The second day of Lollapalooza opened with questions swirling outside the gates of Grant Park about the future of the music festival in Chicago and contract talks between Texas producer C3 Presents and the city. Inside, the focus was on experience and music.
Friday’s headliners were Machine Gun Kelly, Bob Moses, Rezz and Dua Lipa. Unlike pre-pandemic summers, one-day general admission tickets have not yet sold out and are available through Sunday on the festival website. (Tickets can also be found online, some at discounted prices.)
Lollapalooza has been playing at Grant Park since 2005. His current contract, signed in 2012, was due to expire after last year’s festival, but the two sides have agreed to a one-year extension. Prior to 2005, Lollapalooza was a traveling festival founded by Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell. It has since expanded to six more countries and, recently announced, will add a Lollapalooza to Mumbai in 2023.
Of Lollapalooza fans who spoke with the Tribune, all said the music festival should stay in the city.
“I think it should be here,” said Laura Tenney, a Texas transplant now living in Chicago who was decked out in sequins and a flowing white dress. “It does so much publicity for the city, it’s a beautiful city. I think without Lollapalooza the appeal of the town would be less.
She was with friends from San Antonio who were in town for the festival. They had gone to see Whipped Cream on the Solana X Perry stage. “We don’t know anything about them but we are delighted.”
Aubrey and Abby Rivera arrived at Grant Park at 8 a.m. Friday. But when the gates opened three hours later, the sisters separated: Abby stayed in the way. Aubrey cut through the grass and trees. The two sprinted half a mile to be front row for dance pop megastar Lipa’s late-night show.
The two got a spot right along the metal barrier, where they sat on a blanket and waited through sets of performers they didn’t know well. And it was all worth it.
“I just like her confidence in her songs. I have a crush on her,” Abby, 22, said.
It appears to be the most expensive Lollapalooza to date, said Abby, which has been four times. But she doesn’t want the show to go away. “It would be disappointing because I don’t really know what else I would have to expect when it comes to music festivals,” the Edgewater resident said.
When indie rock film band Flipturn played their hit song “Chicago,” the audience went wild as expected. The Florida band had dreamed of playing the tune here.
“It was definitely a big to-do list, playing that song at Lollapalooza,” said bassist Madeline Jarman.
Flipturn will release their first full album, “Shadowglow,” in August.
As fans latched onto the beach guitar notes, the smoke from the crowd mixed with the smoke from the stage and caught a projected purple light, and Norah Buss didn’t miss a word.
“I went crazy,” said the 18-year-old South Loop resident, who had white glitter on her forehead, green glitter on her eyes and pink eyeshadow underneath. “I was just thrilled. It made me so happy. I’m from here!
The joy on her face evaporated as she heard talk of keeping Lollapalooza in town after this year hit a snag. Her heart had already broken when COVID-19 halted live concerts, she said.
“I hope Lolla is back. I think that means a lot to a lot of people,” Buss said. She gets together with other music lovers when the big show takes place in Grant Park each year, she said. The noise in her neighborhood does not bother her at all. “I feel like when I’m in Lolla, I like people more,” she said. “It’s like a little community here.”
Valentine Koprowski of Glen Ellyn has been to Lollapalooza several times. As a vaccinated participant, he said COVID-19 did not concern him. He said he liked Lolla over other festivals in town because it attracts more popular artists. Although he hasn’t heard of the ongoing contract negotiations, he said it would be a shame if the festival left Chicago.
Apart from worries about Lolla’s future in Chicago, performers and audiences continued.
Ohio-born rapper Jasiah was the opening act on the Bud Light Seltzer stage, at one point interrupting his set to dive onstage and leap into the crowd.
“Do you know what a circular pit is?” He asked. “OK. When I say run, you all run around me in a circle.
He launched into his next song. “Now run! Run!” In the jam-packed mosh pit, a crowd of teenagers five rows deep circled around him in a circle, a spectacle projected onto the video screens.
At Kidzapalooza, Chicago Bulls mascot Benny the Bull danced with the crowd. Festival-goers formed a circle, dancing to songs such as Missy Elliott’s “Lose Control” as part of the Happiness Club, which provides free performing arts education for Chicago youth. Some of the festival’s youngest participants danced and clapped.
Meanwhile, as the crowds dispersed in various directions on the Discord stage, Wes Johnson of Berwyn relaxed in the shade near the statue of Abraham Lincoln just after Wet Leg, for whom he was in front, finished to play.
“It took me back to some concerts I had seen in my youth,” he said.
The Lolla debutant said he was also delighted to see Idles on Saturday.
“It’s a good atmosphere,” he said. “I don’t know if there are more people than that, but it seems comfortable at the moment. I feel like I have a lot of space. He added that there are plenty of places around the park where you can take refuge from the crowds in the shade or on the grass.