Remembering Day One of Outside Lands 2023: Kendrick Lamar’s Set Shines Through Dense Fog

San Francisco’s foremost festival kicked off with a bang (and a safety concern), featuring mesmeric sets from Kendrick Lamar, Janelle Monáe, and others.

With festival season now in full swing, San Francisco’s biggest music extravaganza — which also happens to be the largest indecently-organized music festival in the nation — transformed the Golden Gate Park Polo Field into a wonderland of food, cannabis, and performance stages.

Notably different from last year’s OSL is the crowd’s median age. 2022 saw humans teeter at the uncomfortable age between young adulthood and needing to get off their parent’s health insurance. This year, however, the crowds matured to an age that necessitated navigating through PPOs and HMOs. 

And a large reason for that is 2023’s ostensibly older crowds — mind you, a cohort made of mostly thirtysomethings — was Friday’s lineup for Outside Lands 2023. 

The day began with notable highlights like Tik Tok prodigy Matt Hansen at the Twin Peaks stage. The 22-year-old Los Angeles-based artist captivated a crowd of mostly early twenty-somethings with his soulful, full-bodied renditions of popular hits, including his new song “LET EM GO.”

The day continued with a dazzling display of BIPOC representation and excellence. Atlanta’s own J.I.D. waxed through his monumental, incredibly personal EP The Forever Story, as well as hits, from his other projects, like his critically acclaimed album DiCaprio 2; WILLOW — the ever-talented child of Will and Jada Pinket Smith — exploded onto Lands End stage with a medley of hits, many of which were featured on her newest LP, EVERYTHING.

As the fog began to thicken, casting a familiar haze over Golden Gate Park, Kendrick Lamar took the main stage for a bombastic set — one where iPhone flashlights glowed through the thick haze. And as the Pulitzer Prize-winning artist made his way through songs on “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers,” the vibes in the crowd were, indeed, glowing.

The Best Thing You Can (Still) Eat From OSL Day One: Shuggies Pies

If you decide to stand in line for food at OSL, it’s not only a commitment — but a testament to how good that certain vendor is at preparing what they’re serving. Shuggie’s Trash Pie + Natural Wine in the Mission District was onsite slinging pies, which had the same quality as those slung at its 3349 23rd Street eatery. 

The Cheddah Feta pizza, as the youths say, slapped and was worth every penny/tens of minutes spent in line.

Feature image: Courtesy of Alive Coverage.

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