Hey Friends!!! In case you didn’t hear the big news, BFF, our not-so-little online community radio, had the opportunity to attend Outside Lands this year! It was completely unexpected, and I feel lucky to have been able to see so much musical fluidity in one place throughout an entire weekend.

 Now being that it was our first time attending, it's only fair that we take you, a fellow BFF friend, with us through the musical chaos (the kind of chaos that ensues after you realize you’re seeing so many talented musicians back to back) that was our first day at Outside Lands!

Follow us through A Day at Outside Lands - Day 1: First Day of School *Kind of jitters*

Outside Lands 2023. Photo Courtesy of Alive Coverage.

BFF showed up, merch and soul in hand, to the Land’s End Stage. SF’s very own La Doña, hailing from the historical Mission District, was set to kick off the festival. To say I was buzzed to see La Doña was an understatement, as a crowd of all ages huddled amongst the foggy afternoon. La Doñas musical ensemble sported outfits that took inspiration from Mariachi bands' traditional attire. A mix of white ensembles featured pops of red roses, which easily highlighted La Doña's lilac ‘quinceañera inspired’ dress.

La Doña opening the Land's End Stage. Picture Credits to Marc Fong @stillharper

La Doña’s apparent love for rancheras, reggaeton, and entire musical influence stood out as she covered a contrast of covers ranging from “El Rey” by Vicente Fernandez to the reggaeton classic “Dile” by Don Omar. La Doña’s performance received loud applause and “gritos” (cheers) from people who understood the importance of having a first-generation Mexican American, born and raised in SF, perform at Outside Lands. Seeing La Doña and her band perform was a highlight of the day, as her passion for music and social justice rang through the air.

Shortly after, I ran—and no I'm not lying—from one stage to the other to Yaya Bey’s set at the Toyota Stage. Hailing from Brooklyn with roots in Jamaica, Queens, Yaya Bey, whose lyrics infuse notes of R&B with haunting words that touch on topics of self-love, growth, and loss of relationships, had an entire crowd swaying to her energizing chant. Bey’s vocal raspiness paired with the band resulted in a sound that asked to be heard and instilled a sort of sentiment that made everyone enter a quiet reflective space. Throughout the performance, Bey’s nonchalant attitude made a full audience laugh as she stated that the “wrong outfit was picked” for SF, a classic.

Yaya Bey performs alongside her band at the Toyota Stage. Photo Courtesy of Alive Coverage.

Following her performance, a quick snack and water break followed. #Selfcare. As I headed back over to the Land’s End Stage, I managed to secure a small spot for Raveena’s set. Raveena, who identifies as a queer Indian-American woman, is breaking barriers as she infuses her upbringing with musical influences ranging from Minnie Riperton to a mixture of Indian Pop music.

Raveena setting the mood before performing by lighting some incense. Photo Courtesy of Vivian Vivas.

A crowd quickly gathered to behold her fairy-like presence, as she emerged from the stage wrapped in a red beaded fishnet shawl that somehow glistened in the fog. Raveena’s voice, a delicate whisper, led everyone through a group mediation as she proceeded to light some incense onstage before starting her set. I’m not sure if it was the incense or the aura that reflected from Raveena herself, but hearing “Hypnosis” from her debut studio album ‘Lucid’ was mesmerizingly beautiful. The environmental soundscape-filled song shifted the general festival ambiance into a spirit-lifting commemoration for music and nature.

After a quick bite, I headed to the Dolores Stage, my favorite! I found myself coming back to this space multiple times throughout the weekend to catch amazing DJ sets, as the energy and liveliness of everyone present reinvigorated my spirit. Being that it was a new this year, it ate every other stage up and left zero crumbs! Dolores, which featured a new open-air stage celebrating queer and trans communities, featured DJ sets that worked to highlight the rich history and impact artists, activists, and allies have fostered in San Francisco.

Nina Sky performing at the Dolores Stage Friday afternoon. Photo Courtesy of Vivian Vivas.

Highlight performances at Dolores included Nina Sky’s DJ set, which featured the American musical duo Nicole and Natalie Albino who performed classic songs like “Move Ya Body”, alongside others like “Boricua Morena”. Important mentions also go out to Saturday’s “Reparations Drag Show” hosted by Oasis, which unveiled a surprise performance by the iconic drag queen, Adore Delano (Contestant from Season 2 of Rupaul’s Drag Race: All Stars).

Thanks BFF.fm and Outside Lands for having me this year! I had the pleasure of distributing stickers, shirts, and totes to lots of besties, thanks to Amanda and the BFF.fm team! People were psyched to hear and see that BFF.fm was out and about in OSL. I’m feeling extremely grateful, and I want to give a shoutout to everyone who took some merch!

To read about more upcoming events, check us out at bff.fm.