As of Saturday, Lollapalooza is in progress. The boulevard along Columbus Drive was busy early and often as soon as the first works reached the main stages. The headliner for the third day featured German-American rapper J. Cole’s very international lineup includes; singer Willow (daughter of actors Will and Jada Pinkett Smith); Chicago DJ Cascade on stage at Solana x Perry (after hard-hitting K-pop boy band Tomorrow x Together); and Norwegian DJ and music producer Kygo.
Lollapalooza continues Sunday with nearly 170 musical acts on eight stages in Grant Park, presented by Texas-based C3 Presents.
The north-south section along Columbus claims Chow Town and is the most direct route between most stages, with the full Lola footprint stretching for about a mile. (A general refrain: You step up your steps.) As Chicago’s biggest summer festival, it has a daily capacity of 100,000, although by early 2022 it was not sold out. By Saturday morning, the last of the one-day general admission tickets on the website were gone.
Rapper Kochis (aka Terrell Anthony Cox) opened the T-Mobile stage just after 1 p.m., stunning a dapper figure in his signature khaki trench, dress shirt and tie, singing his hits as the crowd crossed the stage. Albums “Benbow Crescent” and “The Inspection.”
“My name is Kochis,” he said, breathing halfway between songs. “And I got this hot-ass trench coat. But you know, I’m feeling Attractive.” He pitched his next song as being inspired by a video game he loved to play, launching in “Megaman” from his most recent album.
Negotiations are ongoing between C3 and the city on a potential contract for the next 10 years for Lollapalooza by the lake. The center of the issue is Chicago’s entertainment tax, Tribune has reported, The festival is subject to tax and a new settlement seeks safeguards against the city raising the rate on life.
Siblings Emily and Mitch Price in the city of Indianapolis said they had not heard of the conversation but Fans rejoiced on Friday Who said that the music festival should remain in Chicago.
As for other destination events like Coachella in Los Angeles, Emily Price said, “There aren’t a lot of big festivals in the Midwest.” Chicago needs Lollapalooza. She said she had meant to come for years, but was working “then COVID.”
The smell of hot dogs and hamburgers lingers in the air at Chow Town, a line of tents where festival-goers can grab a bite to eat. Vendors were selling a range of options from street tacos to bao buns to mac and cheese and Indian food. Lou Malnati and Billy Goat Tavern are some of the better-known local restaurants, but dining venues from across the city, representing neighborhoods such as Ukrainian Village, Humboldt Park, Lakeview and Fulton Market, are on deck.
Attendees at Lollapalooza can cool off with an ice cone from Harris Snow Cone, a scoop of Vero Gelato’s gelato or a Funnel Cake Sundae from Windsor Ice Cream Shoppe.
Although Ponce Restaurant has catered to Puerto Rican food for other events and has even tried out food trucks, this is their first time at Lollapalooza. The family-owned restaurant on Fullerton offers a taste of Puerto Rico with a simple yet varied menu: pork skewers or pinchos, beef empanadas, pork chops and rice, and fried plantain sandwiches. Elora Ramirez, 16, helped her father Jose and his girlfriend Elba Jasso on Thursday. Ramirez said that being in Lollapalooza will allow the business to expand and grow.
“It’s fun and exciting when you talk to these people and give them what they want and watch them enjoy their food. It’s fun to watch — it’s good to watch,” she said.
Want to eat healthy at Lollapalooza? Ok.
Indian Garden has Vegetable Biryani Bowl for $14, Devi’s and Grocer’s (Very Good) Veggie Burger for $12 (gluten-free bun for 2 extra dollars). Garfield Ridge’s Healthy Foods advertises itself as “the vegetarian side of Mexico” and has tacos for $6. Boxcar Betty’s has sandwiches with chicken breast or portobello for $10.
Or, heck, you can get it Chicago-style—from Chicago’s Doghouse—which has vegetables on it.
security has been Another Lollapalooza themeThe festival is coming less than a month after the Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park. Police have had a steady, if apparently mostly background, presence inside and outside the fence (since 2021, the city’s emergency management office has not released statistics about arrests or medical transportation until after the festival). Helicopters spin upwards. Along with uniformed police walking and biking the field, there have been officers patrolling in camouflage on Polaris vehicles, which have been marked by the FBI and counter-terrorism teams. Although not authorized to speak on record, an official told the Tribune that they have also lived at Lollapalooza in previous years.
By late afternoon, there were only standing rooms at many places inside the park.
Chicago rapper Lil Dirk pulled in the biggest Solana X Perry stage crowd of all time for the festival. They played with a full band and were supported by screens, which featured an endless video edit of Chicago scenes – downtown high rises, South Side two-flats, mugging for cameras or staring into lenses.
Before their sets began, a red message appeared on the screen instructing the crowd to back up and make more room. After his first song Dirk stopped and did the same, asking everyone to take three steps back. Anyway, his fans carried on. Soon after the third song began, the voice was cut and Dirk closed the show.
“We can’t continue until you’ve backed everyone up,” he said. Fans closest to the stage were being pushed hard against the rail and a voice over the loudspeaker instructed security to evacuate those in distress: “Next, this girl is right in front of you.”
After a pause of about five minutes, enough space was freed up for Dirk to continue on the set. “It’s one of my favorite songs to perform,” he said. “We’re going to take it a little slower.” He sang “Home Body” from his 2018 album “Sign to the Streets 3”.
On Saturday night on the T-Mobile stage, Chicago’s Gabrielle Miller, Loretta Parnell and Jasmine Pipkins, J.J. Waiting patiently for Cole’s performance to begin. He said he was hoping to play some of his old songs like “Crooked Smile” and “Wet Dreams”.
Cole opened his set with “95 South” from his most recent album. After singing a few songs from that album, he moved on to some of his old music. When the tune of “Wet Dreams” started, the crowd went into a tizzy. Cole brought an energy to the stage that matched the crowd, jumping up and down while rapping. They took things slow with “Love Yourself”, only to take the energy again by bringing in JID and Bass – two artists to their Dreamville record label – to perform one song each.
The second-to-last set was by rapper Big Sean – during which fans were again asked to take a few steps back. Big Sean asks the crowd to tell his neighbors that they will be looking for each other. “We don’t want anyone to pass away. We don’t want any deaths,” he said. “We want it to be 100% safe here.” Big Sean surprised fans by bringing Jayne Ecko on stage as a guest. Big Sean and Jayne Ecko are dating and recently announced that they are expecting a baby together.Ekko showed off her baby bump and the couple sang together.
“He was holding her,” said fan Devin Conliffe. “it was very nice.”