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SF to Host Huge Free Downtown Concerts in 2024?

The team behind Outside Lands wants to bring three big free annual concerts to downtown SF… but there’s a catch.
By - posted 6/14/2023 No Comment

Another Planet Entertainment (APE), the Bay Area concert production company behind venues like Fox Theater, Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival, announced Tuesday a proposal to bring free outdoor concerts to historic plazas in downtown San Francisco.

The plan would bring musical acts to three notable locations downtown for three years beginning in 2024 — Civic Center Plaza, Union Square and Embarcadero Plaza.

But these free concerts would only come if the city approves the big 65,000-strong additional annual ticketed concerts in Golden Gate Park the week following Outside Lands.

The concert series fits into Mayor London Breed’s goals to transform downtown San Francisco into a stronger global destination, including leading arts and culture events.

The free concerts are included as part of a permit request by APE to host additional ticketed concerts in Golden Gate Park’s Polo Fields — the location of Outside Lands — for three years beginning in 2024. The ticketed concerts would occur the weekend after Outside Lands in August and use some of its infrastructure. However, the concerts would be separate events from Outside Lands with smaller, headliner-focused performances.

While the downtown concerts would be free, the Polo Fields concerts would be ticketed. Breed said that charging permit fees of $1.4 million for a two-day event and $2.1 million for a three-day event would allow the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department to continue to offer programming and care for its facilities.

The city currently faces a two-year budget deficit of $780 million.

Read more about the proposal

“The proposed Polo Field concerts would generate crucial funding for our parks and programs,” said Recreation and Park general manager Phil Ginsburg in a press release.

Outside Lands has pumped more than $1 billion into San Francisco’s economy since it began in 2008, according to Breed’s office.

The concert proposals will be tentatively heard by the Board of Supervisors on June 22.

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