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Outside Lands touts $1 billion benefit to San Francisco over 15 years

Outside Lands touts $1 billion benefit to S.F. over 15 years
Outside Lands touts $1 billion benefit to S.F. over 15 years 02:55

SAN FRANCISCO -- Electronica powerhouse Odesza closed out the final night of Outside Lands which wrapped  its 15th year in San Francisco on Sunday. In that time, the festival says it has generated $1 billion for the local economy. 

Over three days, more than 225,000 people descended on Golden Gate Park for music, food and fun. 

The music festival said about half of the attendees came from outside the Bay Area. 

Outside Lands created jobs, employment and revenue for small businesses, including nearly 100 local restaurants. 

Among this year's newcomers, Alma Y Sazon, which served up its popular vegan tacos and poblano mac and cheese. 

"When we got here, it was like above and beyond our expectations because we had a line the entire time. We basically met our quota the very first day," said head creative chef Xavi Herrera. 

Herrera is part of the nonprofit incubator La Cocina, which helps up-and-coming food entrepreneurs who are women, immigrants or people of color, grow their businesses. He is one of three eateries sharing a booth. 

"I was not necessarily sure whether or not we would make a profit because Outside Lands, they take 30 percent of every sale and we just didn't have any experience working something like this," he added. 

Herrera runs the business with his wife and sister-in-law. He said each day they sold at least four times the amount of food they'd normally sell at a single-day pop-up in San Francisco's Mission District. Still, it took two days to cover his costs for the booth, food and equipment rentals. But the exposure for Alma Y Sazon has been invaluable. 

"The first day we were selling food and everything was hectic because we were finding our rhythm but, when we checked our Instagram at the end of the night, we saw so many messages that were like 'Hey can we make a post about your food?'" Herrera said. 

The city is considering a second weekend of concerts put on by Another Planet Entertainment at the Polo Fields using the Outside Lands infrastructure. That proposal will go before the Board of Supervisors in September. The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department said organizers are also planning for three downtown concerts. 

Alma Y Sazon's chef said they definitely want to return next year.

"It's definitely a music festival but I've never seen a food festival with this many places and this many options. It's amazing," Herrera said. "I feel like we're going to lead a movement where, next year, there's going to be even more vegan spots there."

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