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REI Outessafest is gonna be here before you know it, you guys! Happening over the course of two sessions, the first is taking place in our fair city of DC on September 29th, while the second will be held in North Carolina’s Shakori Hills on October 20th. And in addition to offering outdoor yoga, rock climbing and wilderness survival crash courses as part of the agenda, both have INCREDIBLE musical lineups.

The festival’s slogan is “Women Outside & Amplified”, and that’s in part because the bands selected to perform are all 100% female-fronted. (See also: AMAZING!) And it just so happens that all of the bands have created some of my favorite all-time tracks, so I decided to put together Spotify playlists highlighting my absolute top picks for which ones they’ll include in their setlists during Outessa.


The lineup changes up a bit when the festival moves to North Carolina, but there is some overlap. SO, I’ll be talking about DC’s lineup in particular, but several of these acts will be headed to NC if you’re planning on making the trip!

Here are my top seven I-REALLY-HOPE-THEY-PLAY-THIS-SONG picks:

We kick things off with Seratones‘ “Choking on Your Spit”, which is a track off the band’s debut record, Get Gone. Two years after its release, it’s still my go-to for the musical equivalent of a heavily caffeinated beverage. (Just try to hold still while listening to it. YOU CANNOT.)

Next is OSHUN’s “Burn”, which is decidedly slower but HELLA COOL. I could listen to this on repeat forever. It’s like getting stoned on a really expensive couch in really ambient lighting.

Our third pick is Pvris‘ “Holy”, which is just the most shimmering little downbeat gem!

And that one is followed up by one of my ABSOLUTE favorite songs ever, aka “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” by the inimitable Lucy Dacus! Seriously, so good. This is what I would listen to if I time traveled back to high school and decided to drop out in a very dramatic fashion. (It would play as I walked away in slow motion, on my way to some bigger and better things.)

Next up is Palehound’s “Cinnamon”! I fucking love Palehound, I don’t really know what else to say! If you’re not on the Palehound train, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG!

And track numero seis comes from Brazilian Girls in the form of “Pirates”! This one is just good good good all around. It makes me want to snap my fingers in the city on an overcast day in fall.

Finally, Bat Fangs‘ “Mercury” puts a nice little bow on the whole shebang. It just feels like the perfect closer, yeah? Like this is 100% a turn-out-the lights track. So good.

In sum, even if my top tunes don’t make it into each band’s setlist, I fucking love ALL of them, and I can’t wait to catch them all in the same space in a month or two while doing yoga and scaling walls and learning how to make fire, etc. Grab your tickets now, and SEE YOU THERE!