According to festival organizer C3 Presents, day two of Lollapalooza kicked off at Chicago lakeside Grant Park—a Friday with Kendrick Lamar and The 1975 headlines—in anticipation of another busy and eventful afternoon, but it hadn’t officially sold out.
The daily capacity inside the fences, which was 100,000 in previous years, increased to 115,000 this year.
At 11:15 p.m. Lamar fans had already barricaded the T-Mobile main stage.
20-year-old Davia Walker and 18-year-old Alexis White, friends from Indianapolis, were among the first. Lolla’s first-time attendees said they plan to stay in place all day to keep their ground—they did the same for Billie Eilish on Thursday. White said they were crushed at the barricade at the beginning of Eilish’s set, but enjoyed the show enough to risk a second.
“Waiting an hour between sets makes it brutal,” White said. “But once someone starts performing, it’s not so bad.”
The nonprofit This Must Be The Place distributes naloxone nasal spray kits, an opioid reversal drug, for the first time in Lollapalooza.
Concert goers who visit their booth at Buckingham Fountain can receive free kits and learn about the dangers of fentanyl, what overdose symptoms to look for, and how to apply the spray. About 900 kits were distributed in the afternoon of Day 1, said Ingela Travers-Hayward, co-founder of This Must Be The Place. She estimates they’ll give almost 5,000 by the end of the festival.
“Our main goal isn’t even for someone to use it on the spot, but for people to be able to take it back to their community and tell them that it’s actually safe to carry naloxone,” he said. “Carrying this is a symbol that you care about someone else.”
Founded last year in Columbus, Ohio, the nonprofit Bonnaroo has also appeared at festivals such as Austin City Limits, Burning Man, and the Governors Ball.
“The nationwide crisis of fentanyl overdose affects many different aspects of our communities, and while not unique to festivals, we see this proactive measure as an important opportunity to educate and equip a large group of like-minded people with the knowledge and tools that can save lives,” C3 Presents said in a statement. .
Brianna Buenrostro, 26, of Chicago, stopped by the tent at noon on Friday to pick up kits with two of her friends. Buenrostro said the group wants to have them on hand in case someone in the crowd begins to show signs of an overdose. The staff of This Is Where It Should Be briefly trained them on what to watch out for.
“I hope we don’t have to use them,” Buenrostro said. “It’s just a kind of safety net.”
For 20-year-old twins Luca and Enrique Pasion from Tampa, Florida, the key to surviving the crowd is befriending other fans. On Thursday’s set of NewJeans, they exchanged snacks, water, electrolyte packs, and makeshift fans with those around them. While waiting for beabadoobee’s set on Tito’s stage on Friday, he became friends with Lara Bektaş and Elise McFarland.
All were surprised at how busy the audience was at NewJeans’ performance. “There was already a crowd when we got there and we were a little scared,” Bektaş said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it before.”
When the show started, people next to Bektaş had begun to take off their clothes to fight the heat, and Bektaş watched as someone vomited and covered the stain with mulch. Luca Pasion said that he had to ask the girl behind him to hold onto his waist so he wouldn’t get crushed when the music started.
Of course, it’s a serious concern at major music festivals when the pressure of the crowd causes choking. Ten fans died at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival concert in Houston in 2021. An overcrowded tragedy that occurred in Seoul, South Korea last October killed 159 people, most of them young Halloween lovers.
Last summer, Lollapalooza stereos intermittently stopped until the fans retract and make room.
A statement from C3 Presents said in part: “Lollapalooza places the safety of its fans, artists, and staff as its top priority. Lollapalooza has trained staff to monitor any issues in the crowd at every stage, and with or without the artist’s permission or involvement, “The artists and/or their staff are informed before each performance, and show pause and stop procedures are rehearsed every morning at every stage.”
Lollapalooza is not only Chicago’s biggest music festival, it’s also the city’s biggest circuit. Fans and artists alike plan weeks in advance to bring out their wildest looks by working creatively (or blandly defiant) around strict bag rules, long hiking days, and relentless heat.
After the endless fashion cycle that drives today’s young people to second-hand stores, loose knitwear, nets, sportswear sets and bralette-cargo pants pairs became the common sights of this week’s festival areas.
The slinky neon underpinnings of crazy fashion have inevitably crept into Lolla looks for years, but 2023 is also the summer of DIY-themed ensembles, as many Chicagoans have moved straight from “Barbenheimer” outfits to Lolla wardrobes. Recently, TikTok has exploded with videos of people making teeny athletes by sewing ties, pairing their gym clothes with vintage underwear, and raiding their partners’ closets for plus-size jerseys.
Rapper TiaCorine performed at Northwestern University in May, but her Friday night show on the BMI stage marked her debut at Lollapalooza. He told the Tribune that he wondered if people would watch as festival-goers made their way to Lamar’s stage.
“I hope people come,” he said with a laugh. “I’m important too.”
“The artist from North Carolina aims to make her fans feel good and valued with her sparkling voice,” he said.
“I feel like it makes them feel nice,” she said.
Later, when she took the stage, she told the crowd that she dreamed of playing at the festival last year. Tucked behind the Buckingham Fountain among the trees, several hundred fans had gathered in front of his stage.
“I was so nervous, I was like, ‘There won’t be anyone here, now look at you all,'” he told them.
Then she danced and did her sonic makeup.
Lunchtime wandering around Chow Town came to life when the set of Skizzy Mars popped off the T-Mobile stage. Mars roared with the DJ Vice 2016 track “Steady 1234,” featuring him, as Mars’ up-tempo vocals nearly overpowered the start of Blanke’s set on Perry’s stage nearby.
But the midday crowd really went crazy when Mars played the heart-wrenching anthem “Say Something” live for the first time. The track was released on streaming platforms on Friday morning.
Lamar’s Friday night set was expected to be one of the festival’s top hits. Lamar was last in Chicago on the “Big Steppers” tour at United Center in August 2022.
Leading actors for the rest of the weekend include Tomorrow X Together and Odesza Saturday, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lana Del Rey, which closed the festival on Sunday.
Making history as the first Latin artist to make Lollapalooza headlines, Karol G greeted thousands of fans at the Bud Light Stage on Thursday night and told them what her upcoming tour would be like by performing singles like “Tusa” and “Bichota”. More titles than her latest studio album “Mañana Será Bonito,” the first entirely Spanish-language album by a female artist and a Colombian artist to top the Billboard 200 chart this spring.
The singer shouted at her fans waving flags from Venezuela, Mexico, her homeland of Colombia and other countries. Special guest Uniting Voices Chicago accompanied “Mientras Me Curo del Cora” and Karol G featured female musicians during “Gucci Los Paños”.
“This is the first time with all of you,” he said to the crowd in Spanish. “I’m also trying my English, so I have to say it’s great.”
Midway through her set, Deanna Belos, lead singer of Chicago-based punk rock band Sincere Engineer, told the crowd her next song was about the big body of water just across DuSable Lake Shore Drive.
“I’m going to jump into Lake Michigan and swim as far as I can and you have to come with me, you have to come with me,” she sang.
The sun-baked fans nodded. A few made circles in the moss hole. Later, guitarist Kyle Geib called out to his family.
Geib’s father Frank cheered proudly. “This is great. This is great. Skyline, lake. We grew up in Chicago and came to Lollapalooza to watch our oldest son play, which is great,” said the Crystal Lake resident.
Belos told the crowd that he and his fellow cast members grew up in Chicago and attended the festival as children. “I’m not going to start crying, I’m going to stop there,” he said before returning to punk rock.
After the show, he told The Tribune that he was nervous about playing at his hometown festival. He said that the music of the city influenced his own music and references to him were scattered in his songs. She remembered getting on the train from Orland Park as a kid to see Coldplay and Phoenix. “It’s weird to be on the other side of that now.”