Outside Lands 2022 is in the books and what a weekend it was! The weather was perfect for the 14th edition of the Bay Area staple that took place at Golden Gate Park over the first weekend of August. Headliners included hometown heroes Green Day, R&B songstress SZA, and rap favorite Post Malone. But there was a lot to take in over the course of the three days and we are here to share our favorites in this Best and Worst recap of Outside Lands 2022!
BEST: Green Day rocks a hometown set
Somehow, this was the first time that Green Day played Outside Lands despite being one of the most famous bands to come from the Bay Area. The long wait was worth it, as people old and young shouted along to their infinite amount of hits during their marathon set to close out Saturday night on the Lands End stage. They didn’t waste any time, as their early run included “American Idiot”, “Holiday”, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, “Longview”, and “Welcome to Paradise” for those who had decided to split sets between Green Day and Kali Uchis. It was wild to see a band whose record Dookie I had on CASSETTE and to see a bunch of teens and young twentysomethings singing along to these songs like they were brand new. Green Day also payed homage to a fellow Bay Area band Operation Ivy with a cove of “Knowledge” and made a young kid’s day by bringing him up to play guitar on it. A night he and everyone else around him will remember forever.
BEST: Soma Tent logistics vastly improved from 2021
After lots of complaints that it was impossible to get into the Soma Tent last year where a lot of the dance music was situated, Outside Lands 2022 seemed to make big improvements logistically to make it a better experience for everybody. I only popped in during the weekend once on Sunday for Dixon, but I talked to many others who said they never had trouble getting in after lines last year were impossibly infuriating. It doubled in size and the stage is in the back of the tent rather than the center like it was before, which made it so there was more space overall. Where everything else at Outside Lands 2022 was outdoors, it was nice to immerse yourself in loud music with the sensory overload that you can’t really get at big outdoor stages. There was also some nice AC blowing at the back of the tent if you needed to escape the bright sunshine at peak temperatures.
WORST: Sound issues continue to hinder festival
I lost count of the amount of times I heard an artist complain about not being able to hear themselves or when the sound got glitchy. Early on in Kali Uchis’ set Saturday she talked about not being able to hear herself and the sound itself was not great for the first 20 minutes or so. This seems to be a recurring problem at the Sutro Stage over the years and I am curious why it never seems to get fixed — though admittedly it was at least louder this year than in years past. Headliners Green Day and SZA also had sound issues during their main stage sets at Lands End. I know these things happen, especially with shorter times between sets to get things right, but it seems to be a problem at Outside Lands more than other festivals I’ve gone to.
BEST: Ladies rule the world
Outside Lands 2022 had a diverse lineup and one that featured many women at the top of the bill in particular. It was only 2018 when Janet Jackson became the first female headliner in the festival’s history, and they’ve build off that ever since with SZA following it up with an amazing performance Friday night to close out the night. Phoebe Bridgers also headlined Friday night at the same time, and Kali Uchis closed out Saturday opposite of Green Day to make for three female headliners. But it wasn’t only at the top of the bill you found some kick ass women. Other favorites of mine included rising pop star Kim Petras — who might be the most visible trans musician on the planet — The Marias, Hiatus Kaiyote, Wet Leg, Amber Mark, Pussy Riot, Empress Of, among others.
BEST: No last-minute day-of cancellations
It feels as though the last couple of years, Outside Lands had bad luck with artists pulling out the day of or weekend of the festival. From A Tribe Called Quest to Young Thug and many in between, you almost prepare yourself to be letdown by an artist you are looking forward to seeing. This year, Outside Lands 2022 went off without a hitch, as the only cancellation I can think of was Anitta pulling out more than a week out from the festival. It’s nice when things come together the way they should.
WORST: Bathrooms and handwashing stations issues
The biggest issue year-after-year with Outside Lands 2022 is that it is always a pain in the ass to use the bathroom. The way Golden Gate Park is laid out, it’s hard to place enough port-a-potties in one spot to make it so you aren’t waiting at least 10 minutes to use the bathroom, and they were pretty gross most of the weekend. Also the handwashing stations were out of water and paper towels 80 percent of the time. I must say however that it makes me beam with pride for the Bay Area that there isn’t a ton of trash on the grounds. The festival seems to attract goodhearted people who don’t want to trash such a beautiful place. After watching the two Woodstock 99 documentaries that married corporate greed with asshole attendees, I realized I take this for granted.
Five Favorite Outside Lands 2022 Sets
- Green Day — Though I didn’t see the entire Green Day set, they played so many of their hits at the front end I felt like I got my full money’s worth. As I mentioned earlier, I had Dookie on cassette and hearing “Welcome to Paradise” as well as their hits from American Idiot having never seen them live was a blessing. These guys really took pride in this hometown show and really brought the heat. I need to see a full Green Day show one of these days.
- Franc Moody — I absolutely love this London dance-funk band. It was hot as balls when they took the stage with the sun beaming right down on me, but it didn’t keep me or anyone else around me from dancing their asses off. I even caught one of the security guys sharing a joint with an attendee — those funky bass lines will make you wanna get high too!
- The Backseat Lovers — I had never seen these guys live before, and they absolutely blew me away. I was surrounded by superfans who knew every word, and these guys were truly humbled by how big of a crowd they pulled on Sunday as the sun started to go down a little bit. They have a ton of passion and their voices will melt your heart.
- SZA — Despite some sound issues, SZA brought the house down to close out Friday night. She’s one of the best female vocalists and songwriters of our time and she had the crowd eating out of the palm of her hand. You can’t help but feel all of the feels.
- Empress Of — I hadn’t seen her perform a full live set before and she didn’t let me down. She never took a breath between songs as each one ran into the next and she danced her ass off while belting out slapper after slapper.
Overall, Outside Lands 2022 was an incredible weekend as it always is. I got to enjoy some of the best eats of the city both before entering the gates and during the festival and I can’t wait to return in 2023!
Words by Mark Ortega
Photos by Chad Cochran