Chicago rose out of a swampy divot between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River Basin, and during Lollapalooza 2023, to the swamp it did return. Thursday and Friday paired scorching temperatures with a kind of muggy humidity that would have allowed you to grow orchids in your underwear, and while off-and-on rains on Saturday and Sunday brought cooler temperatures, they also splattered Grant Park’s fields with tiny ponds and transformed it’s rolling hills into mudslides. Most of the grounds stayed dry enough, but the areas close to the stages got torn up. By Sunday evening, waterproof hiking boots offered more access than a Platinum Pass.
The Lollapalooza 2023 livestream showed viewers dozens of different musical performances, as well as a few glimpses of cloud or sun and the occasional half-view of the world’s prettiest skyline. But it’s harder to tell when an unprepared band is wilting in the heat, harder to hear a crowd of thousands all sighing in unison at a gust of wind off the lake, and harder to understand how, in a steady rain, a concert in a copse of trees can feel as delicate as a prayer.
If you enjoyed Lollapalooza on the livestream, congratulations on your un-burned skin, I bet your clothes don’t itch at all. But here’s what you missed.
Influencers Take the L
On two separate occasions I watched influencers literally dive into traffic below the tracks of the ‘L,’ risking their lives for a perfect Lollapalooza photo even before entering festival grounds.
My path from the train to Grant Park took me down Wabash Ave. It was less crowded than Michigan Ave, and I had to travel further south than most festival goers, because while general entrance is closer to the trains, the press entrance makes it much easier to
smuggle drugs get to the T-Mobile headlining stage.
There, below the tracks of the Loop on one of the busiest streets in Chicago, I observed two different sets of handsome young men take pictures of themselves blocking traffic. They must’ve thought the elevated tracks were the key to a viral shot, and the way they went about it made me fondly recall the theories of Charles Darwin.