Last weekend I got to experience my very first Lollapalooza and my first big music festival. Needless to say, it was amazing. Four days of amazing sets, great food, stunning outfits, and meeting some of the coolest people in the country. After an exhausting two days (over 24 hours in an airport, a mini road trip, and a COVID test later), I have made it home. Time to reflect and share!
This is one of those experiences you can never let go of. If you are as big of a music junkie as I am at least. The type of experience that leaves you with goosebumps in 80-degree weather and a big smile the whole walk home. I could obviously boast about the big performers that stole the show.
With Miley Cyrus and her insane guest appearances and gorgeous raspy voice. Or Tyler, the Creator with one of the most amazing sets I have ever seen. That man produces nothing but brilliance on stage. Or I could just sit here and talk about the emotional rollercoaster that was Foo Fighters’ two-hour set, but all you need to know there is Dave Grohl was born to lead a crowd.
Lollapalooza has a wide range of artists, big or small, who are welcomed with open arms and given a stage. Because of that, I got to discover some of my new favorite artists and appreciate some that have been in my back pocket for a while now. This is what really made this experience unique. Spending every day with no real schedule and letting myself just enjoy whatever music I could find.
Here are my favorites from each day!
I started the day with Aly & AJ. If you haven’t listened to their new music, you are missing out. They completely took over the stage and amazed the audience with their vocals and adorable personalities (also their outfits!!).
I bounced around, getting to see Olivia O’Brien and enjoy her ridiculously authentic music and vibe. I was able to catch bits of Dayglow which was so amazing that it left me speechless.
Then I ran to the All Time Low set. I wouldn’t have guessed I’d be leaving that set realizing it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to.
The day ended with Miley Cyrus. No words, just tears. Okay, maybe a few words because she not only performed ‘See You Again’, which made me tear up solely because my first concert ever was Hannah Montana. But she also performed ‘7 Things’ and blew everyone’s minds. It was just a full-circle experience.
Day two started a little later with Giveon and he completely stole my heart. Between his ethereal voice and aura, he had that whole crowd wrapped around his finger.
I ran and saw Contradish and Mothica at one of the smaller stages. Mothica is the type of artist that takes all your repressed teenage angst and screams it back at you in an adorable package.
After that, I heard bits of Jack Harlow from the Tyler, the Creator pit, and understood why he is quickly climbing his way through the music industry. He is equally hilarious and talented, bouncing around the stage and making sure the crowd was smiling the whole time.
Finally, I was barricade at Tyler’s set, and boy I was not prepared. The crowd was crazy, the set was amazing, the energy was unmatched. I walked away with messy hair and many bruises, but that’s how you know it was an amazing time.
This day was all about hidden talent and because of that was easily the coolest of the four days. I knew the least number of artists and because of that had the freedom to just roam between stages.
I started with a small indie band called Porches who gave me all the ‘Scott Pilgrim’ vibes. I’m sure they are only just beginning their journey.
Next, I saw The Backseat Lovers, and though I knew a few songs, I was not prepared for how much I was going to adore them. Their stage presence alone was enough, but mix that with their quirky band members and upbeat music? I am in love.
I rocked along to Young the Giant who I was super excited for. They were amazing, incredible, so freaking talented. Then, Megan Thee Stallion, who was a great performer, but the crowd was terrifying.
Angels and Airwaves were very fun to watch and bounce along to, even though I didn’t know a single word to their songs (honestly, some of the best artists work that way). Until I ended my day with Post Malone. Who yes, I know is a huge artist, but deserves every bit of appreciation he is given and more. His set was emotional and goofy and had the crowd chanting “Posty!” more times than I can count because everyone adores him that much.
Day four definitely took the cake. There was not a moment that day I wasn’t bouncing with glee.
The first set was Peach Tree Rascals, and now I’m obsessed. I walked in not knowing anything about them. I mean this was their first concert ever so how could I? But oh my am I obsessed now. They are the most genuinely appreciative and talented group I have seen in a long time. Constantly interacting with the crowd and busted out song after song that just kept getting better. If there is an artist to walk away from this and listen to, it’s them.
Next, I saw JXDN, who was one of the reasons I came to Lolla. He was born to be on stage, even with a blown-out voice and little to no experience on a stage he pulled one of the biggest crowds of the weekend. His set was energetic and fun and tear-jerking (I mean he did a duet with his girlfriend AND sang a song to his best friend. Are you kidding me?).
After that, I ran to The Front Bottoms (another reason I went to Lolla) and got to experience Brian Sella in all his glory. The set was incredible and ended with a (very not allowed) last-minute acoustic set. I saw part of Surfaces set, which was just upbeat and fun and worth the jog back to the Foo Fighters stage. That was singlehandedly the best experience of my life. Between the amazing crowd, the perfect set, and Dave on the drums, I could never go to another concert and probably be content forever. (That’s not happening though).
Lollapalooza was four days of being in a completely different reality. A reality full of music, dancing, and (seriously) amazing food all surrounded by the beautiful Chicago skyline. I walk away from all this with the need to go back and bring as many people as I can with me. The traveling, and the planning, and the money, and the taking time off work, and whatever other excuse you can come up with, are worth it. I’m already counting the days until the next one, and you should too.