I don’t know why, but literally the only person I know for sure is playing Lollapalooza is Lorde. I remember being excited to hear who the headliners were going to be, but as soon as it came out, I forgot. This has been a growing trend in my relationship with the festival-it’s the biggest show in town and the one I care the least about. Lollapalooza is THE festival for people from Chicago and the surrounding areas who only want to go to one concert a year. Three-day passes sold out in record time once again, which means next year we’ll get more of the same seemingly every-other-year headliners (The Killers aren’t playing this year so they’ll for sure be there in 2015, or maybe Brandon Flowers solo).
Here’s my experience from the one year I actually went. Drove up from Indiana, paid $30 to park, saw Ben Folds and The Decemberists (they played Hazards Of Love in its entirety), then left because it was raining. Bought three-day passes but skipped Saturday because Beastie Boys had to cancel and I’d already seen YYY’s. Showed up Sunday and got my nose broken ten minutes in to the day. Then didn’t see a doctor about it for a couple days because I didn’t want to miss Band Of Horses and the aforementioned Killers. So yeah, I got a pretty healthy dose of Lollapalooza in my short time there.
I saw the most drunk person I’ve ever seen in my life at 5:30pm on the Friday I went, which means he had to have imbibed a lot of those $8 beers in a very short period. It took me half an hour to get from the Bud Light stage to Chow Town to get something to eat and drink and back, during which time I had to muscle my way through about 20,000 bros in tank tops and sideways hats (only a few with aviators, probably because it was cloudy). Totally money well spent.
So who is playing this year? You can look it up yourself, but I’ll give you a few highlights: Headliners are Eminem (wtf?), Arctic Monkeys (okkkkkkk……), Outkast (reuniting to only play festivals and you can basically see them counting the money while they’re on stage), Kings Of Leon (HEY! They headlined the year I went!), Skrillex (and his haircut!), and Calvin Harris (props I would totally see Calvin Harris). So two rap acts, two rock bands (one on the way up and one on the wrong side of their career that started going downhill about a week after Youth & Young Manhood came out), and two DJ’s.
The undercard does have some appealing acts. Run The Jewels and Childish Gambino are both playing and I’d see either of them over the two hip-hop headliners. Jenny Lewis is back with a new record and she’s playing one day, but she’s also playing an aftershow at Park West, which is a much more suitable venue than an open field. Benjamin Booker will be there, but a lot of Chicagoans will have two chances to see him this week opening for Jack White, plus he just played a free show at The Empty Bottle and a show at SPACE in Evanston, so whatever-he’s really good, though. Iggy Azalea will be playing, which pretty much makes me want to kill myself. Plus she won’t have Charli XCX with her, so, like, what’s the point?
I count 24 bands or solo acts in the lineup that I’ve never heard of, so that’s good I think. Airborne Toxic Event is back, and that’s who was playing when I broke my nose. Fond memories there. Cage The Elephant is also back, and from what I remember the set they delivered when I went was the most buzzed about. That was right when “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” was out and no one really knew what to expect. They’re a much better band now than they were then, so I assume they’ll put on something spectacular during their set at 5 in the afternoon or whenever they’re playing.
After hitting two big summer festivals already this summer, I can tell you that I’m happy to not be going to Lollapalooza again. The bands don’t justify the price, the people at the fest are generally a pain to put up with, and it’s probably going to be in the 90’s the whole time. After a wonderful experience up at TURF in Toronto, and a better than expected Pitchfork, I wonder if the world really needs Lollapalooza anymore.