First Look review: Crowded, wild and rainy, Lollapalooza succeeds again thanks to the music

this article was written for The Real Chicago magazine: http://therealchicago.com/2014/08/06/first-look-review-crowded-wild-and-rainy-lollapalooza-succeeds-again-thanks-to-the-music/

Quick thoughts: This was my third visit to Lollapalooza, and I was thankful I had some previous experience and knew what to expect. I knew to bring my own baby wipes and napkins for when the toilet paper ran out and the hand sanitizer machines were broken. I knew to wear extra, extra sunblock. I knew to bring a poncho, because every year, without fail, Lollapalooza gets rained on. Maybe it’s all of the teenaged girls in Native American headdresses doing rain dances, but you should always expect it to pour at least one of the three days. One major word of caution to future Lolla attendees: The hand sanitizers by the port-o-potties started running out the first night… and were never refilled.

Best sets: The rain didn’t seem to ruin the shows. If anything, it inspired a sort of connectivity. At one point during Sunday’s show, Cage the Elephant lead vocalist Matthew Shultz told the crowd that it rained last time they played Lollapalooza, and it’s only fitting that it rains again. He feels one with the crowd because of it. This was right before he proceeded to jump straight into the front row while singing. That man definitely knows how to put on a show.

Lolla 2014

Some of the best shows ended up being the smaller ones, where the crowds were really feeling each other and the performance. Blood Orange played a great set; everyone watching the show around The Grove, a smaller stage, was dancing and enjoying themselves. The small stage area, combined with being surrounded by people who like the same music you do, really enhanced the mood. This show was a complete contrast to larger ones like Zedd at Perry’s stage. While his music may be awesome to listen to, you really had to worry about drunk people smashing into you and fights breaking out in the crowd. At that point, your favorite Lollapalooza sets may ultimately depend on what kind of concerts you’re used to attending.

hat surprised me: Lollapalooza really seemed like six different music festivals being held in the same area at the same time. Completely different types of people pushed together through the crowded streets of Grant Park to find their favorite performers. Girls in sparkly bras and tutus and fuzzy boots, guys in snapbacks and tanktops, people in costume, macrame shirts and long, flowing dresses — all sorts of styles showed up at the festival. While only some of the stages and musicians interested me, I made sure to stop by as many shows as I could over all three days to seek out as many new experiences as possible. I felt like I was at an indie rock music concert during Hozier, at an EDM concert during Martin Garrix, and everything in between at various other stages. From hardcore rap to intense electronic to strong female vocals, the whole festival catered to a huge audience.

What I would change if I could: I wish there was some way for me to sneak into those VIP platinum-pass areas just so I could use the bathrooms. If you haven’t realized yet, I had a major problem with the toilets. From vomit, to over-flowing pee, to gag-inducing smells, I really wish there was something Lollapalooza could do to fix about that. I’m actually very proud of the fact that on the last day, I only used the port-o-potties once!

me and Zoe

Lasting memories: My favorite memory of this year’s festival is when my best friend and I dressed up on the first day as witches and wore big black witch hats. We had so many people ask to take pictures with us and were even interviewed by a TV station. That’s definitely a day I will never forget!

Lollapalooza 2014 ended up being a crazy ride. I saw people passing out, fighting, dancing in their bras and underwear, taking almost every drug you could imagine. The music was worth everything though, and that’s what the festival is really about.

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