New Outside Lands contract could extend it to 2021, bring in more $ for city

The Examiner reported on Wednesday that the Rec & Park Commission will soon consider a proposal for a contract extension for the Outside Lands Music Festival, which just wrapped up its fifth year in August.

The festival has grown in popularity since its inception, drawing as many as 65,000 attendees per day to Golden Gate Park during the three day event.

The new contract extension would guarantee another eight years of the festival taking place in the park, and allow organizers to increase event capacity by 10,000 people per day.

In exchange, the city stands to earn more revenue from the deal. The new contract calls for a city share of $1.25 per ticket sold or 11 percent of gross ticket sales, whichever is greater. That’s higher than the original contract which stipulated $1 and 10 percent.

Neighbors who live near the festival in the Richmond District may not be too thrilled to hear about the increased capacity in the new contract. Already every year, neighbors complain about high noise levels from the concert stages, public drunkenness and urination, and parking issues during the days that the festival takes place.

Even with the 10,000 increase in attendees each day, promoter Another Planet Entertainment claims that at 75,000 people per day, they’ll still have less than the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival attracts.

In the new contract, Another Planet is also promising additional financial contributions to Rec & Park to offset some of the toll that the festival takes on the park, including $89,000 per year to hire a full-time gardener for the department and another $15,000 per year for material and supplies to repair and upgrade the areas in which the event is held.

Another Planet also says they will gift the city with $750,000 to replace the bleachers at the Polo Fields if the new contract is approved.

“We have always done this event partially as a fundraiser for Rec and Park,” Another Planet CEO Gregg Perloff told the Examiner.

Cough, cough.

For as many complaints as there are from neighbors about Outside Lands, there are apparently even more that want to be a part of it. Perloff also told the Examiner that around 15,000 tickets were sold to attendees in the three zip codes near Golden Gate Park for last summer’s festival.

Given how many financial incentives there are in this new deal, especially for the always-beggin’-for-funds Rec & Park department, it’s pretty unlikely that the city will pass on the new contract. So hold onto your hats Richmond District residents and bust out your earplugs – we’ll be rocking out for 3 days every August for at least the next 8 years.

Sarah B.


  1. Yay for a born and raised Richmond District native and a BIG FAN of rock ‘n roll!!!

  2. Woohoo! Very happy to hear this.

    One of the effects of this is that this event will become internationally known for decades, like Woodstock and Lollapalooza. The best bands for the future will have gotten their start on a national stage here. This is phenomenal. Makes me proud to be a Richmond district resident.

  3. Of COURSE. This was inevitable. Did anyone ever think otherwise?
    “We have always done this event partially as a fundraiser for Rec and Park,” Another Planet CEO Gregg Perloff told the Examiner.
    Right. Assault our ears and insult our intelligence at the same time. And woo-hoo, we’re going to get 1 (one) full-time gardner for our troubles. That makes it all worthwhile. BTW, Kelvin, I’m a HUGE rock & roll fan too. I just don’t happen to think that my taste in music should be shoved at anyone else for three days. AND, as if the crowds weren’t bad enough now, they want to INCREASE the madness by 10,000. Oh yeah, but we’ll get one more gardner for the park. Almost forgot about that carrot.

  4. So, is the area of the park used by OL this year destroyed? Or did the gardeners do a pretty good job of repairing the damage? The time’s I’ve gone in the park after OL it seemed pretty up to snuff to me.

    Maybe they only need one more gardener. Maybe not.

    I actually think the park could hold a whole heck of a lot more people than the 65,000 people who attend; it’s a gigantic park and only part of it is used.

  5. I’ll be a gardener and even take a pay cut and settle for $88,000/yr. Not too shabby.

  6. While I am relatively neutral on OL, as a resident who lives a couple blocks outside the park, the negative overflow impacts of OL are much more palpable than any generated by HSB. I don’t think a raw numbers comparison really flies here, despite APE’s assurances. I think a far better comparison is per 1000 attendee rate of impact on police and emergency services, parking complaints and other neighborhood spillover effects. Let’s keep in mind that OL could not happen without the venue and that 11% (or 1.25/ticket) seems a pretty shabby cut. (What cut do GAMH/Warfield typically receive? What cut does Madison Square Garden collect? – that is a similarly iconic venue),. I am not really sure how such a seemingly low contract rate translates into being “partially a fundraiser for Rec and Park.” I would hope the city and park/rec would negotiate a harder bargain and keep insisting on increased responsiveness/resources dedicated to police/parking, MUNI (including enforcement of drinking bans on the 38 line) and both neighborhood complaints and neighborhood organizations. The highly touted “beach cleanup” that OL sponsored this year as in past years seemed to have attracted a small handful of people from the actual festival as opposed to neighborhood residents. It seemed like more window dressing than substantive engagement.

  7. Since when did Golden Gate Park become a revenue generating venue for Rec and Park instead of an urban oasis in one of the country’s most densely populated cities? Since when did Rec and Park become the arbiter for the quality of life in the Richmond District?

    If you’re not happy about the proposed 8 year contract with Another Planet Entertainment (appropriately called APE), please contact Supervisor Mar, Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg, and Rec and Park Commission President Mark Buell, and tell them you do not want to give APE an 8-year blank check. Ask for no more than a 3-year lease; requiring better sound and traffic management; responsibility for property damage to neighborhood homes; and some kind of compensation in the form of neighborhood improvement. It’s our ‘hood, we should have a say in how it’s used.

    Rec and Park are no longer stewards of our public spaces. They have become real estate managers and developers, who, as Commissioner Buell has said, believe it is their job to extract as much value as possible from our parks and playgrounds. It’s already starting…the Japanese Tea Garden was once free; the Arboretum now charges certain visitors; the Academy of Sciences admission is almost $30; playground clubhouses are being rented to for-profit companies. What’s next? The No on Prop B campaign was an attempt to wake people up the reality that we’re losing a voice in the management of our parks, and that privatization is just around the corner. We lost that battle, but it ain’t over.

    We need to turn this ship around before it’s too late. There’s an 800 lb gorilla in the room, and we’ve gotta do something about it. Please, speak out, even if your voice trembles.

  8. Living along the ratty edge of Fulton Street, I would say Outside Lands ought to fund at least three gardeners — 1 for direct wear and tear of Speedway Meadow, and 2 more for refurbishing other areas of the park that have been long-neglected.

  9. I am not happy about 8 years and the way OL it has been handled so far. I agree with Jeffrey that the impact is much more than OL states. I have no problem with HSBG – I think it is a terrific thing, but OL is much larger, louder, it is much longer, running into late evening and disrupting people lives; it is for profit as opposed to being a gift of the city; and OL claiming that they are a fund raising for parks is just a spin. Besides, why does RP need a fundraising; does anyone know what they balance sheet looks like really? I do not understand how this thing works: for instance noise level with the sound traveling a mile, the OL violates several city ordinances about sound not extending out of entertainment venue more than x ft; the dsb levels, the hours. Has RandP the right to grant someone a permit to violate these laws in exchange for payment or donation ?

    Where I live the noise level is punishing. You do not hear music as music, you just get this noise, and with hollow walls, that most houses have, it reverberates at frequencies that are actually painful. There is no way to escape it inside the house even with windows closed. And that for hours on end for 4 days… Their hotline is an insult; volunteers take calls and tell you the engineers are working on it, and then the sound goes up! I believe one city rep once suggested that maybe it is a good idea to just go out of town for those 4 days… They say Richmond’s many residents buy tickets to OL, so the rest of us should just accept this thing. But if one of the residents had a party with sound traveling for blocks in all direction, police would be called, why does OL get a free pass?

  10. Should go for $2.25 per ticket or more – maybe $5.00. It’s a pass through cost and the attendees
    will happily pay. Our reps need some guts – there is no downside for the city if OL disappears and a nice upside for the park if they can get some real money out of it. Tell Mar & Co to grow a pair and get in there and make us a good deal!

  11. ALY: I agree with you completely. When what you’re hearing isn’t even music, just pile-driving, migraine-inducing bass for 3-1/2 days, that is unexceptable. Many palms are getting greased, many residents are getting screwed.

  12. I actually agree with Jean…

    I was recently at the Academy of Sciences. Talk about gouge central. Parking $$$ Food & Drink $$$ Admission $$$ Cost for two seniors, an adult, and child, $125. And then we’re told that certain features aren’t working that day… Nor has it changed much since opening day… And finally we hear from one of the guides that it’s not doing well. Well… duh (or D’oh).

    And I’m still mad at getting thorwn out of Speedway Meadows for having a bunch of kids playing there. Public space!

  13. It would be great if the Rec & Parks / city leaders also looked at the big picture – AP should have to provide a certain (high) number of shuttles for attendees from Bart / Ferry to the park & back… like the Nike Marathon does – other ways to mitigate the way Muni is slammed……. especially on the Friday when people are actually trying to go to & from work on Muni!

  14. Glad to see I’m not the only one opposed to giving APE an 8 year contract. The next step is to contact Messers, Mar, Ginsburg and Buell. In fact, let all the Supes know you don’t like GGP used for this event. It’s our Park and we have the right to be involved with how it’s used.

  15. Been to the concert the last few years and must say I love the event. Not hard to plan around and for a weekend the Richmond is THE neighborhood to be in the city. I like it for just that one weekend, and then things return back to normal (except for HSBG)

  16. Local media reported that neighborhood complaints went down this year, but I think that was mostly because cell phone service stopped for T-MOBILE users near the park during Saturday’s and Sunday’s shows!!!

  17. Don’t really like the bands they play there, so I’ve never attended. But I’ve never had an issue avoiding the negative impacts. I’ve even given people rides getting out of the event. The city really should bring in extra MUNI buses to accommodate the crowds, but they’re nice people who just want to have a good time.

    What I don’t like is the NIKE women’s marathon they seem to run every couple months or so. Actually I’m told it’s only once a year; it just seems like it’s more often. They block off parking for many blocks around, even in blocks where they have no conceivable reason to run through. And then the city comes and starts towing cars the evening before, racking up massive fines for the unlucky owners.

    Funny how 60,000 can descend on the Richmond, and neither parking nor getting in and out of the neighborhood is ever a problem. But a few people come through and run around for a morning to give NIKE some PR, and the whole neighborhood is disrupted for two days. Maybe other people have a different experience, but I never have those problems with OL.

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