Appearing for the first time at Outside Lands, triple-platinum selling folk-rock band The Lumineers and breakout lo-fi artist Still Woozy are excited to be among the dozens of acts playing the 12th annual festival in Golden Gate Park this weekend.
The Lumineers, slated to release “III,” their darkest, most emotionally charged recording to date, in September, and Still Woozy, who dropped his dreamy psych-pop debut EP “Lately” in May, sell out their own headlining shows. But both see value in supporting even bigger names at major festivals.
“I think of it like opening for a really big band where you can either earn the crowd’s attention or not,” says Lumineers’ singer-guitarist Wesley Schultz, who has warmed up audiences for U2 and the late Tom Petty. “There are a lot of people who come to your set at a festival, who might just know a little bit about your music or nothing at all, but they’re taking a chance on it. If you can make them lean in, listen and stay, it’s a pretty big accomplishment.”
Still Woozy mastermind Sven Gamsky is still reeling from playing with his band on the same stage as one of his favorite artists, Spanish singer Rosalía, at Lollapalooza in Chicago last weekend.
“Yeah, it’s pretty surreal,” Gamsky says. “We just played a stage where a couple of hours later Rosalía played, and she’s unreal, so good and talented.”
Seven years ago, The Lumineers, the five-piece band from Denver with anthemic hits “Ho Hey,” “Stubborn Love,” “Ophelia” and “Cleopatra,” were on tour promoting their self-titled debut album, playing much smaller venues. At Cafe Du Nord in The City, Schultz’s brother, who lives in the Mission, “welled up with tears” upon seeing the sold-out crowd.
Later that year, The Lumineers appeared at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and after a “magical” set, met Robert Plant backstage. The former Led Zeppelin frontman paid the band a huge compliment when he remarked that many in the crowd knew all the words to their songs.
In 2017, when The Lumineers opened for Tom Petty on a handful of dates, Schultz finally was able to talk about music with one of his longtime heroes, an experience he calls “a beautiful interaction” that he’s not been fortunate enough to replicate with his other idols, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan.
Oakland’s Gamsky, who was part of the math-rock inspired band Feed Me Jack before breaking away to launch his solo project Still Woozy, which hit in 2017 with the single “Goodie Bag,” was excited when he learned that electro-pop star Billie Eilish, whom he admires, is a fan of his music.
But of all of this year’s Outside Lands artists, he’s most excited to see Paul Simon.
“I think Paul Simon’s voice is unique and his songwriting is brilliant. So the songs just capture this beautiful energy and tap into these great feelings and emotions, which is always my goal when I make music,” he says.
The Lumineers’ Schultz admits that he’s almost more intimidated than excited to share the same bill as Simon.
“You’re basically setting the table for someone like that because he has so many great songs and is such a towering artist,” Schultz says. “You feel silly even being on the same poster as someone so special.”