I ended up in the medical tent at Outside Lands. Here’s what happened.

As soon as I pulled up to 30th Avenue and Fulton Street for San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music Festival, I knew something was off. 

I felt dizzy, nauseated and light-headed. The ground acted like a treadmill under my feet, swaying and moving with each step. 

My sickness wasn’t exactly a surprise. I have a pre-existing condition that affects my gastrointestinal tract and have experienced dizzying moments before. I knew I needed medical attention — and fast.

Within moments of passing through the security gates, I walked with haste to the Rock Medicine tent, located on the southwestern edge of the park, just past the medical popup tent and through the tunnel.

“I have a condition,” I told the intake nurse. “I feel so stupid for even be here.” (Editor’s note: We told Michelle not to be here.)

“You are not stupid at all,” she reassured me, completely sans judgement. “We’ll help you.” 

Rock Medicine, which runs the Outside Lands medical station, was founded more than 40 years ago after Bill Graham asked the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics to help out at Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin concerts. It’s still going strong today. 

The medical care is completely free and confidential. It’s staffed completely by a volunteer crew of medical providers. They are the real heroes of Outside Lands. 

Within minutes, after listing off my prescription medications and conditions, the registered nurse took my pulse and started hooking me up to an IV. They also gave me anti-nausea medicine.

“It’s better you’re here than the emergency room,” the nurse told me. “You’d have been waiting for three hours.” 

I couldn’t have agreed more. The staff was incredibly friendly and thoughtful. They brought me blankets and came back to take my vitals every 20 minutes or so.

As the IV bag dripped, I started asking questions. 

“What sort of ailments do you typically see in here?” I asked my caretaker. 

“Mostly alcohol and multi-substance use issues,” she said. “But it gets dark, and people trip and fall, so there’s various injuries we see as well.”

I can’t imagine being in better hands than those of the staff at Rock Medicine. My nurse commuted all the way from Rocklin, Calif., a nearly two-hour drive each way. 

Rock Medicine is the official medical provider at Levi’s Stadium. It can also be found at Napa’s Bottlerock, Tahoe’s Snowglobe and even San Francisco’s Pride Parade and Bay to Breakers. Their ethos is “setting the standard in non-judgmental medical care,” a philosophy they displayed in spades in their dealings with me. 

After the IV dripped to completion, my nurse returned and asked how I felt. I said, “Just fine. I’m ready to get back out there.” 

They gave me the green light to do so, but made me promise one thing: “Come back if you start feeling sick again.” 

More Outside Lands coverage:

Tips from Day One of San Francisco’s Outside Lands: Be prepared to cry

The best OSL set of Day One had an awkward ‘San Fran’ chant

Outside Lands headliners appear to mock SF vaccine rules

The hottest trend at San Francisco’s Outside Lands is moo-tastic

Ubers leaving Outside Lands were very, very expensive

Outside Lands performer surprises by playing ‘Full House’ parody video in San Francisco

Outside Lands artist brings daughter onto stage, crowd swoons

Marc Rebillet cancels Outside Lands show, Reggie Watts take his place and endorses medicinal ketamine


Christin Hakim

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