Without a doubt, one of Outside Lands' most distinct characteristics are the elements that make it most of a well-rounded cultural event than solely a music festival. While the music lineup itself gets plenty of (well-deserved) attention, the food and drink lineups make waves on the scene as well. A food-lover's haven, the grounds of Outside Lands are literally lined with food and drink options -- including food trucks, booths run by local favorite restaurants, and designated 'lands' for beer, wine, cheese, chocolate or bacon.
This past weekend at the festival, I found myself looking forward to my next meal almost as much as my next show -- and with so many options, I had to make some tough decisions. Which mostly meant choosing to get other options instead of Rich Table's Porcini Mushroom Donuts for every meal.
From those little balls of fried dough rolled in porcini mushroom dust to fried chicken and waffles, garlic mac and cheese, poke, Malaysian nachos, ramen burgers and more, there was certainly no shortage of incredible food options. The sole reason I didn't take more food pictures is because I was usually too excited to wait the 30 seconds before I started digging into my plate. Thankfully, Instagram was filled with pictures of Outside Lands' cuisine -- consistently making me which I had more physical space in my stomach to try more things.
The beer and wine was likewise high-quality, and offered something for every type of drinker. I was particularly drawn to the Ace Joker cider -- what my best friend deemed "the perfect combination of cider and champagne." I could not agree more.
I'm not exactly and beer and wine connoisseur, but I definitely enjoyed having choices (and that none of those choices were Bud Light).
However, there was one major food-and-drink complaint heard consistently throughout the weekend: the vendors simply did not have enough of whatever they were selling. By the end of each day, while the festival was still very much in progress and people were very much still hungry and/or thirsty, virtually every booth's menu was covered with sold out notices. I'm sure that's a good sign for the companies behind the food and drinks, but definitely not a good sign for festival goers like me who really wanted some 9 pm mac and cheese.
One thing is for certain -- the food and drink selections are one of the things that most clearly (and wonderfully) set Outside Lands apart from festivals like Coachella, Treasure Island, or Lollapalooza. In an increasingly competitive music festival market where fans are often forced to choose only one or two to attend, it seems that Outside Lands has successfully branded itself as offering the full package. And frankly, we all ate it up.
Follow Nile Cappello on Twitter: www.twitter.com/liketheriver_