OUTSIDE LANDS 2009: Atmosphere

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Outside Lands 2009

Photos from the 2009 Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco. All photos taken by Lara Brucker and Skyler Reid.

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This being the Bay Area, dozens of socially conscious vendors set up shop at the festival to crusade in the name of their charity t-shirt projects, Ugandan recycling ventures and solar-powered cell phone charging stations. Along with their friends the organic food booth mafia, the vendors ended up hawking a ton of sustainable, local and eco-friendly fare.

Organizers made a pronounced effort to publicize these booths by placing them in the center of the grounds and hanging a sign that designated said booths as the festival's "Eco Lands." It was a more visible effort than has been made at the next-of-kin music festivals like Coachella.

All was chipper, at least for the first two days of the festival: Colorful characters toddled around in stilts and kids in feathered headdresses danced like crazy people to no music at all. But when the fog hit on Sunday, everyone wrapped up in blankets and packed away their dance moves, ready to shiver through the rest of the weekend.

And what about the crowds? The same people who seemed content to pitch camp at the main stage and knock out on their picnic blankets until Jason Mraz came out to serenade them were the ones who barely cheered when M.I.A. ran through her set a day later. Laid back, or catatonic? It's hard to tell. Last year's primary headliner Radiohead drew fearful stampedes of fanatics wherever they trod; in comparison, this year's headliners may have pulled in different folks. This seemed the year to sample the festival offerings at your leisure. Basking's legit as anything, but eyes will be on the city when they assemble the festival's incarnation next year.

Plan a memorial for the downtrodden gophers with Danica at [email protected]

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