Last week thousands of people attended Chicago’s Lollapalooza, the 4-day music festival held at Grant Park. This year, there were things we loved about Lolla and there were things that made us wonder if we’ll attend Lolla next year.
Let’s start by talking about the good. Personally, I think Lolla still does a pretty good job of providing a diverse lineup. From Arctic Moneys, to Herobust, to Chromeo, there were some amazing performances this year! But who captured my heart? It would have to be the EDM God himself, EXCISION! With the anticipation of his new album Apex, dropping August 14th, fans were showered with new visuals, drops, and of course a performance of X’s collaboration with Illenium “Stupid Love.” One thing’s for sure, this performance has me even more hyped for Lost Lands!
Runner up: The Weeknd. His vocals, his captivating lyrics, and his stage presence has gained him a lot of popularity over the past five years and it isn’t hard to see why.
As with almost every Lolla, this year was HOT! With high humidity and temperatures reaching over 90 degrees, the CTA Cooling bus was a gift from the Universe! Not only were you provided with some life-changing AC, you could also charge your phone.
So, let’s talk about the bad. Many Chicago natives have repeatedly chosen not to attend Lollapalooza. Year after year, many attendees, and non-attendees voice their frustrations over the fact that Lolla is an all ages event. Some believe younger festival goers have changed the scene for the worse; from young teenagers being carted out, to numerous fights, Lolla has received a reputation for having an overall lack of positive vibes and reckless behavior. But, would making Lolla 18+ or as some are suggesting, 21+ make much of a difference? Personally, I have to say yes.
According to The Chicago Tribune, 160 people were taken to the hospital and 12 people were arrested. While these numbers are seemingly high, they are actually lower than last year. In 2017, 234 people were hospitalized and 27 people were arrested. However, in comparison, there was an increase in teenagers being transported to the hospital and treated for alcohol and drug-related issues.
Two teens also lost their lives this year. Evan Kitmiller, honor roll student from Mundelein was found unresponsive Sunday night after having a seizure. He later passed away at Northwestern Memorial high school. Evan had saved up all summer just to be able to buy his Wristband for Lollapalooza. The actual cause of death is still unknown. Sincere Ash, a 17 year was struck by a Metra train and was found around 6:00pm. Sincere had worked at a youth day camp and was known as a free spirit.
While many festival attendees love relaxed security lines, I was slightly thrown off by the lack of security searches (especially on Sunday). Not only did I walk in without myself or my bag being checked, (even after beeping while walking through the metal detectors) so did countless others before and after me. As a response to the Vegas massacre as a Country Music festival last year, this year there was an increased police presence as well as bag restrictions.
Back in April, there was a concern over low ticket sales, but as I said back then, this is Lollapalooza, and rather you love it or hate it, C3 knows how to promote and put on one hell of a festival. While heading to Lolla, a friend of mine told me he was going to purchase a wristband, While sitting in our Uber, he tried to purchase tickets through the official website. Well… they were SOLD OUT! Having attended Lolla for many years, years in which tickets have sold out within MINUTES, I am no stranger to this dilemma. Luckily the Congress hotel has a pop-up StubHub pod right across from Grant Park… it a genius idea really! I asked him what he paid for his ticket, $233 after taxes and fee. Honestly not a bad price for waiting until the last minute.
While I don’t foresee Lolla enforcing any age restrictions, something does need to happen in order to ensure a safe and fun festival experience for all attendees. For those of you planning on attending Lollapalooza next year, it is set to take place August 1st-4th 2019.