Baseball bat blunts, heady corndogs, and Lana Del Rey: a weekend at Outside Lands

outside lands 2023 at golden gate park

The 15th annual Outside Lands went down last weekend, bringing epic musical performances, tasty local fare, and high vibes to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Despite Karl the Fog’s ever-present mist, 225,000 folks in their festival finest passed through the gates over the three-day event.

As a first-time Outside Lands attendee, I had no idea what to expect. There were a few things I knew I was stoked for: a groundbreaking open-air cannabis market, tons of delicious and over-priced food, Megan Thee Stallion—you get the drift.

What I was unprepared for was the sheer magnitude of the festival. As I arrived on day two, it dawned on me that there was a pretty good chance I would not see everything Outside Lands had to offer. 

Between interviewing brands in Grass Lands and entertaining the stoned guests in the consumption garden, I had limited time to peruse the far-reaching grounds. However, there were stand-out moments that are sure to stay in my heart forever.

My journey took me on over 58,000 steps through the winding grounds. There was an elevated fair snack courtesy of a kind-hearted soul, a personal mission to understand one of music’s most mysterious artists, and plenty of weed in between. Here are a few of my highlights from Outside Lands.

outside lands ranger dave
A photo op with Outside Lands mascot Ranger Dave was the first stop for many at this year’s festival. Photo: Brian Feulner

Grass Lands sets the bar high for infusing the festival scene

I spent the majority of my weekend at Outside Lands in the weed-centric Grass Lands section, where cannabis products could be both purchased and consumed. California is the epicenter of cannabis culture in America, so it came as no surprise to find out that the state set the standard for bringing the plant to the festival scene.

The Grass Lands area of Outside Lands opened in 2018, and according to all accounts, the space has grown exponentially over the last five years. The sprawling hotspot could have been a festival itself, with several booths, activations, and a mini stage built into what appeared to be a vintage Volkswagen van.

Lines were long at vendor booths as cannabis fans waited their turn to pick up bud, edibles, and vapes before their favorite act went on. DJs, comedians, and a beachy surf-rock band, complete with a live wood carver, kept the vibes high.

Some of the busiest attractions included a breezy hookah lounge featuring OOKA x seven9 devices and pods, a pre-roll pantry with a variety of joints on the menu, and a gas pump retrofitted to work as a pipe courtesy of Claybourne.

Ramon Garcia, co-founder of the Equity Trade Network and Certification, was thrilled to see many consumers choose products from a wide range of social equity and former traditional market brands at the Legacy Market booth, which was consistently busy throughout the weekend.

“It was an amazing validation by consumers that quality Equity and Legacy products are embraced and supported by the community, and with equal access to opportunity, we can compete with larger well-capitalized businesses,” Garcia, who helped curate the booth menu, told GreenState.

“It was a true culmination of the last three years working with Outside Lands, Grass Lands, and Embarc Events to create a platform of access for small local businesses and performers that add new elements to the culture around this medicine and Grass Lands as a whole.”

outside lands grass lands legacy market
The Legacy Market in Grass Lands offered selections from social equity and legacy cannabis brands. Photo: Brian Feulner

The rich aroma of cannabis wafted through Grass Lands throughout the weekend, but things got truly wild at 4:20 p.m. on Sunday. 

After a lively joint rolling contest judged by DeeThai founder Josh Schmidt and yours truly, the Sluggers Hit squad stepped up to the plate, ready to hit a grand slam.

Sluggers Hit, a brand known for its triple-infused joints, had brought a massive baseball bat joint to culminate the Outside Lands festivities. Crafted by well-known weed artist Weavers, the golden bat was filled with an astonishing six ounces of cannabis.

It was a truly epic way to celebrate Grass Lands. The freedom to buy and consume something that is still a crime in the eyes of the federal government was not lost on Schmidt, who helped light the ceremonial J.

“The highlight of Outside Lands for me was legally being able to share our products with the people in a place that we used to ironically have to come to and illegally purchase from random strangers,” Schmidt said via text.

After all the smoking in Grass Lands, I was ready to snack. Good thing there were plenty of gourmet options on the menu.


outside lands grass lands sluggers hit baseball bat joint
Josh of DeeThai and G of Sluggers Hit light a six-ounce baseball bat joint crafted by Weavers. Photo: Brian Feulner

A corn dog for the ages

It’s no secret that I love to eat. When it comes to festivals, routing stops at buzzy food stalls is just as important to me as creating a personalized concert agenda—if not more so.

I had called out the Dungeness crab garlic noodles by Chef Smelly in my pre-show write-up, and they did not disappoint. The heaping mound of crab meat added an extra layer of sweetness to the thick, buttery noodles and a delightful skewer of shrimp surprise.

A revisit to the popular Humphry Slocombe ice cream truck was also in order after an impressive showing at BottleRock. Once again, I strategically planned my visit during the headliners’ sets on night three.

A decadent sundae comprised of fan-favorite flavor Secret Breakfast was a salty-sweet dream come true, complete with extra bourbon caramel drizzle and corn flake crunch.

What caught me completely off guard was a stop at Sandy’s Muffs. The San Francisco-based sandwich shop was serving up their signature muffulettas, but as a Midwesterner through and through, it was the corn dog for me.

Chef Peterson Harter, a New Orleans transplant, wanted to re-create a classic fair staple with a Cajun twist. 

An all-beef frank was housed in a surprisingly light cornmeal hush-puppy batter. It was perfectly crisp on the outside and feather soft on the inside. A drizzle of spicy remoulade ruined all other corndogs for me, as I will be forever seeking it out while casting my traditional mustard aside.

I found out that Harter had learned his trade from his late mother, who tragically passed away when Harter was young. Harter soon realized that cooking was his destiny, ensuring the flavors of his family lived on. 

Game-changing food and a pure heart? Sounds like everything I could ever hope to discover at a festival. All I had to do now was find Lana.

outside lands sandy's muffs corndog
Hush puppy corn dogs from Sandy’s Muffs were easily the tastiest item on the Outside Lands food menu. Photo: Rachelle Gordon

Finding Lana del Rey

I am not hip when it comes to music by any means. The Outside Lands line-up was pretty unfamiliar to me, but there were a number of acts I wanted to catch. I knew Kendrick Lamar, Janelle Monáe, Foo Fighters, and Megan Thee Stallion were going to slay, but one sultry singer I was most intrigued by was Lana Del Rey.

My younger sister Alicia has been obsessed with Lana for years. I’ve heard a handful of songs, mostly thanks to Alicia’s IG stories, but never dove in deep. I was familiar with the controversy around the singer, including accusations of glorifying abuse in her lyrics. But other than that, I really didn’t know much.

When I previously asked my sister why she loves Lana, Alicia simply replied, “She gets me.”

Perplexed, I decided to use Outside Lands as the opportunity to learn more. 

It was a difficult decision, given that Lana Del Rey took the Twin Peaks stage halfway through the Foo Fighters set at the opposite end of the festival grounds. But understanding my sister’s adoration and taking a couple of videos in her stead meant too much.

Thankfully, I was able to catch a solid portion of the Foos, including a much-talked-about moment when Canadian crooner Michael Bublé joined the band for a rousing rendition of his hit Just Haven’t Met You Yet (apparently, Foo Fighters have covered the tune throughout the tour, inviting concert-goers on stage for a chance at lead vocals).

On the other side of the misty park, Lana’s hypnotic voice flowed through the mesmerized crowd. It was a clear generational divide, with countless Gen Z and Millennial fans hanging on every note. 

I later found out that the singer was on a limited performance schedule consisting only of major festivals, making her Outside Lands appearance that much more special.

I watched as Lana floated alongside her powerful backup vocalists, laid across a golden piano, and swayed back and forth on a swing. Every breathy word was hypnotic, and I couldn’t help but be moved. 

outside lands lana del rey
Lana Del Rey mesmerizes the crowd atop a piano at Outside Lands 2023. Photo: Rachelle Gordon

I started to understand her contentious nature more when she began Ultraviolence, with candid lyrics about intimate partner abuse. But I ultimately thought, “Isn’t the goal of art to be thought-provoking and conversation-starting?”

Nearing the end of her melodic and emotional set, I started to walk away in an effort to beat the swell of fans heading toward the exit. But I kept stopping in my tracks, turning back for one more glimpse. Maybe Lana is the cult leader talked about in the aforementioned Ultraviolence—it seemed like we all couldn’t help but follow her.

As I continued my journey to the gate, I attempted to ask people just what it is about Lana Del Rey. Once again, no one could really answer me. However, this time it made more sense. I still knew very little about the singer, yet I felt even more compelled to go down the rabbit hole after getting a small taste of her vibes. 

I was bewitched.

Truth be told, the entire Outside Lands experience was bewitching. Heading into the festival, I allowed myself to flow on the journey with an open mind and heart. While fun was to be had, the weekend was more about discovery than dancing, drinks, or dabs. 

The festival scene is not one I typically subscribe to, but witnessing close to a quarter-million people live their best lives is a real gift. I sought to follow these folks, do as they do, and see what they see. 

From open cannabis consumption to breathtaking performances under a foggy sky, Outside Lands is a magical place. It was a blessing to have a chance to cover, and I hope the opportunity returns again some day.


Rachelle Gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist and Editor of She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, Cannabis and Tech Today, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter