5 Artists to Get Your Dance On at Outside Lands

Colleen Viana reflects on the culture of music + names 5 Outside Lands acts that are all about the bass

outside lands
It’s the beginning of August, we’re nearing the end of summer, and I’m itching to dance.

Let me preface this with a little story about the time I started tearing up on a treadmill while listening to Tiesto’s “Footprints” mid-run (or I guess “mid-jog,” who am I fooling?), and no, I’m not making this up (trust me, I almost wish I was). It was shortly after he released A Town Called Paradise, and I was fresh off seeing him at Electric Daisy Carnival, New York. While listening to the lyrics, something resonated with me.


“We are the old, and we are the young, a million strangers, we move as one.

Won’t wait a lifetime, it’s our turn to put our footprints all over the world.”


I heard the song before, but never really listened. Listening to this beautiful bridge, I had a moment of realization: This is the real culture of festivals,joining people from every inch of the world who share the same love for music that you do. It’s an insanely powerful feeling—knowing that in a sea of sweaty, dancing bodies everyone is connected. We’re all listening, we’re all feeling, we’re all experiencing the moment. And each person is crafting it differently for themselves, making each part of the song unique to them.

For me, it was those lyrics that hit a heartstring, and I lost it. Music is such an incredible force that propels us to move, think, and feel free unlike anything else. It’s always during this time of year that I get extremely excited for music, because Outside Lands is just around the corner. It’s one of the few festivals that doesn’t exist as a “see and be seen” atmosphere, which so many have sadly become.

After reading Catherine’s post on burning out and her first Coachella experience, I couldn’t help but connect the dots on how music may have played a role in freeing her soul. (It’s not an idea too far-fetched seeing as she is absolutely obsessed with Sara Bareilles.) There’s no question music has the capacity to move us both physically and spiritually, and it happened for me at the same time on the treadmill. Luckily, it was an off-peak hour so no one within my peripheral view saw, but there was a legit tear forming as I listened to “Footprints.” It got me even more excited for us to attend Outside Lands together with our Bay Area family and friends. I couldn’t wait to dance again, not in the desert, but in the forest (which is equally as fun).

So that said, it’s time to grab your girlfriends and your dancing shoes, then head to these acts for the best tunes to shake your hips to (because twerking in Golden Gate Park is most likely prohibited).

5. Tegan and Sara

Twin Peaks, Friday

I first saw this dynamic duo in 2007 and don’t remember sitting down once during their entire show. Their sound has taken a more upbeat, electronic route since then (which is NOT a bad thing), but they still spew girl power and are great at connecting with their audience (a HUGE plus in my book). They are sisters after all and are extremely comfortable on stage. You might even hear a joke or two, but the best thing you’ll hear is this song that will have you dancing and singing non-stop.



Check out Tegan & Sara if you rock out to: The Killers, Spoon, or The Kooks


4. Duck Sauce

Twin Peaks, Saturday

You know them for the infamous “Barbra Streisand” dance track, but erase any notion you have of Duck Sauce based solely on that. If you didn’t know, Duck Sauce is a collaboration between Armand Van Helden and A-Trak who both have long standing resumes in the DJ department (Armand being a major groundbreaker in house music and A-Trak having his own record label, Fool’s Gold). Together as Duck Sauce, they bring the funk back into EDM reminiscent of this classic ‘90s track. I guarantee their tunes will have your hips shaking from start to finish.



Quack along with Duck Sauce if you like: Tiesto, Capital Cities, and Boys Noize



Lands End, Sunday

I can’t think of a single reason why I wouldn’t see CHVRCHES again (other than serious scheduling conflicts, but that’s out of my control). Last year, I saw them at an intimate venue in Brooklyn before they released their full album; it was one of the best spur-of-the-moment decisions I’ve made to date. Lauren Mayberry has one of those voices that is extremely powerful and sounds even better live than on record. She stays superbly single as the lead vocalist, but you can’t forget about her two counterparts who produce those amazing synths that make you sway side to side and do body rolls.



Dance it out to CHVRCHES if you’re a fan of: Death Cab For Cutie, Lykke Li, or Cut Copy


2. Flume

Twin Peaks, Sunday

As I mentioned scheduling conflicts, this is when it would apply. Flume has to be the one of the biggest breakout stars this year in electronic music, even if his debut album dropped nearly two years ago (sound familiar, Disclosure?). The Gobi tent at Coachella this past year was overflowing with dancing bodies, singing along (ironically enough) to Flume’s remix of Disclosure’s “You & Me.” That’s when I nearly lost my sh!t (Catherine was there to witness). Flume knows how to work the crowd and has impeccable musicality, creating his own trap sound that is sure to blow your mind. Just try not to break a hip during his set (it may be hard not to).



Head over to Flume if your jam is: Kanye West, Disclosure, and Run the Jewels


1. Chromeo

Lands End, Friday

All you have to do to know if you’re a Chromeo fan is listen to the first 30 seconds of any of their songs. If it doesn’t want to make you get off your seat and shake your groove thing, then just stop reading this blurb. I officially fell in love with this duo a few months ago when I noticed every inch of Terminal 5 in New York dancing to their set. It’s literally IMPOSSIBLE to get that many people moving in a city whose population is rarely caught on the dance floor (they’re mostly standing on the sidelines, bopping their heads). Chromeo’s sound is infectious, and their incredibly witty lyrics paired with Dave-1’s sexy voice will for sure put a giant smile on your face.



You’ll like Chromeo regardless, but even more so if you listen to: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Atmosphere, or Holy Ghost!


Other dance party favorites to check out at Outside Lands:
  • Disclosure: This is a given, with them blowing up recently and playing the main stage before Kanye; they’re transforming live electronic music at such ripe ages, they are a 100% must-see.
  • Gorgon City: You can expect these guys to turn the Heineken House into a deep house party, which I have no problem with.
  • Jagwar Ma: Their music is very reminiscent of the bands we loved in the early ‘90s. They’re sure to set the mood for Saturday to a cheerful start.
  • Haim: I can’t say enough good things about the sisters Haim. Check out why they were number 1 on my Coachella list here.
  • Holy Ghost!: A perfect opening and dance warm-up for Chromeo because there is no such thing as too much funk.
  • Gold Panda: They are responsible for that catchy beat behind Charli XCX’s “You (Ha Ha Ha),” so you can expect an entire set of uplifting tracks.
  • Tiësto: well, DUH!


Don’t forget to check out our Guide to Outside Lands FoodWhat bands are you planning your schedule around this year? 


Colleen Viana holds a Master’s Degree in Media Studies from the New School. 

Your biggest fan, brunch buddy, and online BFF. Consider me your wing woman for brand success.


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