Ah, the time has come for my annual Lollapalooza recap!
This was Lolla’s 25th anniversary, so to celebrate, the festival extended from three days to four days. This apparently is a permanent change, as next year’s dates, announced on Sunday (Aug. 3-6) also cover four days. Anyway, originally I hoped to get a four day pass, but the lottery gods did not smile on me when four day passes went on sale, so I settled for, once again, just going to the festival on Sunday. (And, truth be told, given Thursday and Friday’s weather, I’m quite glad I only had a pass for Sunday.)
We had great weather at Lolla when I went in 2013, but for the past two years, I’ve put up with rain and/or festival-evacuating storms. When I saw the forecast for Sunday, which called for no rain and highs in the low 80s, I couldn’t have been more pleased. I have definitely paid my Lolla dues and felt it was high time that I enjoy the festival under some sun rather than under my umbrella.
I drug my feet getting ready and to the festival on Sunday, which meant I arrived a lot later than usual. This, in turn, meant I waited a LOT longer in line to get in. It took me 50 minutes to get into the festival, by which point I had missed all of Lindsey Stirling and most of Years and Years. Sad day. But, now I know that I can’t arrive at 2:45 and expect to get in quickly, and I’ll adjust accordingly in the future.
Once I did get in, I made a beeline for the first bar I encountered, where, after waiting for what felt like hours for the people in front of me to figure out how to pay for their wine, finally got my hands on water. I had brought a water bottle, but after last year’s horrific water bottle filling lines (where I waited 45 minutes to fill up a water bottle I’d down in just as much time, if not less), I didn’t want to risk wasting any time and happily paid $2 (a lot less than I expected, to be honest) for a can (??) of water.
Is this a thing? I’ve never seen canned water before. Drinking it was a bizarre experience. I kept expecting flavor or carbonation, but instead just got…water (which makes sense, as that’s what was in there). It did also make me feel a little bit cooler than normal, walking around *almost* looking like I was drinking a beer.
Years and Years were playing the Lakeshore stage, which is on the complete opposite end of Grant Park from where I entered. By the time I got there, I didn’t feel like I had enough time to really post up for their set before Halsey went on after them, so instead I went over to the Samsung stage where she would be playing (right across the field from the Lakeshore stage) and set up there, though not before stopping at a water bottle filling station…
…which, as you can see, had no line whatsoever. Figures.
As those of you who meticulously chronicle my movements may remember, I saw Halsey play Lolla last year as well. She played the BMI stage last year, which is the smallest stage at Lolla and generally where they stick the least-known acts. I had read, however, that Halsey was the most talked about artist on Twitter at SXSW in 2015, so I decided to see her set at the BMI stage, just in case she got big, so I could say I was there. (I’m the literal worst.) I knew a few of her songs and generally felt weird being at the set, since I wasn’t a rabid fan like most of the people around me. In the past year, however, I got more into Halsey, and was super excited to see her perform on one of the festival’s main stages.
She was great (as were the screens this year! Holy smokes, you could be so far back and still see everything!). I thought she did an awesome job, and I particularly like when she asked who had seen her at the BMI stage last year, and patted Past Bethany on the back for her excellent decision making in 2015 😛
I wasn’t particularly interested in anyone playing during the 5:00 hour, so after Halsey I headed to Chow Town to get some food, ultimately deciding on Bao to the Pork at the Pork & Mindy’s stand, as I’ve heard fantastic things about that place but have never been myself.
And then I was headed right back to the Samsung stage for Flume, who I have now seen live five times, making him FAR and away my most frequently seen artist. I actually don’t think I’ve missed a show of his in Chicago since 2013, come to think of it. Anyway, two years ago he played the Pepsi stage at Lolla, which is the second smallest stage at the festival, so it was also cool to see him “graduate” to main stage, if you will (and a bit strange, if I’m being honest. I know Never Be Like You has probably been his most successful mainstream song, and it’s kind of crazy to think that this guy I saw on a Tuesday at the Metro three years ago is now big enough to play a main stage at Lolla during the 6:00 hour. I think this is the first time I actually, genuinely, got into someone before they were cool. I can’t wait for my hipster card to arrive in the mail!). This year was a far more enjoyable experience for me, if for no other reason than the fact that I did not have any 17 year olds mercilessly trying to grind with me, which is what happened the last time I saw Flume at Lolla. He also brought out both Vic Mensa and Vince Staples, and everyone loved that.
Once again, there was no one that particularly interested me after Flume’s set, so I spent some time walking around, trying to convince myself I didn’t want ice cream (I swear, I have never seen so many people walking around eating ice cream at Lolla) until the Lolla app sent me a push notification alerting me to the fact that there was, indeed, ice cream for sale in Chow Town (as if that hadn’t been obvious enough from the hundreds of people with ice cream cones). I considered that as good of a sign as any that I needed ice cream, and promptly made my way to Kilwin’s for some salted caramel.
Best $5 I’ve ever spent on one scoop of ice cream.
LCD Soundsystem and Ellie Goudling headlined on Sunday, and, although neither particularly interested me (are we sensing a theme here?), I decided Ellie Goulding sounded like the best option out of the two, and hung out near the back for half of her set before calling it a day and heading home for the night.
Out of my four Lollas, this one definitely was the weakest from a music standpoint for my personal preferences, but I still enjoyed myself. I do really like festival atmospheres, and honestly, I don’t think anything will ever top Lolla for me in that department. I know it’s expensive, but the quality of the event as a whole is unparalleled, in my opinion, and I’m definitely looking forward to the first weekend in August in 2017 🙂
Anyone else go to Lolla this year? Or ever?