Outside Lands hits high note as revenue rises, gripes slip 

click to enlarge Metallica performs Aug. 11 during the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. - SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • SF Examiner file photo
  • Metallica performs Aug. 11 during the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival.

The grass may have been slightly brown after the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in Golden Gate Park, but this year The City’s parks department will be seeing more green from the event.

The Recreation and Park Commission received an update on Thursday about the festival — which hosted had attendance of more than 195,000 people over three days from Aug. 10-12 and featured music from Beck, the Foo Fighters, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Jack White, Metallica and Stevie Wonder, among many others. An initial report included details about the state of the park after the event and the amount of money the Recreation and Park Department received from its lease to promoter Another Planet Entertainment.

This year, Rec and Park received $1.72 million from Another Planet, which topped last year’s take by more than $270,000, Nick Kinsey, director of property management, told the commission. That total comes from a base lease of $1 million and then a formula of $1 for every ticket sold and 10 percent of gross ticket sales, Another Planet spokesman Allen Scott said.

There were an additional 5,000 tickets sold for each day of the sold-out event, Scott said, which resulted in extra money for Rec and Park. Over the past five years, Rec and Park has received more than $6 million from Outside Lands, he said.

The report to the commission also highlighted the condition of the park after the event. A commentator to the commission noted brown grass in areas where the festival was held, including Hellman Hollow and the Polo Field.

However, watering prior to Outside Lands was purposely scaled back to reduce damage. Irrigation in the festival area is turned off 10 days ahead of the event, according to Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg. Stopping watering allows the ground to harden, which helps protect the root systems of plants, Ginsburg said.

“It is going to take some time for the yellow grass to regrow, but there is no significant damage to the park,” Kinsey told the commission.

Overall complaints about Outside Lands also were down, according to parks officials, event organizers and community activists. The number of calls to a complaint hotline were down more than 50 percent from last year, Scott said, which also included fewer than half the number of complaints about noise.

Ray Holland, president of the Planning Association for the Richmond, said that although residents were still collecting full feedback, the general impression was that “traffic and parking congestion seemed to be better managed.” Event organizers paid for parking control officers to be assigned to nearby neighborhoods to address complaints from past years.

Holland credited Another Planet for its advanced outreach to the community, which included letters to neighbors that described mitigation efforts.


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