Lollapalooza came to a close on Sunday in Grant Park with a lineup that included Chicago acts Horsegirl and Beach Bunny and bold names at the end of the night Green Day and J-Hope, the latter the first headliner of K- pop from a major American music festival. . It also ended with Mayor Lori Lightfoot announcing from the stage that contract negotiations with the city had been resolved, and that Lolla would remain on the lakeshore for another decade.
Overall, the four days of Chicago’s biggest music festival were eventful, with main stages from Metallica and Dua Lipa wishing they had seen them, least of all for 2022. Despite high rates of COVID-19 locally Lollapalooza did not require masking or vaccination to enter, following the lead of the Chicago and Illinois departments of public health.
Throughout the weekend, an announcement was anticipated with a deal between Chicago and C3 Presents, a division of Live Nation, based in Texas. The Tribune reported that the city’s entertainment tax had been central to the negotiations.
On Sunday night, festival founder Perry Farrell took the Bud Light Seltzer stage before J-Hope to say he was proud Lollapalooza was back in the park. He then introduced Lightfoot, who greeted the audience with “Hello, Chicago!” very rock.
He then announced that “by decree” the Lollapalooza contract would continue: “For ten! Plus! Years!” He unfurled a banner with 2032 inscribed at the bottom.
Earlier that day, Jim Wright was with a group of Chicagoans watching Horsegirl at the north end of Grant Park, standing on the blacktop on Tito’s stage. They had heard of the young band from Chicago, but had not seen them live before. “It would be exciting,” he said, “to see them later in a smaller place,” with more privacy and less scorching sun.
Lollapalooza had a total impact on Chicago’s economy of $305.1 million last year, according to a study 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,” according to the report.
Based on attendance figures provided on Sunday, Lollapalooza did not sell out on Thursday but did sell out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with a capacity of 100,000 attendees.
With the Chicago skyline aglow behind the Bud Light Stage, rapper Erika Banks had the crowd roaring. Festival goers cheered as Banks frolicked along with her audience: “I’m going to be honest with you all, I’m showing up with all of you so hard my wig is about to come off.”
Fans entered the already dancing crowd as Banks asked whether or not he could “bring girls onstage.”
“Yes you can, this is an Erica Banks show,” declared a male voice on stage. The rapper sought out a line of girls who took to the stage to dance with her to her latest song: “Buss it,” a strip club anthem that fueled several TikTok trends after her release.
“Every time my girls go on stage, I need the crowd to cheer them on. So I need the crowd to yell, throw that (expletive),” Banks yelled. The crowd cheered Banks and his impromptu background dancers for a song that began with a sample of Nelly’s “Hot in Herre”.
On the CoinBase stage, R&B singer/rapper Audrey Nuna had the crowd swaying from side to side in unison with the song “Molars.” Nuna said, “I have a tooth tattoo on my leg, so I wrote the next song about teeth and feelings.”
Nuna followed up with a performance of the singles “Souffle” and “Blossom”, ending the latter song by exclaiming, “Thank you to my grandmother for being on this song with me.” At the end of “Blossom,” Nuna’s grandmother’s voice can be heard speaking in Korean. Nuna has previously said that her work is inspired by her grandmother.
Despite never having heard Nuna’s music, Bianca Lopez, who was attending Lollapalooza for the first time since the pandemic, said she could call herself a fan by the end of the set.
“I was here with my friends who came a little early because they wanted to camp (before J-Hope). This shows that the audience likes diverse artists and I think we should diversify Lolla a little more, like more Latin artists, more Asian artists,” said López.
Manuel Osario, who attended Nuna’s performance with Lopez, noted a less chaotic experience at Lollapalooza this year.
“It’s definitely much more of a relaxed atmosphere this year. I feel like before the pandemic, it was pretty hectic in terms of the number of people and how the interactions were on the stages. I just remember a few years ago, when 21 Savage came along, we weren’t even up front and it was like, the number of people you couldn’t even breathe. And I feel like now it’s a little bit more like people give you your space unless you’re right up front.”
With that said, on Saturday, rising fans in front of the stages interrupted sets by Chicago rapper Lil Durk and Big Sean. Both artists and managers on the Solana x Perry and T-Mobile stages, respectively, took steps to get the crowd to back up and make room while security removed those in danger.
“We don’t want anyone to faint. We don’t want deaths,” Sean said. “We want this here to be 100% safe.”
The attention to audience safety comes after a tragedy at the Astroworld music festival in Houston last year, when 10 fans were killed in a packed crowd to see rapper Travis Scott.
Also, Lil Durk reported on social media that he was injured by pyrotechnics during his performance; The videos show him holding his shirt against his face after the stage explosions apparently went off in front of him. He later posted photos of his blindfolded eye. “Due to the incident that occurred on stage at Lollapalooza in Chicago, I will be taking a break and focusing on my health,” he wrote.
Safety has been another Lollapalooza issue, with the festival taking place less than a month after the 4th of July mass shooting in Highland Park. Police have been a constant, if mostly background, presence inside and outside the fence (as of 2021, the city’s Office of Emergency Management has not released figures on arrests or medical transports until after the festival). In addition to uniformed police walking and biking the grounds, there have been officers in Polaris vehicles patrolling undercover, identified as FBI and counter-terrorism teams. Although not authorized to speak officially, an official told the Tribune that they had also been to Lollapalooza in recent years.
The Tribune has learned anecdotally of multiple cases of pickpocketing at the festival. Luke Laurence, a student at the University of Chicago at Lollapalooza to help report for the Chicago Maroon student newspaper, said his phone was taken from his pocket in a mosh pit for the 100 Gecs on Thursday before he realized what had happened. . He knew of other people who had also lost phones.
When he went to the Apple store in Lincoln Park looking for a replacement, the staff were well-informed to advise him.
“They told me, first go to AT&T to get a new SIM card and then come back,” said Laurence. “They said, ‘We’ve been dealing with this all day.'”
Los Angeles indie band The Marias were a big late-afternoon draw on Tito’s stage, opening with a sultry live version of “Calling U Back” from their 2021 album “Cinema.”
“This is our first Lollapalooza,” lead singer Maria Zardoya said to applause. “This is my first time attending Lollapalooza. We are the Marias, thank you very much!”
Farrell was earlier on the T-Mobile main stage with Porno for Pyros, delivering an electric set. Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan joined him as a guest; Farrell joined Corgan for a benefit concert in Highland Park on July 27 and the two announced a joint tour beginning this fall, with Farrell fronting his band Jane’s Addiction.
Farrell apparently spilled the beans on Lightfoot’s announcement earlier this week, telling WGN-TV that a contract extension had been reached. Both C3 and the city subsequently retracted their disclosure of him.
Also Sunday, Italian rock band Måneskin informed their T-Mobile audience that Lollapalooza was the band’s first time in Chicago: “It’s our first time here for us, I must say we (expletive) love this city… and the weed is legal. … For us Italians, it is a dream come true.” At another point in their performance, the band’s lead singer Damiano David stated that the band “supports Ukraine” before performing their new single “Gasoline”, which was written as a protest song honoring Ukraine.
The end of the weekend belonged to J-Hope and Green Day.
After an unfortunate introduction with a very dirty rabbit as a firefighter, Green Day came out to thunderous applause to start with a full “American Idiot”, Billie Joe Armstrong dressed in a Metro T-shirt.
Disclaimer: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Erica Banks’ name.