Outside Lands throws the grass in Golden Gate Park

If you wore white sneakers to San Francisco’s Outside Lands last month, they may have turned brown from the muddy festival site.

The three-day musical extravaganza at Golden Gate Park was moved from August to October this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant it fell on the Halloween weekend less than a week after an atmospheric river permeated the northern California with record rainfall.

By the end of the first day, many of the most traveled areas on the festival site had turned to mud. Sand and bark chips were laid over some areas to help with the muddy root. After the festival, the park’s Polo Fields, Marx Meadow, Lindley Meadow and Hellman Hollow were all closed for repairs. These areas of the park close every year for reseeding, regardless of the festival.

Festival goers will attend the Outside Lands Music Festival at Golden Gate Park on Saturday, October 30, 2021 in San Francisco.

Festival goers will attend the Outside Lands Music Festival at Golden Gate Park on Saturday, October 30, 2021 in San Francisco.

Amy Harris / Invision / AP

“There was a greater impact on the grass this year than in previous years due to the historic storm that swept in prior to the concert, but it was not as bad as we feared thanks to a lot of preparation,” Tamara Aparton, a spokeswoman for the city’s Leisure and Parks Department, wrote in an email. “Outside land usually takes place in the summer and we dry out the meadows on purpose by turning off watering for two weeks before the event to protect the grass from all the harsh use. This year we obviously did not have the dry summer weather.”

Aparton said Rec and Park and festival organizers tuned in to the weather forecast and worked together to prepare for the storm with mitigating measures.

“Much of the loading and building happened early. Before the storms, we restricted access to vehicles on the wet ground, and we used a lot of pumps and generators in the meadows – with staff staying out there all night to ensure continuous drainage of water,” he said. wrote Aparton. “As a result, the grass is in much better shape than we thought.

During the event, a mixture of soil and sand was laid over wet grass.

People walk across sand that had been spread out to cover muddy areas of grass at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park on October 31, 2021.

People walk across sand that had been spread out to cover muddy areas of grass at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park on October 31, 2021.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

“When you consider that grass is damaged in relation to not being damaged, it has to do with the roots,” Aparton said. “If the ground is very wet, it is easier for feet and machines to damage the grass.”


Prior to the festival, Outside Lands estimated that the economic benefit of the three-day event for the city would be $ 71.3 million. Since 2008, Rec and Park has received $ 27.2 million from the event, including funding for a full-time year-round gardener, Aparton said.

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