Three-day music festival ends on good note

Golden Gate Park’s first foray into nighttime concerts hit almost zero sour notes.

Tens of thousands of music fans swarmed the park’s polo fields throughout the weekend to take in the sounds of Radiohead, Beck, Steel Pulse, Ben Harper, Primus, Broken Social Scene and dozens more. And by Sunday afternoon, fans had reveled without any arrests or major episodes of drunken misconduct, according to police and event organizers.

“We had some minor things, such as some fences broken down and people jumping the fence, but there were no huge problems,” said Sgt. Wilfred Williams, spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department.

The massive crowds caused few headaches for neighbors on either side of the park, said Ray Holland, who lives on 23rd Avenue between Fulton and Cabrillo. Residents had to defend their parking spaces, but crowds heading to and from the festival were well-behaved, especially compared to this year’s rowdy Bay to Breakers, he said.

“Part of it’s probably the type of crowd,” Holland said. “It’s a paid concert, and people paid a lot to get in — that’s a big investment.”

One-day tickets cost $85, while a three-day pass cost $225. Although slightly more than half of Outside Lands’ ticket-buyers came from within 50 miles of San Francisco, the other half came from all over the world, said producer Greg Perloff.

Craig Vinecombe and Ellie Nilson spent close to $1,000 to attend the three-day festival, including plane tickets from San Diego, hotel fees and the concert itself, Vinecombe said.

“It’s worth it. We’d totally do it again,” Vinecombe said. “It’s been really fun. The only downer was the sound system, which went out twice during Radiohead and three or four times during Tom Petty.”

Others found ways to enjoy the music without laying down so much cash. Cole Valley resident Kristen Gwerder Maberly stood by the security gates, within clear sight of the main stage, and grooved to Toots and the Maytals on Sunday afternoon.

“I was told this was the best spot anyway,” Gwerder Maberly said. “I’m surprised more people aren’t out here doing the same thing.“

Crowds did have to wait to go home at the end of the night, however. Although Muni added 60 extra trains on the N-Judah line and 118 extra buses on the 5 and 71 bus lines, riders waited up to two hours to board Friday night, and up to 45 minutes Saturday night, Muni spokeswoman Kristen Holland said.

bwinegarner@sfexaminer.com

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