Outside Lands may be the only major outdoors music festival in the world where you’ll receive push notifications about your favorite acts from your iPhone, mingle with executives from trendy tech startups, and be offered gigabytes of storage instead of free beer.

It’s in San Francisco, so I expect tech companies will dominate the proceedings this year. If you’re headed out to catch the evening shows or you’re simply curious, here are some of the winning music-meets-tech moments of Outside Lands 2012:


In the Bay Area, you’re never quite free of the advertising push for cloud-based computing. SugarSync, a competitor to Google Drive, Sky Drive, and others, gets my vote for the best showing at Outside Lands for its handy recharging station near the main stage and the offer to passers-by of 10 gigabytes of free storage.

But most of all, for convincing one of its senior-level executives to don a unicorn mask and SugarSync T-shirt (pictured). Now that’s dedication.

Outside Lands Mobile Apps

Outside Lands launched its own mobile apps, which are designed to make it easier for festival-goers to get around. If you’re headed to the festival this afternoon, make sure you download either the free iPhone or Android app. The app includes maps and a list of options for food, beer, and wine. The built-in GroupMe messaging made it far easier for me to connect with friends and avoid an annoying string of Facebook messages.

If you’re lucky enough to be attending the festival today, I recommend making a list of your favorite acts via the app. You’ll receive a push notification when these artists take the stage.


The online ticketing service, where a large portion of the festival-goers purchased their passes, set up an air conditioned tent (not that we needed it, given the Icelandic temperatures this year) with live DJs, beer and wine, and a sports bar. The tent was strewn with large-screen TVs, which streamed live sports, including major league baseball.

It was never jam-packed, so proved to be the perfect chill-out spot.


PayPal’s tent was absolutely rammed this year. The online payments company set up a tent on the Polo Field where festival-goers can go to recharge devices and sip Jamba Juice. The juices and smoothies were available to buy via credit card on Here (a PayPal-owned competitor to Square).

PayPal also set up a convenience store where people could pick up sunscreen, mints, and gloves. All the proceeds from the store will be donated to charity: water and the Seva Foundation.


There is still plenty of time to listen in to the live show for free, courtesy of TuneIn. If you’re not familiar with it, TuneIn is a popular radio app for iPhone and Android and is based in Silicon Valley. 

Tune in today via the app, and you’ll still be able to catch some headline acts, including Jack White, Stevie Wonder, and Bloc Party. Check out the full lineup here.