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Outside Lands single-day passes on sale today

Hundreds gather at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco last year to hear Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Outside Lands, one of the great music festivals in the western United States. Tommy Stone/Enterprise correspondent

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July 13, 2011 | Leave Comment

At last, San Francisco’s three-day alternative music festival, Outside Lands, is selling single-day passes, making one of the West Coast’s great music events more affordable.

Especially in these financially-stressed times, it can be difficult for anyone to request three days off from work. And as a college sophomore, I need to be at school by the last day of the festival. Without single-day passes, I would have been forced to miss the entire festival for the first time since it began in 2008.

General admission single-day passes cost $85 whereas VIP go for $185. This year’s festival takes place from August 12-14 and will feature some exciting headliners: Phish, the Shins, MGMT, Muse, the Black Keys, Arcade Fire, the Decemberists and many more.

Outside Lands is one of the West Coast’s greatest festivals, in one of its most beautiful venues. But with college students representing a significant portion of the festival’s attendees, Outside Land’s refusal to sell single-day passes could have been devastating to its success.

Without festival-sponsored campsites available in Golden Gate Park, committing three days to a music festival in San Francisco was not a feasible option for some.

In past years, single-day passes were put up for sale shortly after the three-day passes. This year, however, three-day passes have been available for weeks, leading music fans to wonder if festival organizers were going to offer them.

Before single-day passes were announced, the festival’s Facebook page was full of dissenting comments, expressing frustration that questions about the passes had still not been addressed.

On top of great music, the festival offers a lush forest scenery, accented with Eucalyptus trees and long stretches of grass, as well as a variety of delicious local foods.

Last May, I spent $285 plus the gas money it took to attend the Northwest’s esteemed four-day alternative music festival at the Gorge Amphitheater: Sasquatch.

Watching bands such as the Flaming Lips and Death Cab for Cutie perform in front of the gorge of the Columbia River was spectacular, although the overpriced, poor-quality food and inadequate camping facilities were enough to make one nauseous.

Although the lineup was impressive, to say the least, I returned to California knowing that Outside Lands was still one of the West Coast’s best alternative music festivals for its worth and its close proximity.

A commonly cited criticism of the festival, however, is the difficulty of reaching it.

Parking inside Golden Gate Park is very limited so Outside Lands’ website urges festival-goers to use public transit (like San Francisco’s Muni) or other modes of transportation.

If Outside Lands still sounds like something of interest but a three-day pass isn’t feasible, be sure to avoid any late-summer slumbers and wake up early to buy single-day passes Wednesday morning.

Check out the festival website for more info.

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