Last week Outside Lands Festival’s 2012 lineup was announced to “mixed” reviews. Critics say this year’s headliners including Metallica, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Skrillex, and Foo Fighters don’t compare to last year’s billing of Arcade Fire, Muse, Phish, The Shins, The Black Keys, Deadmau5, and Girl Talk. Compare Outside Lands’ lineup to Coachella, as both festivals reported similar daily attendance (60k people) in 2011, and there is no question that the latter drew more notable acts this year such as Tupac’s hologram, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg, Bon Iver, and Radiohead. Though others might say that the headliners aren’t the biggest draw. Several Reddit users remarked that one of Outside Lands’ biggest draws is its atmosphere. Located in Golden Gate Park with a huge emphasis on local restaurants and a “Wine Lands” tent, the festival has its other perks.

To add to the debate here are some notes to boot about the festival:

  • Last year marked the final year in Outside Lands Festival’s original contract with the city of San Francisco. It was important to go out with a $60-million-revenue-for-the-city bang!
  • Supplementing last year’s lineup, Outside Lands Festival had a whopping thirteen plus bands based in San Francisco (meaning, they didn’t have to pay for any travel expenses and they got the hometown crowd)
  • Two of this year’s headliners are based in or nearby the Bay Area (Metallica and Neil Young & The Crazy Hearts), while there are only six supporting bands (Geographer, Thee Oh Sees, Two Gallants, Rebelution???, Sean Hayes, and Wallpaper)
  • Father John Misty is the solo-project of J. Tillman, who is the drummer of Fleet Foxes (a little note that might booster the billing unbeknownst to many fans)
  • This is Sigur Rós first North American tour in four years, and one of three festival appearances (Lollapalooza and Osheaga Festival the other)
  • Big Boi did not perform at last year’s festival–and damn well better be performing this year (so take that 2011)
  • Last year Outside Lands featured over 30 local wineries way better than Barefoot or Yellowtail type wines you’d find at other festivals

While Outside Lands Festival may not draw big headliners like some of its comparables, one certainly can’t argue that the relatively young festival isn’t providing a different and equally amazing experience. But you tell us, where does Outside Lands Festival rank among your favorite festivals?