Insert Foot: Seven months to Outside Lands 2021; choose your danger well

Outside Lands, Outside Lands 2021, ol2021, Outside Lands Music Festival

Insert Foot wants to go to Outside Lands.

We’re on the clock, Bay Area. So get your shot together.

Seven months.

That’s how long we have until Outside Lands 2021, featuring Tame Impala, Lizzo, The Strokes, Tyler The Creator, Vampire Weekend, and more … on Halloween Weekend, Oct. 29-31.

Perhaps it’s not the most incredible Outside Lands lineup ever, but the entertainment may be the sideline attraction this year. Watching a kid play with a rubber band on the sidewalk qualifies as quality entertainment right now.

Staging Outside Lands 2021 on Halloween Weekend is a brilliant marketing move. Pushing back San Francisco’s annual musical summer sendoff a couple months from the usual August dates helps quell superspreader fears and lays fertile ground for an explosive kiss-off to the lousiest pandemic we can remember since … ever. Unless you’re really old.

Halloween is still our most batshit party holiday, especially in San Francisco. It’s America’s favorite crazy uncle Anton when it comes to parties.

Either it’s going to be the best thing that’s happened to San Francisco since they leveled the Embarcadero Freeway, or the worst thing since they closed The Mab. Organizers are already saying all the right things about safety and security, but ultimately it’s up to those attending do the right thing in–and until–October.

Thousands of music fans will be squished together in Golden Gate Park, one of the world’s most famous locations for mixing bad drugs and music, getting their ya-yas out after not leaving the house in more than a year, with a deadly contagion likely still lurking out there in the fog.

What could possibly go wrong?

A lot. Never underestimate the power of human stupidity. But this is the Bay Area, where we’re born with a built-in sense of superiority that allows us to take dogs to the mall without thinking twice. We should be ready.

Outside Lands 2021 will give us an opportunity to show the rest of the country how to do things the right way. There’s work to do, but the payoff can be enormous moving forward.

Can we be smart for seven months, as the weather gets better, more places open, and we’re faced with the temptation to let loose and possibly catch a contagious disease for standing next to the wrong person? Venues are starting to make plans as regional tiers are now changing colors. It sounds tedious, to be sure. But wear those masks and get those shots. I just did and it was very exciting! You get on social media and tell people you’re now impervious to the plague and a better person than them, for which you get public kudos from people you don’t remember from high school.

Planning to go to a big music festival does sound dangerous, at first. Doubtless, it will be. But, depending on how things go the next half-year or so, it can be the good type of danger.

There is too a “good” type of danger. I’m talking about the voluntary “I’m going to drink this, climb up on this stage, dive off, and hope everything works out” kind of danger, not the “But I feel fine, so I can’t be sick because the Internet says so” kind of danger.

We need more voluntary danger.

Call it fun danger or call it adventure. It comes from a healthy place, from which we crave life. It’s kind of tough to remember being there, but a few more healthy and smart months and we’ll be ready. Because no one wants to go to a giant music festival and be responsible for other people dying.

Follow music critic Tony Hicks at

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