Who’s playing Outside Lands 2018? In this article, I take you through some potential headliners and rank how likely it is that they’ll play this year. Will they get the same acts as everyone else, or will they continue their trend of bringing fresh acts to Golden Gate Park? So far, we can safely rule out a few acts, but with a shallow pool of potential headliners, it is hard to make concrete predictions. Here's what we know for sure.

Some parameters

Right now, there seems to be a very shallow pool of headliners. Most of the festivals in the country have the same few acts at the top of the bill, as the options are extremely limited.

However, Outside Lands has shown a propensity to shy away from using the same acts as everyone else, using their late summer dates to catch acts that might not be active earlier in the summer. Last year they nabbed The Who, Gorillaz, and Metallica, three unique acts in the U.S. festival cycle. Outside Lands has also been prone to avoid bringing back acts multiple times. In their 10 year history, only two acts (The Black Keys, Dawes) have returned three times. And only two acts to date (Vance Joy, Beck) have returned before releasing new material. So they are actively looking for new acts to book.

Festivals also have what is known as a “radius clause.” It is not a hard rule, but typically acts that are playing a festival like Outside Lands will not perform in front of or after the festival within a certain amount of time.

For this exercise, we’ll say any act playing in the Bay Area between May-November is out for Outside Lands. For example, Jack White can safely be assumed out of this year’s Outside Lands because of his August 15th and August 16th shows in San Francisco. Again, there are exceptions to this rule, but we’re going to be following it just to be safe

Who can we rule out?

This year, a few names seem to be popping up everywhere.

The Killers are headlining multiple festivals (Firefly, Panorama, Bottlerock, Boston Calling) but they are out at Outside Lands due to their commitment at Bottlerock. Like we talked about, this would definitely violate the radius clause, so we can rule out the entire top line which includes Bruno Mars and Muse.

Popular rock group Arctic Monkeys are also active this year, but they have European dates that conflict with Outside Lands, as do Kendrick Lamar and Arcade Fire.

So an already thin crowd of options dwindles further down.

Jack White is also headlining multiple festivals this year, seemingly every one he can be booked at. But like we talked about before, his S.F. dates right after Outside Lands weekend safely rule him out.

Likely and potential headliners

With seemingly very few options, Who Is left?

Eminem seems to be the most logical, especially with his multiple festival dates that are already confirmed. Yes, Outside Lands tends to stray away from the typical acts that are in the yearly cycle, but I have to wonder if they’ll have any choice this year. They might also want Eminem in order to secure a strong rap presence at the fest. Last year went south in the hip-hop department after A Tribe Called Quest dropped out last minute, leaving the festival scrambling and fans upset.

It has been rumored that The Cure will be making a stop at one U.S. festival this year, and so far they haven’t appeared on any lineups. They would fit nicely into Outside Lands’ legacy spot, and they would be one of the unique bookings of the festival cycle. At this point, I would say they’re at least in the conversation to play.

Pearl Jam is another act that seems likely, as they have two open days for Outside Lands weekend in their tour. They do seem to like taking breaks between shows, and it is just as likely that they end up playing AT&T Park. But given the shallow pool of headliners, they seem to be in play with their open dates and Outside Lands’ preference to get unique headliners.

The Weeknd is another act that could end up in Golden Gate Park.

He’s playing two festivals already this year, and could be a big draw. However, he is not a fresh booking and seems to be the type of act that Outside Lands would avoid. I would categorize him as possible but not likely, just like this next group.

Probably the least likely to show up is Fleetwood Mac. They have yet to announce shows this year, but they are probably in play for Outside Lands due to their rarity and obvious draw. It would be a huge get for Outside Lands, especially as Fleetwood Mac has yet to play a festival. Like The Weekend, I would say possible but probably not likely at this point.