This weekend, music lovers from around the world will descend on San Francisco for Outside Lands, overtaking Golden Gate Park for three days of concerts from showstoppers of the likes of Arcade Fire, Phish, the Black Keys and Girl Talk.
I have to admit – I’m more than a little jealous of the 70,000 expected attendees, but not just because they’ll get to rock out to all those amazing bands.
It’s also because of the food.
A veteran festivalgoer myself, I can say with almost absolute certainty that no one – not a soul – goes to music festivals for the food. We go for the music and we eat the food, but we eat it mainly because it is located within the same temporary fencing as we are, and because we are hungry, and because sneaking in outside food is strictly forbidden.
But Outside Lands’ organizers have planned an event that will give this year’s concertgoers more than just musical nirvana and an excuse to dance badly in public. In addition to the 100+ concerts at six stages, attendees will experience a food culture of culinary innovation, sustainability and local sourcing that is quintessentially SF.
Within the festival grounds, there will be a farmer’s market selling local, seasonal fruits and veggies. San Francisco favorites like Philz Coffee, Kara’s Cupcakes and Farmerbrown will be among the restaurants setting up temporary shop. Composting will be ubiquitous. Last year, the festival composted more than 30 tons of waste, diverting 76 percent of festival trash away from landfills. This year, their goal is to compost even more.
In short, what Outside Lands has done is taken the San Francisco restaurant scene, made it a tad less healthy and extra earth-friendly, and packed it into one enclosed space for tens of thousands of locals and visitors to experience. And enjoy. And want more of.
All of this is great PR for San Francisco and its culinary scene. Outside Lands will showcase not only just how great the food here is, but also how much our local chefs, restaurateurs and event planners care about cultivating a food culture that is both delicious and socially conscious.
I have no idea if Charles Chocolates’ organic s’mores are tastier than the Hershey’s/Jet-Puffed/Honey Maid s’mores of my youth. I’m not quite sure what I’d get were I to order one of Straw SF’s falafel snowcones or Namu’s Korean tacos. But the San Francisco foodie in me is getting hungry just thinking about the food at Outside Lands, and my inner environmentalist loves that the plates and utensils I’d be eating with will never see a landfill.
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Tags: bay area, San Francisco, sustainable