Opinion | Bona Fide | Lollapalooza 2018

A review of Chicago’s Lollapalooza


Lollapalooza brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to Chicago each year. Millenium Park, home to this statue, sees its fair share of visitors when Lolla comes to town.

While five-million saw Travis Scott play these new songs during the VMAs, I was lucky enough to see him perform for my second time live at Lollapalooza, Aug. 2. Scott promoted his new album “Astroworld” with a compilation of the tracks “STARGAZING”, “STOP TRYING TO BE GOD” and “SICKO MODE” where he brought out James Blake to sing the beautiful outro of “STOP TRYING TO BE GOD.”

Over six months of planning and saving up to all of this:

Ticket: $480 after fees

AirBnB: $671 for four nights

Hotel: $90 for fifth night

Uber: $200

Total before food, water and merch: $1,441, which comes out to almost three months of work at Jimmy John’s.

The sun beats down on the backs of 100,000 strangers crowded into Grant Park, all together for four days of the widest array of music.

Chicago’s grandiose music festival Lollapalooza encompasses the entire 319 acres of Grant Park creating a town within a town.

Featuring artists spanning from experimental rock to the biggest names in the industry, Lollapalooza is one of the biggest festivals in the world.

Lolla had been a dream ever since I first heard of it in the seventh grade. I told myself one day I would embark on that journey and make it out to Chicago, no matter the circumstances.

It was my first experience of being completely independent. I went with two of my close friends and without any supervision. We were free in the Windy City.The entire festival was a social frenzy. The first interaction I had with strangers turned into a eight-person game of Uno on the grass. I met people from Texas, New York, Arkansas, etc. and connected with them over artists we both traveled multiple hours to encounter.

Even at the craziest shows, everyone was there for each other, especially when someone would go down or pass out from the heat or overwhelming circumstances.

Travis Scott played the night before his highly anticipated album “Astroworld” dropped and even debuted his new track “5% TINT.” The scale was out of proportion. It was the biggest crowd I’d ever seen for a show, taking away from the exceptional intimacy that I had when I, along with only 2,300 others, saw Scott at The Pageant.

The show that lost all control was Lil Pump. He played a total of four songs because the crowd couldn’t calm down, countless people passed out, and police had to constantly survey the crowd for safety concerns. I fell several times from the insanity of movement but was always lifted back up.

There was literal steam and dirt from the ground rolling off of the body-to-body and sweat-drenched crowd at BROCKHAMPTON.

Although I’m a huge enthusiast of modern rap and I did my fair share of “moshing,” the best moments were the scenes of true passion and excitement from the collective crowd.

Rex Orange County, Daniel Caesar, BROCKHAMPTON, Cigarettes After Sex and especially Vampire Weekend were the most intimate and overall passionate shows. The festival goers who knew all the words came as strangers but left as family.

The crowd undoubtedly loved what they were watching and couldn’t get enough of it, myself included. I could feel the passion and love in the atmosphere. It felt like home.

Parquet Courts played during the day on the Bud Light Stage, one of the biggest stages at Lollapalooza. There were Post Malone fans waiting at the front all day for Post who was scheduled to play the stage later in the day, and every Parquet Courts fan was having the time of their lives completely disregarding the Post Malone fans. The passion of the fans of the lesser known bands outweighed the grand scale of the headliners.

The hydration stations were the smartest additions to Lollapalooza in 2018. I filled my CamelBak countless times and would’ve passed out without it.

The drawbacks of the festival were minor but relevant.

With 184 artists playing on eight different stages across an entire town, I did not catch every artist I wanted to see. Getting to one stage from another was a trek on its own and stopping to use the bathroom, refill water, etc. ate time faster than expected.

There were various instances I had to choose between two artists because of conflicting times. The two main headliners Saturday were Vampire Weekend and The Weeknd and being a fan of both made it extremely difficult to settle on one.

In the end, I chose Vampire Weekend which ended up being my favorite show of the entire festival.

Losing our group was inevitable and happened more often than not.

For over $100 a day to choose from over 40 artists daily, Lollapalooza was a no-brainer. I may have to make my way back to Chicago in 2019.

Lollapalooza was an experience of life I will never forget or take for granted. The moments of serenity, peace and bond over a song beat anything I’ve ever experienced.