We emerge from the crowd in a cloud of dust and make our way through the meandering mass of partied out festival goers, through the exit gates, and out towards the seemingly endless darkness of the park beyond. I say my goodbyes to my weekend entourage and turn to face the impending five mile pilgrimage through the streets of San Francisco.
As I walk, the infectious groove of The Roots The Seed 2.0 fades in and out as a make-shift bicycle sound system passes me by. I smile to myself and take a long look at the bright full moon lighting my way home.
Holy shit what a weekend.
Outside Lands 2014 was my first official 3-day music/drinking/fun festival of my 30-year life. As hard as that is to believe knowing my love for all three of those things, I was always turned off by the prospect of long lines, massive, belligerent crowds, and having to stand in the same spot for 5-plus hours with severe, potentially damaging bladder pains waiting for a studded mask-wearing Kanye West to cut good songs short in lieu of rant-complaining about the treatment of his ‘baby mama.’
Alas, I swallowed my doubts and fully jumped into the music festival experience. And I couldn’t be happier that I did.
Yes, the music was great and the dancing raucous, but the real power of festival-going comes from the people you latch on to along the way. Every freak and weirdo from The Mississippi to The Bay unites in a joint effort to disregard the social norms of everyday life and let their inhibitions get the best of them. I’m not sure I’ve ever been involved in such a collective expression of love and happiness (that’s about as accurately hippy as I can make it sound).
I hope you weren’t expecting this to be a recap. I’d be doing the experience a great disservice by simply recalling the endless slew of memorable events. And to be honest, many of the stories probably should never be told again in respect to the future employability of those involved. With that in mind I’ll be quick about the highlights. Atmosphere killed it. Kanye didn’t. Two grown men going into the same portable toilet for the sake of efficiency became festival lore. And my pedometer had me clocked at more miles than Lionol Messi’s entire World Cup run (unofficially).
I wanted this post to be a tribute to all of those who made the weekend more than just three days of day drinking followed by a zombie walk marathon that left me feeling like I was carrying Frodo up the foothills of Mount Doom. Strangers became friends. Friends became confidants. Confidants became [content deleted]. Only once did I end the day with the same group of people that I started it with, and that’s only because they were the only friends crazy enough to run it back all day Sunday.
Will I go back next year? Hell yes. And while I still don’t know if I’m human or if I’m dancer (seriously, what does that mean, The Killers?), I do know I’ll never forget the epic hangover that the next three days would bring. Whoa.
So this is a massive thanks to Derek, Adam, Kate, Lindsay, Kristie, John Boy, Walter, Liz, Steph, Tom, Wade, Kara, Blaire, Taryn, Ben, Jamie, JP and all the other party people who made this one of the most memorable weekends of my life. See you all next year!