08/11/2011 04:00 pm ET | Updated Oct 11, 2011

Outside Lands 2011: Food, Wine, Art And Everything But The Music

A good music festival pulls in big names. (Like, say, the Black Keys and Arcade Fire, just off the top of the head.) But a great music festival pulls a lot more than that.

Three days and 70-plus bands is a lot of music. Lord knows you're gonna need some booze in there. Fortunately the true Outside Lands explorer will find that some of the coolest parts of the festival aren't on the stage.

First things first: where do you get a drink around here? Step right up to the wine tent, friends. As we all know, Outside Lands doesn't mess around and the wine tent is no exception. They've got 30 wineries and tasting rooms manning the tent, including Ridge Vineyards, Bonny Doon, Kermit Lynch, Medlock-Ames, Scribe and (fittingly) Claypool Cellars. Long story short, you better set a timer on your phone before you miss your favorite band while drinking yourself into oblivion checking out everything the wine country has to offer. Serious wine lovers can have a tour de force with more than 100 local wines and knowledgeable winery representatives to tell you all about them. (Plus, we hear the guy from Scribe is a babe.) The tent is right on the way to Speedway Meadow and the Twin Peaks Stage — just don't get stuck in there 20 minutes before Phish and risk the bottleneck on the way back to the stage. (Pun most definitely intended.)

It's always a good idea to chase too much Pinot Noir with something formidable. Like a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich. OSL has got 54 restaurants holding down the green this year, including an impressive lineup of food trucks, as The Huffington Post reported earlier this year. Hungry festivalgoers can find everything from seasonal fresh melon slices to portobello mushroom sliders to carnitas tacos to falafel and shawarma snowcones (not joking). Genres range from greasy (Gordo) to gourmet (Flour + Water), with everything in between. Such variety is hard to navigate, but OSL has the situation covered: Many of the food stands are segregated by genres like Chocolands and The Mission. But you'll find us at the Food Truck Forest getting our hands on as many fried green tomatoes as possible.

With a full belly and a good buzz, you'll surely be in need of entertainment. And while the music is great, after three damn days you might find yourself craving something a bit more…exciting. Two words: Barbary Tent. Yes, that Barbary. As in the Barbary Coast. Located conveniently on the way to the Land's End stage, The Barbary tent features all the things San Francisco does best: burlesque, cirque and deliciously freaky stuff. They even time performances beautifully so you can catch a BB gun contortionist show on the way to Arctic Monkeys. And on Sunday at 7 p.m., you can grab a seat and a trash bag for the one and only watermelon-smasher, Gallagher.

Finally, there is the art, and all of it has been curated by Juxtapose magazine. Selected artists have decked out the surrounding wooded festival space with installations so you can wander into the forest and right down the rabbit hole. And every day, Outside Landers can catch live painting in the middle of the Polo Fields.

Alright kids, get out there, be safe and have a blast. And as always, play nice in the sandbox.