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Nightime crowd at Outside Lands
Richmond and Sunset neighborhoods are overrun by thousands of music fans filling the Polo Field at Outside Lands Festival. Oblivious, Rec. and Park unanimously approved a proposal to allow additional concerts the following weekend. Photo Courtesy of Secret San Francisco.

Another Planet Entertainment — not a good neighbor

The “Concert after the Concert” is Too Much for the Neighborhood and the Park

• • • • • • • • • • September 18, 2023 • • • • • • • • • •

The post-Outside Lands (OSL) concert may be fun for the privileged few who can afford the tickets, but for Sunset and Richmond District residents — the neighbors of Golden Gate Park (GGP), it's no fun at all. Another week of noise, blocked roads, traffic, litter and disruption is added to the five weeks of Another Planet Entertainment (APE) occupying our neighborhood.

The post-OSL concert permit should not have been approved in its current form. The recommendation to approve by the Rec and Park Commission has, at the least, the appearance of impropriety.

1. We need to know how many free tickets to the post-OSL concerts were promised to the Rec and Park Dept. In October 2021 KQED reported that,

  • “According to a San Francisco Ethics Commission report released in late September 2021, city officials have been gifted at least $430,950 in free tickets to the festival.”
  • “Between 2015 and 2019 Rec and Park distributed some 1,855 free tickets to public officials across the city, including department staffers and employees in other city departments.”
  • “A former commissioner and vice president, Allan Low, who stepped down in June of 2021, acknowledged that he had received free Outside Lands tickets in previous years.”

Why should the Sunset and Richmond face traffic congestion, noise and disruption every year? Why not have OSL on the Marina Green, Crissy Field, or in McLaren Park and give those parts of the City a chance to contribute to the ‘greater good’?”

Crowd at Outside Lands
Fans begin early and stay late, overwhelming neighbors. Photo Courtesy of Michael Durand/Richmond Review.

How many free tickets to the post-OSL concerts have been promised to current Rec and Park Commissioners, all of whom voted to recommend approval of the permit with no questions asked? How many free tickets have been promised to London Breed? Are free tickets going to any Supervisors? If yes, those Supervisors should have recused themselves from this vote.

2. How much money is Another Planet Entertainment (APE) making? Tickets to OSL cost a minimum of $200 a day, with premium tickets going for $1,000 or more...

Assuming the same prices and level of attendance as OSL (sold out) and 1,000 premium tickets sold each day out of the 65,000 tickets: 1,000 x $1,000 = $1,000,0000. 64,000 x $200 = $12,800,000. That's $13,800,000 per day. For two days, that's $27,600,000. APE is offering the City $1.4 million for two days. That is not a good deal. Why haven't the terms of this ready-made APE deal been questioned? As APE keeps pointing out, there are no additional load-in or load-out expenses for the post-OSL concert. That's if you don't count the expense of the public being locked out of the Polo Fields and adjacent areas and the inconvenience to the neighborhood.

3. Rec and Park are not telling the truth; 65,000 people create as big a footprint and as big an impact on the neighborhood as 75,000 people. It is not a smaller footprint.

Another Planet has not told us the truth. Rec and Park has not told us the truth. They claim that OSL is only for two weeks. On July 14, fully one month before the beginning of OSL, they were already working in the area of the Polo Fields, turning GGP into a construction zone.

On July 14th, Kay, a teacher who lives in the Sunset, reported:
“It's the incessant beeping of the heavy equipment that pollutes the park's environment. I'm usually in the park twice a day during the summer: first, for a run, and later, for a walk with my aging dog. The beeping is pretty much non-stop.”

On July 28, Kay wrote:
“They didn't pound the poles into the ground with power tools in the past! What on earth are they thinking? How is this being allowed? Not only is it damaging to the park, but what about the creatures who call the park home (coyotes, birds, turtles, etc.). City leaders sure love to preach about their love for the environment while they destroy the habitat for people, animals and plants in our public park.”

From July 14th to August 13th is four weeks; add another week for the proposed concert and another week before OSL is fully out of the Park. That's six weeks APE is proposing to appropriate our Park.

APE Executive Vice-President Allen Scott said of OSL, “… we know it's a disruption. We hope that people see it for the greater good and not just about their personal routines.” Are the personal routines of people in the Marina, Pacific Heights, Seacliff, Forrest Hill, St. Francis Wood or Presidio Heights being disrupted? Why should the Sunset and Richmond face traffic congestion, noise and disruption every year? Why not have OSL on the Marina Green, Crissy Field, or in McLaren Park and give those parts of the City a chance to contribute to the “greater good”?

Really, there should be no post-OSL or even OSL concerts in Golden Gate Park. GGP belongs to the residents of San Francisco and should always be accessible, open and free. It was designed to be, and always has been, a public park. Keeping our parks open should be the first priority of Rec and Park.

From the time Golden Gate Park was created in 1870 to the time Outside Lands held its first festival, we never needed a private company to take over a large part of the Park so they could make a lot of money and then kick back some to the City. Now, Rec and Park says we need a post-OSL concert to maintain GGP. San Franciscans have always been proud to support, maintain and pay for Golden Gate Park, and we have consistently passed bond measures in support of our parks.

Why should we award APE a permit for a post-OSL concert when they have not been honest and have failed to abide by the terms they agreed to?

“Permittee shall promptly, at its sole cost and expense, repair any and all damage to the Premise” - Use Permit for Outside Lands, dated April 1. 2009

“... to conserve resources over the remaining term of the Permit and to prevent future damage and delays, Permittee has offered to complete a project valued at approximately $400,000 to replace the far western turf areas of the Polo fields with decomposed granite and ... reinforced concrete.” - Addendum to the Original Permit, dated May 20, 2022

What could be more damaging to a grass field than pouring concrete on it? It is clear that Outside Lands damages Golden Gate Park, and APE has not honored its Agreement to repair any damage to the Park. Now, people can tell their children and grandchildren the Polo Field was passed down for generations as a beautiful meadow and playing field, and we now bequeath you this massive slab of concrete as part of it.

What stands out immediately in the Addendum is the language, “To conserve resources over the remaining term of the Permit ...” meaning to conserve the resources of APE, a private company making millions from Outside Lands, at the expense of GGP and the people of San Francisco. APE has clearly reneged on its Agreement and violated both the spirit and the letter of its contract with the City.

The proposed post-OSL concert is a cynical attempt by APE to recoup the $400,000 they spent on the concrete slab. They want the concert in Golden Gate Park because it's the cheapest venue for them. APE doesn't care about GGP or the neighborhood, or San Francisco, for that matter. They just want to make money.

The Board of Supervisors heard the proposal for the post-OSL concert on September 12. All Supervisors voted yes, except for Supervisor Connie Chan from District 1. Starting in 2024, there will be two or possibly three (if there is a Friday show) concerts on the weekend following OSL. The Polo Fields and environs will be off-limits.

David Romano is an environmental activist living near Ocean Beach

September 18, 2023

David Romano.
David Romano

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