As we move into the third day of the 2009 version of the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco, the number of memorable musical moments are already piling up. Pearl Jam delivered a veteran set, Black Eyed Peas moved thousands to collective euphoria and the Mars Volta absolutely scorched Golden Gate Park. But there has been one particular performance that has really stuck with me, and luckily I've been able to see it again and again. And it's not even from a band listed on the official lineup — rather, it's the Outside Lands theme song, sung by a couple of puppets.
This video plays periodically before the main stage bands appear, and it's a fantastic little bluegrass ditty that name-checks many of the groups at the show. It's gotten stuck in my head more than once this weekend, but the real joy is the accompanying video, in which three puppets play the tune using jugband instruments. The vocals are handled by Ranger Dave, who acts as a sort of patron saint of Outside Lands (he even "writes" the festival's official Twitter). Washboard duties are handled by some sort of small woodland creature (a beaver perhaps?), while the banjo playing is left up to a bison. The bison is the power animal of this weekend's festival, showing up in much of the literature and artwork (the passes MTV News has been using all weekend are even labeled "Bison"). It's a reference to a famous herd of bison who live in a paddock in the park.
In between conducting interviews with stars and catching some sweet music, this video has made me laugh every time. Maybe I'm just wrapped up in the energy of the weekend, but you can decide for yourself.