SF neighbors divided over proposed Polo Field concert series at Golden Gate Park

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Friday, July 21, 2023
Neighbors divided over proposed concert series at Golden Gate Park
The producer of Outside Lands wants to create a concert series at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, but neighbors are divided over the proposal.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Nearly every summer for the past 15 years, the Outside Lands music festival has taken over Golden Gate Park for a weekend in August, with seven stages worth of performers drawing in music lovers from across the state.

And next year, the producer of Outside Lands wants to piggy back off of that infrastructure to create a second, smaller concert series the weekend after, on the nearby Polo Field.

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"It's a big deal for the city, for the workers, for the restaurants who come out, it's an additional kind of a bonus after Outside Lands and we're taking a smaller footprint," Allen Scott, President of Concerts and Festivals at Another Planet Entertainment said.

But San Francisco Supervisor Connie Chan put the approval process on hold, until folks who live and work in the area could have a say.

"I'm totally against this," Cora Joseph, a neighbor said during a community meeting. "It's the noise, it's the traffic, it's the trash, it's the people peeing on my garage door. You don't need to do this."

"The traffic is just not fair to the public or to the residents," Richard Rothman, a neighbor said at the same community meeting.

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For Steve Schneider, who has lived within blocks of Golden Gate Park for three decades, he worries about losing access to the park.

"If this were a free concert, I wouldn't care at all, I think it would be fine," Schneider said. "But it's access to the park that really troubles me, losing that and I think, okay they're going to get new concerts, they're going to do more and more and more, when does it stop?"

But other neighbors believe the good outweighs the bad.

"I know a lot of people come into town for this concert and for the festival," Richard Lowden, a neighbor said. "They stay at hotels that are staffed by union members, right, we need those dollars spent here in San Francisco. People are having a good time."

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Concert promoter, Another Planet Entertainment, says based on Outside Lands numbers, they expect these concerts to generate $30 million dollars in economic impact for San Francisco.

"Plus all of the workers, the unions, security, food vendors and all of the artists themselves," Scott said.

And at a time when the city is experiencing serious budget constraints, this concert series would pay the city $1.4 million for the additional event over two days.

"And to get a bonus weekend, I mean bring it on!" Lowden said. "Right, bring it on! Let's go San Francisco, let's start having more fun! And this is exactly what that's going to do."

Before this moves forward to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for approval, there will be another community meeting on Aug. 9 at the Golden Gate Park Senior Center.

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