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Rain won’t overshadow Odesza’s day


Saturday’s Lollapalooza opened with less fanfare – blame it on the rain that fell in Grant Park for most of the afternoon. While the first drenched fans made their way to the T-Mobile stage, the poncho-clad festival staff were still busy cleaning up the remains of the big crowd on Friday night for Kendrick Lamar.

Day 3 stars Odesza on T-Mobile stage and K-pop group Tomorrow X Together on Bud Light Stage, as well as rapper Pusha T.

Some fans came prepared. Anna and Jovana Martinez of DeKalb County and Hope Herrera of Joliet stopped at CVS on their way to the festival for bright yellow $6 rain ponchos. They planned to be on the T-Mobile stage and stay in Odesza for the set of the Revivalists in the afternoon. They were also there for Billie Eilish on opening day.

Saying that this year’s festival was “much busier than last year,” Jovana Martinez said, “People were literally skipping over each other” on Eilish’s set. The lineup is more to blame for the larger crowd sizes – the daily capacity at Lollapalooza has been increased for 2023.

At the start of Lamar’s set last night, the Martinez brothers said they heard repeated doctor calls during the 15-minute delay before the music started. Crew members “drawn a lot of people out of the crowd.”

While Saturday’s slow start intimidated Australian DJ Benson, his flamboyant set was not indicative. With less than a hundred fans in attendance at noon, Benson looked exuberant, bouncing all over the turntable as he reviewed some of his favorite music club arrangements.

“This is my first time in Chicago,” he said, helping his fans face the rain. “This city is so beautiful!”

A pulsating red laser light show through time, with trippy glitchcore graphics and Benson’s rap-infused hypnotic mixes, pulled many attendees off the sidewalks as if magnetized to Perry’s stage.

Nathan and Hailey Fast, both 35, chose to watch the set from a giant inflatable chair. Nathan Fast said the couple plans to bring the cloud-like rainbow pillow to multiple shows today.

“I don’t want to stand all day,” said Hailey Fast, looking at the muddy grass in front of Perry’s stage. “It was a condition for me to come with him.”

Frayne Vibez, playing with Kosine, opened the Barcardi stage. It was the 22-year-old musician’s first Lollapalooza but he is no stranger to the scene – he is the grandson of the late Chicago jazz great Ramsey Lewis.

Speaking to the Tribune after her set (“It went great,” she said. “It’s raining but the show continues”), she said she grew up with her father taking her to Lewis’ studio.

“The biggest thing he left me with is that it’s all about the music,” Vibez said. “Never mind the outside forces, never mind what people say, the important thing is to be in those two minutes and 40 seconds.”

Growing up in the western suburbs and attending Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Vibez describes her voice as pop with influences from hip hop and alternative rock. He hopes to release his first album next year and continue performing in Chicago. “Lollapalooza equals momentum,” he said. “We don’t stop anymore.”

“The burger? Hot dog? Epic Burger employees called during the 12:30 break in the storm to lure customers. Adjoining Tandoor Char House vendors laughed and leaned against each other over tandoori chicken empanadas and stuffed fries.

The Chow Town area in the middle of Grant Park, with concession cabins on one side and shady trees on the other, was a popular shelter from the morning rains. Lines formed at Fatso’s Last Stand and Broken English Taco Pub.

The iconic Chicago “Cheezborger” diner, Billy Goat Tavern, expects to sell 5,000 burgers each day of the festival. Connie’s Pizza, a longtime Lolla staple, sold 5,500 slices on Thursday and 5,300 slices on Friday, general manager Mike Acton said. He said he missed the days when the festival was smaller.

“I love the extra people – I felt like a lot more vendors had more business,” he said. “But did we like it? No. Because there are more sellers.”

Two 26-year-olds from Portage, Indiana – Tim Wozniak and Alyssa Rospierski – stopped in the middle of the street as it was raining. Rospierski tucked under Wozniak’s poncho to keep his nachos dry.

“We’re getting through the rain because we want to see the Friday Drivers’ Club,” said Rospierski. “We are not staying dry at this point. We’re just hoping to warm up.”

They said they saw 1975 last night and the energy from it carried them through gloomy weather. Wozniak is an electrician and Rospierski works at a dentist’s office, and they both love live music, especially when it’s local. Friday Pilots Club singer Caleb Hiltunen met guitarist Drew Polovick while attending Columbia College.

“Let the rain stop so we can enjoy today and the rest of tomorrow,” he said.

This story is being updated.


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