Marking its 20th anniversary this year, Lollapalooza lived up to its title as the best music festival in the country. It was held at Chicago’s Grant Park during the weekend of Aug. 5-7. While still staying true to its roots as an alternative/indie rock festival, this year Lollapalooza had more variety than ever, ranging from rap/hip-hop artists such as Eminen and Kid Cudi to house music like Deadmau5 and Skrillex and everything in between.
With every music festival comes crowds, but I did not expect such a huge influx of people coming into Grant Park each day. Thanks in large part to its potpourri of a lineup, Lollapalooza brought in people of all kinds from the impressively old to the incredibly young. This, at times, made the shows overwhelming — I learned fast that you needed to get to most shows at least an hour in advance to get a decent view. The oppressive heat certainly did not help comfort levels either.
Despite the scorching temperatures and crowds, however, Lollapalooza is truly a great production. This year the festival consisted of eight stages, including a stage the size of a football field under a huge tent called Perry’s which played exclusively electronica and house music. The layout was extremely organized and it really helped control the massive crowd, to an extent. Lounge areas were also provided for shade and free water refills across the area.
To save some cash (tickets came at a hefty price of $90 a day), I chose not to attend all three days, but I definitely got my money’s worth. I started off at the set of The Naked and Famous. It was a decent show, the highlight definitely being their hit song “Young Blood.”
I was really excited to see Foster the People, although thousands of others were too, making it difficult to find a comfortable place to view the show. In the past few months, this relatively new indie pop band has exploded and entered the sound waves of pop radio. Their set list was comprised of many catchy songs off their debut album Torches, including their breakout hit “Pumped Up Kicks,” but I wish the band members had just a little more of a stage presence.
Two Door Cinema Club was one of the biggest highlights for me. They possessed a great stage presence and constantly interacted with the crowd, not to mention the fact that they sounded fantastic.
Bright Eyes provided the perfect break from the madness for me, and they played a great, chill show. I ended the night at Perry’s for Afrojack and Girltalk, which was beyond crazy and ended the night on a high note.
On Saturday, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart performed a pretty good show, it was nothing extraordinary, though. Cage the Elephant was another highlight for me as I am a huge fan, and they put on a fantastic show with lots of crowd interaction; however, I was definitely not expecting their fan base to be as large or as violent as it was.
I definitely would go back to Lollapalooza. The energy this festival has is just something I cannot describe, and I strongly suggest everyone check out the festival at least once.