We want to hear from you — share your best Lolla story below!Share your story
MAINLY, TOOL QUOTING: MY ONLY REGRET IS NOT SEEING THE YEAH YEAH YEAHS... SUPER DISAPPOINTED I MISSED LAST YEAR, BUT I WAS NINE MONTHS PREGNANT AND UNABLE TO WALK, HADN'T MISSED THE LAST 4 YEARS. MY VERY FIRST CONCERT EVER WAS LOLLAPALOOZA '97 IN STL, WITH MAYNARD IN A BRA AND WIG. THIS YEAR, I HOPE TO BRING MY TWO GIRLS, 3 & 5, AND ALL THEY WANT TO HEAR IS DREAM JAM BAND'S NICKY NICKY KNOCK KNOCK. SINCE 'O8 THEY HAVE BEEN INSISTENT THAT MY BROTHER, A GREEN BERET RANGER, WROTE THE SONG ABOUT HIMSELF. I COULDN'T CARE LESS IF I WIN THE PRIZE, BUT I WOULD LOVE FOR SOMEONE TO PERFORM THAT SONG AND LET ME KNOW BEFORE YOU DO.
My best friend Lindsey one day said to me, "Hey we are going to Chicago to this music festival called Lollapalooza". I wasn't sure if she was serious so I was only like, "yeah that's cool". A few months later we were on our way to my very first Lollapalooza! Lindsey's dad decided to meet us in Chicago since he lives in Iowa and we are from Texas. He paid for our entire trip and all our expenses. He definitely took me under his wing as well and by the middle of our first day he was calling me his daughter. This was really a major deal to me since I dont have a dad. His knees are not in good shape so he didnt stay the whole festival with us and missed Jane's Addiction. But Lindsey and I made it all the way up to the front and rocked out so hard! By the end of the Jane's Addiction set I realized that I was there, in Chicago, this magical city with one of my favorite bands that I thought I would never hear play live. We then decided to make the trip an anual trip. So it doesnt end there. We were at Lolla 2010 as well, and we brought two extra friends. This year, we plan on missing Lolla. Two of us have lost our jobs due to crazy lay offs. But we made crazy plans on driving up to Chicago anyways and getting at least a one day pass! Just to be there, and feel some of the magic again. Thanks for that. It gave us a crazy fun dream with all this 'reality' floating around lately.
The first and only time that I have attended Lollapalooza was in 2009. My sister and I had the greatest time ever, getting to see some of our favorite bands and experiencing concerts that I will remember forever. One in particular, was Bon Iver. Hearing him live basically changed my life, it was almost like a religious experience. Imagine: standing outside in the pouring rain, hundreds of strangers around you, with complete silence. All you hear is his music, his voice and the rain falling around you. Somewhat eerie, yes, but life changing for sure.
After attending my first Lollapalooza in 2009, I would bet cash-money that the stamina, single-mindedness, and total disregard for hygiene needed to endure Lollapalooza is akin to what is needed to sustain a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. So, I used to have an obsession with the Appalachian Trail. And every thru-hiker of this trail will tell you that there comes a point where you start to feel as though walking is all you’ve ever done and all you will ever do. There is a sort of falling away that happens and the simplicity which remains is transformative. I know how crazy this sounds, but I absolutely slipped into an AT sort of consciousness at Lollapalooza. I remarked to my boyfriend, “It feels like this is my life; like all I do is attend rock concerts.” Even on Sunday night, when the festival neared its end, I was convinced that the next day, a back-to-work day for me, was actually another Lollapalooza day. I found myself wondering again and again what tomorrow’s music lineup would be and what clothing I could wear that would be the coolest in 100 degree heat. And it was seriously jarring each time to remember that I actually have a job and a life outside of Grant Park. You raise an eyebrow at my exaggeration, but think about it. On the Appalachian Trail, you are concerned with one thing and that one thing is walking. The rest is just details. The consuming enough calories and staying warm and/or dry are just factors which make walking more bearable. Those factors can make or break an AT experience. At Lollapalooza, for 3 days, your One Thing is listening to music. The dancing and the trying not to get sunburned and staying hydrated and the maintaining the buzz are the beautiful, necessary components which make your One Thing as pure and enjoyable an experience as possible. A person is never so close to nature than when hiking. At Lollapalooza, a person is never so close to humanity. I have never been so close to sweaty, half-naked strangers before this weekend. And I was close. We’re talking the bone on bone, sweat mixing with sweat, we’re-in-this-together sort of stuff. I witnessed people passing beers and sharing joints and hugging and leaning and getting dirty together. Oh the dirty. Oh the dirty, dirty dirt. On Friday, mud was caked up the back of my bare legs and between my toes and, yes, even in places mud should never, ever be. Everything and everyone was dirty. And there comes a point where you just stop caring. My point came when the sun beat down so hot that I felt like I was being driven into the ground. I quit caring about how cute I looked when sweat ran in rivulets from under my breasts and splashed, yes it actually splashed once, on my knee. Modesty went out the window, too. Like I said, you just stop caring after a fashion and everyone feels like family. At one point, after not wanting to wait in the epic bathroom line, I lifted my dress in front of god and everybody and slapped powder between my chafed thighs. I’m sorry. But it was hot. And my sex was on fire. But back to humanity. Because I was starting to get to the sentimental part of my diatribe. While my Lollapalooza experience was not as life-changing as a 6 month thru-hike of the AT is wont to be, it will remain carved into the tablet of my heart for a very long time. There were some very special moments I want to tell you about. I want to tell you about how it felt to sing with 60,000 people in the shadow of the Chicago skyline. I want to tell you how it felt to watch people pick up trash for no reason other than wanting to be good to the planet. I want to tell you how it felt to have his head in my lap or to see his smile in my periphery. I fell so much more deeply in love with him and there were moments when I would look at him and feel the kind of fear you feel right before a freefall. A glorious, exhilerating freefall. I want to put words to what this weekend did for us. I want to tell you about how hard I laughed during Vampire Weekend, how tears sprang to my eyes during Lou Reed or whenever people were being kind to each other. But those moments are mine. And there really are no words. There is just the music.
It was Friday, August 7, 2009. Somewhat of a dreary day in Chicago, Illinois. It was cloudy with scattered showers. That being the case I couldn't walk to work as I normally did seeing that I worked in the Prudential building and lived in the Gold Coast. If you're not familiar with Chicago, the Prudential building is the tall pointy one next to Grant Park always in the background when catching a show at the Budweiser Stage. If you think my description is a little vague you'll know what I'm talking about when you go to the Foo Fighters this year and you look up to see a pointy building next to Grant Park with a big blue sign saying "Prudential" on the side. But I digress. So I couldn't walk to work and as a result I took the Red line down south to the State and Lake stop. I got into work on time and worked a half day. I remember being pissed at myself for not taking the whole day off and going to Lolla with my roommates and his girlfriend and a bunch of her friends. To be completely honest, I had every right to be pissed off at myself. Who doesn't love drinking with a bunch ex-college coeds and listening to great music? Instead I took the responsible route (which is very unlike me) and went into work for a half day. Little did I know this dynamic would make for one of the best Lollapalooza experiences I've had to date. So after putting in a half days’ worth of work which consisted of taking 45 minutes to get a bagel in the kitchen; bullshitting with Tommy, the guy who worked in the sports division for 20 minutes; reading on the shitter for 30 minutes; flirting with the cute girl that I wanted to bang but she had a boyfriend for 45 more minutes and then doing actual work for about an hour and a half, I proceeded to put my Lolla gear on and head over to the holy land to meet my roommate and the ex- college coeds. I got to the gate and at that point I didn't even care to meet anyone. I was so excited to be at Lollapalooza, I just wanted to get a couple of beers, listen to the music and let it cleanse my soul. I tried getting ahold of my roommate and the ex-college coeds. But the service was horrible not to mention it was raining and the water damage ended up ruining my phone. As a result I decided to take on this day alone. I walked over to the PlayStation Stage to listen to Bon Iver for a quick second because I wanted to get a decent spot for Ben Folds. I'm not a huge fan of Ben Folds but I have always heard he puts on a good show and I knew Bon Iver would be a little more mellow. By the time I got to Ben Folds I had already taken down an entire 24 oz. Budweiser and I had killed half of the other one. So I decided to go back to the beer tent and get two more. At this point I was drenched because the rain had turned into a little bit more than scattered showers, by this point it was a hard constant mist. But still, I was determined to see as many acts as possible. After purchasing my 2 beers I continued on over to Ben Folds. As I was walking up he was playing the cover "Bitches Ain't Shit" and I was immediately impressed by his poise. I began to do a little white boy jig as I always do and a few girls that looked like they couldn't have been more than 19 seemed to take interest in what I was doing. I began flirting with the best looking one because let's face it, one of her friends reminded me of what Lenny from "Of Mice and Men" would look like in real life and her other friend was just down right homely, to say the least. I got to know this group of girls pretty well and we were really hitting it off. So much so that I somehow convinced the Lenny look alike to be our lead blocker and get us to the front. So "Lenny the Linebacker" did just that. She pushed forward and got us almost to the front of the Budweiser stage. Once we got there I'm sure the people hated us because no one likes those assholes pushing their way to the front but they soon forgot. I know they soon forgot because one of the guys I met upfront asked me to smoke pot with him. After taking a few drags I realized I was a little bit more buzzed than before and I was in the ideal state of mind for a festival especially one like Lolla. By this point Fleet Foxes were playing across the way at PlayStation Stage and I decided to catch the show from where I was because I had a great spot for the headliner, Kings of Leon. Once Fleet Foxes were done it was about time for The Decemberists to come on and at this point the alcohol was holding my bladder hostage. I had been chugging so many beers I needed to head to a port-a-potty immediately. The problem was I knew I wouldn’t be able to get back to the spot I had without Lenny. Also, my phone didn't work so I couldn't get that girl's number and I had made a friend with some great bud! So I decided to tough it out and see if I could last. Once The Decemberists came the rain came down a little harder for a couple of songs and by this point I was soaking wet. All of the water and liquids around me were not helping my urge to take a leak so I just let loose like a firehouse. This piss was the most amazing piss of my entire life. It was like one of those pisses that are comparable to an orgasm. When you release that piss it feels as though you were put on this planet for one thing and one thing only and that is to make sure that piss comes out of your dick as fast as possible. The best part about pissing my pants was that I could still flirt with the girl, smoke pot with my new best friend and listen to great music and no one would ever find out because everyone was soaking wet. It was the best idea I had ever had. Until the rain had stopped that is. The rain eventually stopped and I had been pissing myself for the entire set. What was I supposed to do when I had to piss now? Go to the port-a-potty? Fuck that. I was going to continue pissing myself. In between The Decemberists and Kings of Leon it was a little more than an hour break so we had some time to kill. "Why not smoke a little bit more?" My new friend, who had been to every Lollapalooza since its inception, said. "Why the hell not?" I said. He seemed like a wise older dude and I trusted his judgment. So he whipped out a joint and sparked it. The wise older gentleman was smart and handed it to my new lady friend first. She took a puff and passed it over to me. We passed it back and forth a few times before I realized I had to take a piss again. So I said to myself "What the hell, why not? We are all standing up and we are nuts to butts, let’s do a little social experiment". The older guy passes me the joint and immediately I start pissing my pants as he tells me a story about when he saw The Red Hot Chili Peppers. In the middle of the story he stops and says "Dude, are you pissing?" As I'm smoking his weed, I look him in the eye and say "Yes". Immediately the smoking circle broke apart and all at once I lost my new best friend, my beloved mary-jane and a 19 year old whore. Moral of the story... peein' yo' pants ain't cool.
Following the triumph of 2008’s festival, Lollapalooza further extended its deal with the Chicago Park District through 2018. Selling out for a second year in a row, Lollapalooza 2009’s lineup consisted of an audacious stable of college rockers and indie acts such as Animal Collective, Bon Iver and Band of Horses, as well as seasoned headliners like Depeche Mode, Tool, and The Killers.
A spate of poor weather couldn’t dampen fans spirits, and the festival won hearts and minds left and right in the press. Jane’s Addiction’s performed with their original lineup for the first time since 1991, marking their third headlining appearance at Lollapalooza - a first for the festival. In a moment of tribute, Vampire Weekend singer Ezra Koenig dedicated the band’s performance of “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” to the recently deceased film director and 80s tastemaker, John Hughes.
The Beastie Boys were initially scheduled to headline, but had to pull out from the festival after member Adam Yauch discovered he had a cancerous tumor. The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s jumped in as a last minute replacement and delivered a rousing glammy disco-punk set that was one for the history books.