Here are some tips for making the most out of the Outside Lands experience:
1. DON'T DRIVE!: Traffic will be a mess and parking will be worse. And taking a taxi can be a pricey proposition. Instead, take public transit; options are listed on the festival website, www.sfoutsidelands.com or such public transit sites as Muni (www.sfmta.com). Or bike it. There will be valet and self-parking options for bikers.
2. IF YOU MUST DRIVE ... Have a game plan for where you plan to park. You don't want to miss that band you really want to see while you circle the park for the fifth time.
3. WATER, WATER: It's a long day; keep hydrated. A good bet is to use the festival's refillable water program -- it is intended to help cut down on the waste that comes from purchasing plastic bottles. There are two options. First is to purchase a stainless steel water bottle on-site (or bring your bottle purchased at a previous Outside Lands festival) and then receive free refills of spring water during the festival. The second is to bring your own container and purchase the refills.
4. YUM!: Get "A Taste of the Bay Area" -- Come hungry to the festival and pick from an amazing selection of offerings from local restaurants.
5. REMEMBER THE WEATHER: Summer in San Francisco often means you have no idea what it's going to be like outside until you get there. Plan accordingly with layers of clothes. Sunblock's not a bad idea, either. If you need to get out of the sun for a while, go hang out in the DJ Dome and enjoy the shade (plus some electronic music). And when evening comes and the fog takes root, you can bet it will get nippy. Be prepared, no one wants to watch Kanye West tear into "Stronger" when they're too busy shivering to enjoy it.
6. HAVE A GAME PLAN: Figure out your own must-see acts and then draw up your own daily schedule. Remember, the festival grounds are large and various sets can be a 20-minute walk apart. So a game plan will save you time and help you avoid the unpleasant occurrence of realizing an act you were dying to see starts in 2 minutes and is at the other end of the festival. Set times are now available on the festival's website, www.sfoutsidelands.com.
Follow Jim Harrington at http://twitter.com/jimthecritic.