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Golden Gate Park fans ‘bummed’ as concrete field revealed after Outside Lands

On Sept. 7, 2022, Lindsey Pych walks her two corgis past a segment of the Golden Gate Park Polo Field that has been covered in cement. Pych was 'bummed' to discover that the cement is meant to support the stage at the annual Outside Lands music festival and not benefit the public. | Matthew Kupfer/The Standard

Golden Gate Park users are “bummed” after spotting that the Polo Field has been partially paved over with concrete after the Outside Lands Festival.

Lindsey Pych takes her two corgis for a walk around the Polo Field three times a week and recently noticed the western end of the oval-shaped field is now a solid gray in contrast to the rest of the green field. 

The concrete patch is meant to better support the Lands End stage of the annual music festival and was paid for with $400,000 from festival organizers.

The concrete was laid after the 2021 festival but park users took notice after this year’s party damaged it. Repairs are ongoing, the city’s recreation and parks department told the Sunset Beacon.

The paved area is eliciting mixed reactions from locals, many of who didn’t know why the city poured over part of the field.

“Now that I know what it’s for, I’m a little bummed,” Pych said. “I hoped it would be something for the community.”

A bicyclist rides past repair work on the concrete west end of the Golden Gate Park Polo Field in San Francisco on Sept. 7, 2022. The concrete was installed to support the stage of the annual Outside Lands music festival but was damaged during the 2022 event. | Matthew Kupfer/The Standard

The three-day festival attracts around 200,000 music lovers to Golden Gate Park every August. It generates millions of dollars in revenue for the city’s recreation and parks department, but it also requires significant organizational work and leaves a physical mark on the park.

The San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks previously told the Sunset Beacon newspaper that frequent usage and damp weather had left the land on the field’s west end weak and required them to close the area for renovations in November.

Beyond better supporting the Lands End stage, the concrete slab will also be a good location for ticket booths, food stalls, and referee areas at sporting events and concerts, a Rec and Parks employee told the Beacon.

James Carroll takes his dog, Jax, for a walk at the Golden Gate Park Polo Field, near the site of a renovation funded by the Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco on Sept. 7, 2022. | Matthew Kupfer/The Standard

James Carroll was walking his labrador retriever, Jax, around the field on Wednesday afternoon. He said he didn’t know much about the plans for the field, but said the city had done an “amazing job” maintaining the park after Outside Lands.

“I was here a week after and everything was better than before,” he said while trying to stop Jax from rolling in goose feces.

Before the renovations, the land on the field's west end was easily damaged and frequently muddy, according to Daniel Montes, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department communications manager.

Montes said the renovation would, in fact, benefit the community. "Field users at sports events throughout the year will now have a place to stage check-in tents, referee areas, and food concessions," he wrote in an email to The Standard. "In addition to Outside Lands, each year the fields host lacrosse tournaments, soccer tournaments, and the Ultimate Frisbee Tournament."

According to Montes, the field had not been used for polo in roughly 10 years.

Outside Lands operator, Another Planet Entertainment, was contacted for comment.

This story has been updated with comments from Daniel Montes, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department communications manager.