Lollapalooza wrapped up in Grant Park on Sunday with a lineup that included artists from Chicago Horsegirl and Beach Bunny and late-night bold names Green Day and J-Hope – the latter being the first K-pop headliner. of a major American music festival.
Chicago’s biggest music festival has had an eventful four days, with main sets from Metallica and Dua Lipa, and fewer for 2022. Despite high rates of COVID-19 locally, Lollapalooza didn’t require mask-wearing or vaccination upon entry, in accordance with standards established by the Chicago and Illinois Departments of Public Health; these requirements were topical last year.
Still unanswered on Sunday was whether the festival would return to the lakeside for 2023. Texas-based company C3 Presents, a division of Live Nation, was still negotiating its contract with the city.
Jim Wright was with a group of Chicagoans watching Horsegirl in the early afternoon at the north end of Grant Park, standing on the asphalt at Tito’s stage. They had heard of the young band from Chicago but had never seen them live before. “It would be exciting,” he said, “to see them later in a smaller room” — with more privacy and less scorching sun.
Losing Lolla would be a blow to the city, the friends agreed, although Chicago hosts other festivals, such as Pitchfork and Riot Fest. The biggest impact could be economic, they said.
Lollapalooza had a total impact on Chicago’s economy of $305.1 million last year, according to research by research firm AngelouEconomics commissioned by C3. It also paid $7.8 million in rent and fees in 2021 to the Chicago Park District, and “directly and indirectly employed 16,804 workers,” the report said.
According to attendance figures provided on Sunday, Lollapalooza did not sell out on Thursday but did on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with a capacity of 100,000 attendees.
“Honestly, the headliners are less interesting,” said Tony Seaman, who is part of the band watching Horsegirl. These are the other groups of the formation that they came to see. He showed a list on his phone of their music diary over their four days and said he planned to listen to more of these acts after the festival.
Then, with the Chicago skyline beaming behind the Bud Light stage, rapper Erika Banks had the crowd screaming. Festival-goers cheered as Banks laughed alongside his audience: “I’m going to be honest with you all, I’m showing up so hard with you all my wig is about to come off.”
Fans entered the crowd already dancing as Banks asked her whether or not she could “bring some girls on stage”.
“Yes you can, it’s an Erika Banks show,” said a male voice on stage. The rapper spotted a line of girls who were brought on stage to dance with her for her latest song — “Buss it,” a strip club anthem that fueled several TikTok trends after its release.
“Every time my girls go on stage, I need the crowd to cheer them on. So I need the crowd to shout, throw that (expletive),” Banks shouted. The crowd cheered Banks and his dancers from impromptu background for a song that began with a snippet of Nelly’s “Hot in Herre”.
On the CoinBase stage, R&B singer and rapper Audrey Nuna had the crowd rocking side-by-side in unison to the song “Molars.” Nuna said, “I have a tooth tattoo on my leg, so I wrote this next song about teeth and feelings.”
Nuna followed with a performance of singles “Souffle” and “Blossom,” ending the latter song by exclaiming, “Thank you grandma for being on this song with me. At the end of “Blossom”, Nuna’s grandmother’s voice can be heard in Korean – Nuna has previously stated that her work was inspired by her grandmother.
Although she’s never heard Nuna’s music, Bianca Lopez, who was attending Lollapalooza for the first time since the pandemic, said she could qualify as a fan by the end of the set.
Lopez, who attended all four days of the festival, called for more diversity in future Lollapalooza lineups.
“I was here with my friends who came here quite early because they wanted to camp (before J-Hope). It shows that audiences love diverse artists and I think we should diversify Lolla a bit more, like more Latino artists, more Asian artists,” Lopez said.
Manuel Osario, who attended Nuna’s performance with Lopez, noted a less chaotic Lollapalooza experience this year.
“It’s definitely a lot cooler this year. I feel like pre-pandemic it was pretty hectic in terms of the number of people and how the interactions were on stage. I just remember a few years ago when 21 Savage came along, we weren’t even at the front and it was like, the number of people you couldn’t even breathe. And I feel like now it’s a bit more like people give you your space unless you’re right in front.
That said, on Saturday, fans pouring past the stages interrupted sets by Chicago rapper Lil Durk and Big Sean. Artists and stage managers Solana x Perry’s and T-Mobile, respectively, took action to keep crowds back and make way as security removed those in distress. Security members in yellow shirts are also throwing water boxes with a show of hands into the mosh pits.
“We don’t want anyone fainting. We don’t want any deaths,” Sean said. “We want this here to be 100% safe.”
The public safety focus may have been sparked by the Astroworld tragedy in Houston last year, when 10 fans died in an overcrowded crowd to see rapper Travis Scott.
Lil Durk reported on social media that he was injured by pyrotechnics during his set; videos show him holding his shirt to his face after stage explosions apparently occurred right in front of him. He then posted photos of his face and blindfolded. “Due to the incident that occurred at Lollapalooza in Chicago onstage, I will be taking a break and focusing on my health,” he wrote.
Security was another Lollapalooza topic, with the festival taking place less than a month after the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park. Police have been a constant, albeit mostly background, presence inside and outside the fence (as of 2021, the city’s Office of Emergency Management has not released numbers on arrests or deaths). medical transport only after the festival).
In addition to uniformed police walking and biking the field, there were officers on Polaris vehicles patrolling in camouflage gear, badged as FBI and counterterrorism teams. Although not authorized to speak officially, an officer told the Tribune that they had also been to Lollapalooza for the past few years.
Although no theft figures were available, the Tribune learned anecdotally of multiple instances of pickpocketing at the festival.
Luke Laurence, a student at the University of Chicago at Lollapalooza to help cover student newspaper Chicago Maroon, said his phone was removed from his pocket in a mosh pit for the 100 Gecs on Thursday before he even realized what happened. had passed. He knew other people who had also lost phones.
When he went to the Apple Store in Lincoln Park for a replacement, the staff were knowledgeable to advise him.
“They told me to go to AT&T first to get a new SIM card and then come back,” Laurence said. “They said, ‘We’ve been dealing with this all day. “”
Los Angeles indie band The Marías grabbed attention late afternoon on the Tito’s stage, starting with a sultry live take of “Calling U Back” from their 2021 album “Cinema.” .
“This is our first Lollapalooza,” singer María Zardoya said to cheers. “It’s the first time I’ve attended Lollapalooza. We are the Marías, thank you very much!”