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How Outside Lands Is Expanding Their Dancefloor: A Conversation with Talent Buyer Nick Barrie

Every year festivals are tasked with ways to outdo themselves and search for bigger and better things that will accumulate to a premier live music experience. Outside Lands is one that has constantly sat atop the music festival circuit, and for good reason. Generations of past and present could share their stores and marvel at the transformations that have taken place at Golden Gate Park since the festival’s inception in 2008. After suffering a slew of delays and setbacks due to the global pandemic, Another Planet Entertainment had to find ways to adapt to the unprecedented times that left the music industry baffled with more questions than answers. It’s no easy feat to run a festival and consistently deliver top-notched performances that provide a lifetime’s worth of memories, let alone the extremities that come alongside the music that make Outside Lands an experience worth the cost of a ticket.

When it comes to Outside Lands, you’ll find some of music’s biggest and current stars such as Green Day, Post Malone, SZA, Phoebe Bridgers, and more that are featured in 2022’s edition of OSL. As you dig a bit deeper into the billing, you’ll find more than meets the eye. “Diversity is extremely important, in every sense of the word. You also need a sense of where things will be further down the road. Looking back at the 2018 lineup and seeing acts like Billie Eilish, Lizzo, and Jack Harlow and how far they’ve come since, it’s exciting. It also lends credibility with the fans, you’re bringing them acts they may not know, but who may become the favorite act to so many of them.” said Nick Barrie of Another Planet Entertainment.

You see, curating a music festival like Outside Lands isn’t easy. Whether you want to be deemed as the ultimate aux cord holder, or a tastemaker, the product you put out there matters. Some years, it can mean more than just putting names on a poster for people to freak out on social media.

“It is not just picking out all your favorites off a store shelf. Due to a series of factors, the selection is more limited. Then for a festival like Outside Lands, you have to serve a multitude of genres that serve a wide variety of music fans. Therefore, objectivity is key and personal tastes become more moot.” – Nick Barrie, Talent Buyer of Another Planet Entertainment

Outside Lands 2022 features a wide variety of talent that is sure to appease music enthusiasts from all walks of life. One glowing reminder of APE’s knack for challenging themselves and pushing the envelope forward is the doubling down of the event’s newest dancefloor, the SOMA Tent. Albeit, this is not the SOMA Tent’s first year at the spectacle, it is its biggest year yet. What could this mean? Nick Barrie says “Bigger and better. A larger capacity space with more dance floor, more lasers, more lights.”

“One of the great things about Outside Lands is you can see so much music, of such great variety too. But to accommodate all that you see shorter sets from most acts. In dance music, sometimes forty to sixty minutes just wasn’t enough. I think the SOMA Tent provides a place where people can get lost in the music for a while longer. Get in a dark room, see a longer set directly connected to the next artist, nonstop music, while dancing with a community of people. It provided something different, another option, which is something people attending a three-day event want. Then to pack it with such incredible acts in such a beautifully designed space just put it over the top.” – Nick Barrie

The SOMA Tent will be home to many talented DJs and producers. Coming to you this August, acts such as Claude Vonstroke, Dixon, ANNA, Cassian, DJ Seinfeld, India Jordan, Ellen Allien, Tokimonsta, and many more will grace Outside Lands’ newest concept for bringing the underground to a platform it has never seen before. All but anything, the rise of the SOMA Tent shows Another Planet’s drive to take risks and challenge themselves, which is how it became Northern California’s top music festival for the past decade.

When asked where the concept came from, Nick Barrie shared “Ben Bryan and I book the tent, and we are fans of all kinds of music, and we go out to a lot of the variety of shows we promote. But we found ourselves heavily drawn to dance music, and wound up in the various dance clubs in SF later, once our shows were over. We both embraced the culture, especially the more underground and unique feeling of certain artists, venues/spaces, and parties. So we wanted to create something like that at the festival. To bring the feeling of being in an underground club, partaking in the togetherness and excitement of the scene while enjoying the incredible music for longer sets and no set breaks. We have always had dance at the festival, but we wanted something that better embraced the culture.”

“I think many festival-goers nowadays got into dance music through EDM. Then they discovered house and techno and the plethora of genres and subgenres that exist in the world of dance/electronic. We wanted to be able to cater to the variety of tastes that our patrons were expecting when they were attending a large-scale music festival.”

With the world’s current infatuation for the genre and culture, receiving nods from Drake to Beyonce, who knows what the future holds. One thing is certain, and that is that Outside Lands is bringing dance back to the dancefloor this year.

3-Day General Admission, VIP, Payment Plan, and Golden Gate Club passes are on sale now – www.sfoutsidelands.com

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