At most music festivals, the food is something unremarkable you scarf down in between acts. At Outside Lands in San Francisco, it's all part of the experience -- and the spectacle.
In addition to the frankly staggering number of food and beverage stalls on offer for festival-goers, the shady wooded glen known as McClaren Pass became the home of the "GastroMagic" stage for the second year running. It promised "fantastical entertainment in the way of star personalities, food, cocktails, comedy, improv, music, and of course, sorcery” -- and it (mostly) delivered.
1. "Ass and Beignets"
Let’s get one thing out of the way: no matter how entertaining GastroMagic’s line-up was in general, it was all about Big Freedia. The New Orleans-based musician and MC’s ‘Beignets and Bounce Brunch’ on Saturday catered by Brenda’s French Soul Food was the undisputed hit of GastroMagic for a second year running. A clue to how popular this event would be arrived early when a couple of passers-by spotted her arriving backstage and began yelling "WE LOVE YOU BIG FREEDIA!" but even so, nothing quite prepared me for the sight of this shady glen in Golden Gate Park teeming with literally hundreds of festival-goers screaming as she brought her particular "Bounce" brand of dancehall to the stage. With a bass depth you could feel in your teeth, Big Freedia led the cheers as her team of four incredibly energetic dancers bounced and twerked, before encouraging a steady stream of thrilled audience members to come up onstage and do the same.