Having released the news late last week that mostly retired veteran Paul Simon would be the 2019 festival’s headlining legacy performer, Outside Lands released its full lineup this morning, with Childish Gambino and Twenty One Pilots.
Overall, it’s hard to be overly enthusiastic about the full roster, which, let us emphasize, is not yet final. Of the top dozen or so names, only Kacey Musgraves is a woman (or an otherwise female-fronted group). With all due respect to that wonderful crossover country star who wants everyone to draw Texas, that’s a disappointing setback for a festival that included Janet Jackson and Janelle Monáe last year and an extraordinary set by Solange the year before. What happened to the big push for gender parity?
Having basically swept the Grammys with “This Is America,” Childish Gambino — aka Donald Glover, aka Lando Calrissian, aka the creative force behind the best show on TV — is a genuine get, but less so those quasi-uncategorizable reggae-tronica Ohioans, Twenty One Pilots. In fairness, they are Grammy winners, too, but they’re also basically Macklemore with more keytar.
Further down the list are some more middling names, like Blink-182, last in the public eye for being one of the first acts to ditch the Fyre Festival, and Berkeley natives Counting Crows, who haven’t even put out a new album in five years. Perhaps the biggest macro-trend takeaway might be this: Festival culture was built in large part on indie rock, and indie rock is increasingly exhausted, so the ship is listing a bit. That’s a lot of pressure to put on The Lumineers, maybe.
But Ranger Dave scouted some genuine diamonds this year, a number of them people of color. Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Santigold, Leon Bridges, Toro y Moi, and NoMBe are all scheduled to perform — as is Lil Wayne! — plus there are some fun names who will undoubtedly spur many attendees to get there earlier in the afternoon, like Bob Moses, Yaeji, or S.F.’s own Luttrell. Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians are playing, and she’s Paul Simon’s wife, so that’s kind of sweet.
Further, a couple notable names are returning, including Boyfriend (the “rap-cabaret” performance artist from New Orleans whose curlers and general demeanor were such a delight in 2017) and the magnificent soul singer Mavis Staples, who was apparently a showstopper at SXSW this month and who, in a post-Aretha world, can legitimately be described as peerless. By the time she takes the stage in August — where she last appeared in 2011 — she will be 80 years old.
Except for the new $1,595 mega-VIP tier known as the Golden Gate Pass, early-bird tickets are already sold out. Regular GA ($385) and VIP ($815) tickets go on sale this Thursday, March 28, at 10 a.m. Before grumbling about the lineup and the price, remember that Outside Lands has the distinction of being much more than just a music festival, and this year, festival-goers might be able to consume cannabis on site. Also, it was nice and warm most of the weekend last year, so fingers crossed it happens again!
Here is the full list of 2019 acts:
Twenty One Pilots
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
Flying Lotus 3D
Better Oblivion Community Center
Toro y Moi
Judah & the Lion
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
Nahko And Medicine For The People
The California Honeydrops
The Funk Hunters
Jupiter & Okwess
Outside Lands, Aug. 9-11, in Golden Gate Park, G.A. and VIP tickets on sale Thursday, March 28, 10 a.m., sfoutsidelands.com