Lolla Hangovers, Muploads, and ReflectionsAugust 8, 2012 —
As Neon Indian finished up their wonderful performance of the psychedelic-poppy hit “Polish Girl,” front man Alan Palomo took to the mic with somber news: the band had to quit playing because, as he said, some “crazy ass hail” was headed our way. Indeed, a festival organizer followed up with the frightening command to evacuate Grant Park immediately, as a stage-collapsing, death-inducing storm—one that would put last year’s to shame—was apparently bearing down upon the 100,000 or so Lollapalooza-ers. People cried about the “Lollapocalypse,” a potential End Of Days (or at least of Lolla weekend) as they reluctantly shuffled/stumbled to the nearest Potbelly’s or friend’s condo. Depending on the person, the impending disaster was some deity’s judgment on the “hipsters,” “bros,” “raver sloots,” or “high school kids from the western suburbs” that all seemed to simultaneously have a monopoly on the weekend.
Indeed, as my friends and I YOLO-ed our way through Lollapalooza 2012 I couldn’t help but marvel at the crowd’s diversity. Pitchfork Music Festival, Lolla’s younger, hipper brother, caters almost exclusively to indie music fans; Electric Forest in Michigan draws people who like doing drugs in a forest while listening to dub step; Bonnaroo seems to attract those with campers or those who don’t like to shower. Lollapalooza is conveniently located, reasonably priced for what you get, and stocked with bands from across the musical spectrum. It is the Everyman’s Festival. Of course, most folks at the festival are around college-aged, but I spent the weekend among young adults of every stripe, including artists like Brad Oberhofer (more on that later).
I realized that there certainly isn’t a single way by which “we” enjoy Lollapalooza, as I thought I would deduce throughout the weekend (you can check out my first post about that here.) The vast festival has opportunities for all to get down however they choose. The drug-taking techno-raving set seemed to be having the time of their lives at Perry’s. Many there for a purely amazing musical experience could be found at shows such as First Aid Kit, Sigur Ros, and Jack White, none of whom disappointed. Those there for a little bit of partying and a little big of music—the majority, I would assume—went wherever the moment and their friends took them, and most likely had the best time of all. The artists, like the young dudes of Oberhofer, tried to fit in what they could between press time and set prep. But, according to them, being at Lolla was like “winning a Grammy, or something,” so they were bound to have a great weekend regardless. And that’s the magic of Lolla: anyone can have a rollicking good time if they so desire. Lollapalooza manages to simultaneously nab huge crowd-pleasers (the Chilis, Justice, and Florence & the Machine come to mind) while giving lesser-known bands, like Oberhofer, a stage—a launching pad?—in front of tens of thousands of weather-battered Midwesterners (and, of course, their Cornellian friends who come to town.)
So though many awoke on Monday (and Tuesday) with the inevitable post-Lolla hangover to find their Facebooks inundated with their high school friends’ sloppy selfies, I think it is safe to say that Lollapalooza 2012 will be missed, more so because it was almost slayed by a wicked storm (see timelapse video above.) And why shouldn’t it be? It is a weekend to discover new artists and reconnect with old favorites, and old friends. What’s not to enjoy about that?