August 1st-3rd was the time for Chicago’s most popular summer music festival, Lollapalooza. 2014 marked the 10th anniversary of this all-out bash that offers every kind of music under the sun. People come from all over the world (rain or shine) for this event and it is easy to see why. It is a music extravaganza to see your favorite bands and singers. Lollapalooza always takes place in Chicago’s impressive Grant Park, on 337 East Randolph Street, which is able to house the 100,000s of fans that come. At the end of each festival day, the party continued late into the night with after shows.
Lollapalooza had the jam-packed lineup of bands and singers for eager fans. There is such a variety of music that it leaves your head spinning deciding which performance to see. Previously, I have only gone on one day, so attending all three days was a dream come true for me, though I had to be tough in my decision making. The first day on Friday was a fantastic start to the festival with musical acts from stars such as Lorde, Interpol, Arctic Monkeys, Blood Orange, Courtenay Barnett, Iggy Azalea, Lykke Li, and Eminem.
Highlights for me Friday were Lorde, Blood Orange, and Arctic Monkeys. Lorde was one of my favorite performances of that day, no doubt about it. She comes off as this petite teenager from New Zealand with a small-sounding voice, but in reality, she is a powerhouse performer onstage. It was brilliant seeing her live rather than in a music video. She rocked it on stage with her black lipstick, black overalls with tank top, with her long, curly hair blowing in the wind. Each song she sang she seemed to get lost in the music and wasn’t aware of all the people watching her. She owned every move.
Blood Orange was very enjoyable to see in live performance. I was not familiar with their music but learned about it on Friday. This British band’s blend of bright, pop, and electronic sounds, were very effective along with the band’s singer, Devonté "Dev" Hynes’, smooth vocals.
When evening came, it was a tough decision to make between Enimen and Arctic Monkeys. I chose the latter in the end and had fun with the Arctic Monkeys’ British indie rock beats. They performed a lot of new music from their current album AM. They also played one of my favorite songs, the haunting Crawling Back to You. Each song was different and unique they all had that cool rock sound.
As for Saturday, which was a beautiful, sunny day, it was perfect for bands and singers such as Kate Nash, Jenny Lewis, Foster the People, and rapper, Outkast. Kate Nash was very entertaining, a British singer and instrumentalist and feminist, who’s music includes a voice similar to Natalie Merchant, but with more pop rock beats and sounds. Her stage performances had a variety of unusual costume pieces, glitter ribbons, makeup, and an all-female band. Jenny Lewis was yet another impressive, powerful female singer with great indie-rock lyrics. Foster the People is always an indie rock group I enjoy. Their music was a great experience to see live onstage, just like Lorde.
Sunday was my favorite day of musical lineups. On Sunday everyone had fun following bands and singer such as the Kongos, Cage the Elephant, Flosstradamus, The Avett Brothers, Chance the Rapper, and Kings of Leon. My friends and I enjoyed seeing so many acts that day, but it was impossible to see everything we wanted to see. I was entertained by Cage the Elephant, a rock indie band that just enjoys performing songs. Seeing them onstage for the first time was lots of fun and I was bouncing around and singing along when they performed their well-known song Come a Little Closer.
Then there were the Avett Brothers, who I had heard of but I had didn’t know their music before: they blew me away. A band that hails from the southwest United States, they were an amazing blend of indie rock, folk, and country music. Finally, we all waited with anticipation to see our headliner for the evening, Kings of Leon. Each of this band’s songs is something to dance to and sing along with – the loved hits from their three albums. Though Sunday poured and got very muddy, this did not stop us from enjoying the music.
The one main problem I always face at Lollapalooza is that there are so many acts scheduled into one day that it is impossible to see all the singers/bands you want to check out. Several get scheduled at the same time. Also, Grant Park is so large and spread out, that you need to leave enough time to get from one stage to another to see who you want to see.
Besides all of Lollapalooza’s great music entertainment, the food lineup just keeps getting better each summer. With food and drink choices from nearly 50 popular businesses in the Chicagoland area, there was something for everyone from meat to seafood to pizza to sweets to beer and wine.
I was a huge fan of the area called Farmer’s Market, which offered vegan/vegetarian and healthier, delicious tasting food and drink options. One of my favorites was River Valley Kitchens Famers Table, which served incredible veggie burgers and organic portabella tamales, Puffs of Doom (delicious stuffed puffs such as sweet puffs salted caramel hot chocolate, banana dulce de leche, oreo/peach cobbler with bourbon caramel sauce, and black bean enchilada with cilantro lime sauce). Yoberri Gourmet was wonderful too with non-fat frozen yogurt flavors such as mango, bourbon vanilla, and blueberry lavender.
Other foods I enjoyed included Jenni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Stella Barra Pizzaria, my favorite Lou Malnati’s, Kamehachi, The Goddess and the Grocer, and Wow Bao, which served wonderful vegetarian steamed dumplings. Being a vegetarian helped me stay satisfied due to the wonderful selection of meat-free and healthy food options. It was also very easy to buy food and drinks this summer due to the new cash-less option. You register your bracelet PIN number online and get it scanned when you buy things-no need to worry about bringing cash! Credit cards were also accepted.
Fun additions to Lollapalooza were Green Street and Kidpalooza. Green Street involved a one-stop shopping area local and national artisans and crafts that are all environmentally friendly.
Kidpalooza was adorable-I caught a few numbers. This is a music festival for all different ages and offers music solely for kids. Besides music, there were arts and crafts, among other activities.
Overall, attending the entire three days of Lollapalooza was an eye-opening experience. Each day was a different adventure in music for me and I was thrilled that I got to see such a variety of talented performers, more music than I usually see each year. I look forward to the lineup for Lollapalooza 2015!
Information for next year’s festival, go to the Lollapalooza website
Photos: Jennifer Lunz (unless otherwise noted)