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Outside Lands 2012: Are You Ready? (Plus: The Essential Playlist)

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These guys are ready for Outside Lands.
These guys are ready for Outside Lands.

It's T-minus one week to the last Outside Lands ever (assuming the Mayans were right).

And if you're one of the over 60,000 people who scored tickets to the annual three-day music, food and arts festival or are one of the indeterminate number of people lucky/unlucky enough to live close enough to Golden Gate Park that your entire apartment shakes with every drum fill, you're probably pretty pumped/leaving town for the weekend.


This year, the unofficial theme of the festival is mixing the old and the new.

What's old?

Well, the headliners, for a start. The top artists for each day of the festival--Neil Young, Metallica and Stevie Wonder--all began making music before most of the people in the audience were born.

For Skrillex fans, it's before their parents were born.

Going three for three on what could arguably be described as "legacy" acts wasn't exactly intentional, explained Rick Farman of festival organizer Superfly Presents. Instead, it was largely a result of what large-scale acts were both interested and available.

Even so, much of the rest of the schedule was based around those top-line acts, along with comparative whipper-snappers like Jack White, the Foo Fighters, Beck and Skrillex.

"To a certain degree we'll look at what the top acts are and then build the rest of the line-up to complement them," said Farman. "But if there's something awesome lower down the bill, we won't hold back in booking them because they don't quite fit with the headliners."

In the spectrum between Stevie Wonder and Skrillex, there's not a lot that doesn't in some way fit.

Another thing that's old is how you're going to feel if you try to drive.

As usual, there's zero parking available on site, so walking, biking or taking Muni is likely your best bet. Muni usually beefs up its service around Golden Gate Park during Outside Lands weekend, but there are still typically long lines for the buses leaving the show, especially right after the final act of the night finishes its set.

The San Francisco Bike Coalition offers free bike valet for those of the pedal power persuasion and Esurance is sponsoring a free shuttle between the park and the Civic Center.

What's new?

In Outside Lands' continuing quest to become the Bay Area's biggest epicurean festival in addition to its biggest music festival, organizers added an entire section solely dedicated to showcasing San Francisco's burgeoning micro-brew scene. Beer Lands offers beers on tap from over a dozen local breweries, including 21st Amendment, Anchor, Sierra Nevada, Magnolia and Speakeasy.

It also completes Outside Lands' troika of Choco Lands (every kind of dessert imaginable) and Wine Lands (self-explanatory).

Another new addition is devoting the Barbary Tent, which previously played host primarily to small acoustic performances and vaudeville acts, entirely to comedy.

Working with SF Sketchfest and Adult Swim, there's going to be a near-constant supply of top-shelf comedy competing with music. Attendees will be faced with tough choices like: Foo Fighters or David Cross? Big Boi or Neil Patrick Harris?

If you don't already have a ticket and are interested in going, you should probably get one stat--Saturday and Sunday single-day general admission tickets are already sold-out, and organizers are expecting everything to disappear within the next few days.

Your other option, hopping the fence, isn't something we'd recommend.

Check out our official playlist featuring songs by every band playing the festival:

Also on The Huffington Post

Outside Lands 2012 Lineup
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