Lollapalooza 2012 Review

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How was Lollapalooza 2012 in Chicago?  It was hot.  Too hot.  45 degree Celsius hot.  I was sun burned after the first day.  But it was worth it.  It was a party and I had so much fun.

Lollapalooza ran from August  3- 5, 2012 at Grant Park and brought in close to 100, 000 people a day.  If you think that’s a lot of people it doesn’t feel that intense when you are in the park.  This was my second year at Lolla.  This year I went with my gf’s and they were prepared for the pace.  Back to back bands, lots of people, clean but port o potty’s nevertheless, yummy food stands, and the heat.

The heat was unbearable – but if you are prepared for it with a hat, sunglasses, bottle of water, cool clothing you were good to go.  I was ready.

I didn’t see as many people passing out with heat exhaustion this year nor did I see as many gate jumpers either.

Lollapalooza is run like a military operation, it’s relatively clean, a huge money making machine but if you plan well you are bound to have a good time.

I love that you could fill your bottle of water bottle up at the Camelback water stations whenever you like for free.  They are sprinkled all over the park.  Personally, I wish there were more.  This year waiting 10 min to have your water replenished proved to be hard.

My favourite food stand was the Grahamwich in Chow town South.  I had his famous Chicago Lobster Dog and salivated for it since last summer.  So this summer I had 2-3 a day.  At $10 they were pricey but so worth it.  A perfect hit of protein, carbs and fat to keep you going in between shows.

The Port O Potty situation – ok, I didn’t find it bad.  Nor was it great. I just did my business and got out.  They were relatively clean, there was loads of toilet paper, an area for you to throw out garbage and they didn’t smell.  Honestly, when you have 30-60 seconds, there is no thinking happening.  It could have been worse.  I like that Lolla always had hand sanitizer stations handy for you’re after bathroom business.

The stages were far apart – yes they always are.  Grant Park is huge so you really have to be prepared to walk 5-10 miles a day in the heat.  Look, I’m all about style.  But even with my adidas sneakers, my feet killed after a 10 hour days hustling between shows.  Sneakers are always a necessity.  With 8 stages to navigate – you have to be ready to walk.

Perry’s was not a wee lil tent like last year where all the cub kids congregated while bodies dropped passing out because of heat exhaustion.  This year it was just a big open stage as Red Bull and Bud Light which was nice.  I noticed last year that I am a closet fan of dub step which according to Jonathan Davis from Korn is the new heavy metal.  That say’s it all.

The big ‘damper’ was that a huge storm rolled into Lolla on Saturday which made the organizers evacuate the park for a few hours.  In the age of collapsing stages they didn’t want liabilities.  It was pretty scary.   Imagine 100,000 trying to exit Grant Park like one massive cattle call and spilling onto Michigan Avenue at 3 p.m.?

The storm clouds came quickly and the sky went black all within a matter of a hour.  When it finally began to rain it rained hard.  It was almost like the skies were saying ‘it’s time to kick this heat to the curb’.  I had texted my sisters and heard that my mum already knew what was going on as it was on CNN!

I got out of the park safely, but running the 2 min length from the bus stop to my hotel I was drenched even with a rain jacket on.  It was intense.  Because of the storm we missed a couple of bands including of Alabama Shakes and the Tuneyeards.  I guess it could have been worse.  Coming back into the park for Bloc Party and RHCP proved to be very Glastonburyesque.  It was muddy, wet and smelled of horse manure.  But we made the most of it.

The following and last day of Lolla the festival organizers had spread some sand over the effected muddy areas in the park.  But that didn’t stop the 20 year college kids from jumping into the mud and smearing themselves with it.  Sigh.  Good times.

Which bands did I see?


Sharon Van Etten – supreme, so funny and sweet.  She won some new fans.

Metric – we had a great time dancing to their hits and new tunes.  I can’t believe I have never seen them in their hometown of Toronto.

Die Antwoord – absurd, but in the vein of old school Prodigy we had fun dancing to them.

The Shins – no words.  I wept.  I am even more in love with the Shins now after their live performance at Lolla.

Black Sabbath – now I know where the bands I love in the present have been influenced musically, truly a memorable performance.

Wale – I bumped into their show by mistake, very cool.


Delta Spirit – interesting, very Noah and the Whalesque.

Givers – similar to Cults.

Neon Indian – I wish I was able to see more of their set but it was shortened due to the storm.  They could be considered to be indie electronic.

Tuneyards – missed because of the storm.  They are Beggars Banquet darlings.

The Weeknd – meh.  Overrated even for a Canadian band.

Bloc Party – I have always loved these boys; they impressed me so much that I bought tickets for me and a friend for their show in Toronto in September.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – they are my first true high school love, they won me back.  Jut not a lot of songs off Mother’s Milk.   I guess that’s too be expected their bread and butter are everything off Californification and Blood Sugar Sex Magik which they played.


Bombay Bicycle Club – thank you to Eliza and Derek, I’m a new fan.  Bloc Party meets Vampire Weekend vibe.

Polica – thank you Derek, I’m in love.  Belly meets Throwing Muses vibe.

Little Dragon – Andrew’s girl, we saw her when she toured with Gorillaz a few years back and she blew me away at Perry’s.

The Sheepdogs  – I went to see them because they are Canadian and hey canuck support and all.  But they were a waste of time.  I wish I went to see Sigur Ross with Michelle who was having her own spiritual experience.

Florence and the Machine – no words.  I wept.  She sang all of her hits and some not so famous bits.  ‘Cosmic Love’ and a dance version of ‘Shake it Out’ were mesmerising and was worth the price of the Lolla ticket in itself.

Kaskade – meh

Justice – it was fun to rave with Michelle for the last Lolla act whilst mosquitoes nipped at out ankles.

Whenever I come back from Lolla, I start to furiously look up bands and download.  It’s a great place to expose yourself to bands you wouldn’t normally pay money to see.  I found Phantogram this way last year.

Next summer for my 40th bday I am thinking of hitting Outside Lands in San Francisco.  Fingers crossed!

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4 thoughts on “Lollapalooza 2012 Review

    1. thirtyfourflavours Post author

      Mmmmmm…I wouldn’t say it was a negative experience. It’s hit and miss when you go to a festival. But the end of the day, it’s always a blast seeing live music. ;)


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