The annual Outside Lands Festival has come and gone, leaving behind memories of high-energy performances and the scent of gourmet treats. The aftermath of the music extravaganza still lingers as participants reminisce on their favorite acts. Whether you come for the assortment of musical styles or to indulge in deep fried pickles, there is always something for everyone to enjoy. Below is a recap of just some of the memorable acts that rocked the event.

Day 1 – Friday

The weather wasn’t exactly cooperating with Outside Lands as festivalgoers were met with cloudy skies and a slight chill. However, the musicians helped warm the atmosphere. The Panhandle stage offered the sounds of The Limousines – a Bay Area band that delivered pure electronica and the intrigue of masked drummers. A cover of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” set the listeners in the right mood.

A huge crowd gathered to listen to the set of the Welsh trio Joy Formidable, which combined thumping bass drums, melodic vocals, and mid-song commentary. Their set only consisted of six songs, but each one ran more than five minutes long – proving to the crowd they are worthy of a place on the larger stages.

The crowd gyrated as Sarah Barthel of Phantogram shared her stomp-like dancing techniques, as the group offered a set that included “Mouthful of Diamonds,” “You Are The Ocean,” and “When I’m Small.” The combination of interesting music and visual entertainment from Toro Y Moi drew a crowd response that included shaking and dancing. The group, which includes two keyboardists, a bassist and a drummer, played “Still Sound” to an upbeat crowd.

By the end of the day, headliner Phish, offered a collection of upbeat, pop-like tunes that the mixed crowd of diehard fans and interested listeners devoured. They played for 3 ½ hours – demonstrating they still have one of the most impressive displays of performance – continuing from start to finish with the same energy.

Day 2 – Saturday

The sun decided to take a front row seat to the festivities on Day 2 of the Outside Lands Festival, which included a growing hometown crowd that showed their appreciation for the San Francisco-based The Stone Foxes. On the Twin Peaks Stage, the British band The Vaccines performed the band’s cover of The Standells’ “Sometimes Good Guys Wear White” and “Norgaard” – receiving high praise.

The Chicago rock band OK Go performed on the main Lands End Stage – complete with hand bells, white gloves, and a solo performance that took place in the crowd. During their set, big hits such as “Get Over It,” “Here It Goes Again,” and “A Million Ways” filled the air. The Arctic Monkeys squeezed in about 15 songs into their one-hour set, and their energy and enthusiasm was definitely felt by the crowd. Their finale included “When The Sun Goes Down,” which prompted crowd surfing and high levels of participation.

For hip hop lovers, The Roots did not disappoint. They tore through upbeat tunes and the occasional rock tribute – making the crowd dance and admire their musical talent. Their set actually ran over 10 minutes, but by the end of the day – no one minded.

The English alternative rock band Muse attracted a neverending crowd of fans that extended from the main stage to the end of Polo Field. The band played “Undisclosed Desires,” “Time is Running Out,” “Starlight,” and “United States of Eurasia,” which was accompanied by images of political statements displayed on two large video screens. The release of large balloons into the crowd capped off their encore.

Day 3 – Sunday

The third day of the Outside Lands Festival continued the energetic and satisfying pace of Friday and Saturday. The opening noon act was a hometown group called the Fresh & Onlys. They played to a relaxing atmosphere (with their song “Waterfall”), but soon recharged the crowd by delivering the lively “Peacock and Wing.”

The versatility of Merrill Garbus of the colorful tUnE-yArDs illuminated the crowd with her live music explosion that incorporated drums, vocals, face paint, and an ukelele. The classy soulful sounds of Mavis Staples were fully embraced, including “I’ll Take You There” – a song she sung during her Staple Singers days.

Sweden’s Little Dragon certainly captivated audiences with hits, such as “Please Turn” and “Ritual Union,” as well as with frontwoman Yukimi Nagano, who entertained the crowds while bouncing about and dancing to the beat. Beirut offered additional international flair with Balkan rhythms delivered by way of accordion. To finish off the last day of Outside Lands entertainment, Arcade Fire sent listeners afire, causing many to jump up and down, chant, and mosh.

Overall, another successful Outside Lands Festival has taken place at Golden Gate Park. Next year, act fast to take advantage of ticket discounts so you don’t miss out on whatever promoters have up their sleeve. What was your favorite part of 2011 Outside Lands?

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