 festival goers who didn't even know us. We had people ask if it was Minkus from Boy Meets World, the kid from Stuart Little, or even Elton John as a child. Nope, just my friend Sam who had what I can only assume was a rough childhood...and is a very, very good sport.
Most likely to result in sexual activity: D'Angelo and the Vanguard
Yes, R&B could easily be renamed simply "baby-making music." And when it comes to R&B, D'Angelo and the Vanguard offer some of the best tunes out there. Seriously, did anyone that attended that show NOT get laid Friday night?
Best stage vibes: Twin Peaks
This stage, the second largest, was home to this year's all-around best vibes. With ample space, it offered a variety of experiences: a pseudo-dance floor, hills for stretching out on blankets, and even a concrete structure for brave souls to climb up onto. Though it was a bit of a trek, the Twin Peaks stage was totally a winner this year.
Most awesome high school dance of all time: DJ Mustard's show
DJ Mustard came out of NOWHERE and totally blew us all away with his set's resemblance to like, the most insanely great high school dance ever. He literally played every hip hop song we've ever gotten our groove on to, and the audience was ridiculously hyped up. Also, did you know that DJ Mustard's real name is Dijon?
Best cover: Sam Smith "Tears Dry On Our Own"/ "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"/ "etc."
Considering Sam Smith has a limited library of original songs, it's no surprise that he took some time to perform covers during his set. He did a mash-up of "Tears Dry On Our Own" (giving a shoutout to Amy herself), Ain't No Mountain High Enough, and some other songs that I eventually lost track of. It was great.
Most fantastic performance: Elton John
Sir Elton John is undeniably one of music's biggest legends, and pretty much every Outside Lands attendee was looking forward to seeing him live and up close. Though it can sometimes be a weird (and occasionally disappointing) experience to see big hitters "past their prime," there's no arguing the fact that Elton has still got it. Dressed in a sparkly blue outfit with "FANTASTIC" written across the back, he was just that: completely memorable and forever fantastic. After all, only a guy that boss could stand up for applause and a bow after every. single. song.
Artist that best played to the crowd: RL Grime
Electronic/trap artist RL Grime may be from Los Angeles, but he definitely knew how to play to the San Francisco crowd. Throwing in remixes of classic Bay Area rap, he not only hyped up the crowd -- he got everyone excited to be in a city legendary in the music industry.
Most difficult decision: The Black Keys vs. Kendrick Lamar
Though it might not be immediately obvious that this rock band and rapper would draw similar crowds, it was a performance conflict that troubled most festivalgoers. Thankfully, it was a bit of a win-win situation -- Kendrick Lamar completely killed his performance, but so did The Black Keys. Both are immensely talented, and I didn't hear complaints from either audience.
Best sing-along performance: Mumford & Sons
There's really no feeling quite like that of singing at the top of your lungs in a crowd of thousands of people. When popular songs like "The Cave" and "Little Lion Man" hit, it felt like every single person in the crowd knew the lyrics -- and was ready and willing to sing along. All the chills, all night long.
Also, shoutout to Mumford & Sons for the intimate and experimental acoustic performance halfway through. Haven't fully processed what "it" was, but I'm pretty sure it was awesome.
Most hostile crowd: Elton John
We all knew Elton John would draw hoards of people -- but we could not have anticipated how hostile they would be. The pre-show crowd of flying elbows and angry road blockers made it virtually impossible to move an inch from your position, and anyone attempting to do so was almost guaranteed fighting words from those around them.