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Lollapalooza 2010

Three day music festival in downtown Chicago.

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Best Music Festival of the Year!

  • Aug 11, 2010

Imagine a three day outdoor concert/dance party with 250,000 of your closest friends in the middle of downtown Chicago. Sound awesome? Welcome to Lollapalooza! I was lucky enough to participate in all three days of the event starting last Friday, August 6 through Sunday, August 8th. It was sweltering and crowded, but the lineup was amazing and the location could not be beat. Here’s a summary of the bands I saw and the ones that truly made an impression:


  • New Pornographers: The infectious power-pop of the New Pornographers provided a great opening to our afternoon and helped set the tone for the evening. The full band was in attendance, including Neko Case and Dan Bejar, which seems to be an increasingly rare occasion. When they are all together and on top of their game - as they were on Friday - there is perhaps no better band in the industry today.
  • Dirty Projectors: Provided a relaxing follow up set to the New Pornographers. Their unique male/female harmonies were a great way to keep the afternoon vibe going.
  • The Black Keys: The quintessential Lollapalooza band, the Keys seem to appeal to all types of music fans. They played their distinctive blend of blues rock which kept the energy flowing before Friday’s headliners, Lady Gaga and The Strokes.
  • Chromeo: Chromeo, who I was not very familiar with, provided a great warm up to Lady Gaga’s evening set. They brought a unique sound and sense of energy to the pre-Gaga crowd. They will definitely be a band that I will be looking for in the future.


  • Lady Gaga: Unfortunately, though I had high expectations, she didn’t do it for me. She talked for what felt like 5 minutes between each song while she changed her costumes. Her monologue was meant to be inspiring, all about finding your true self and being who you are meant to be, but instead seemed condescending and contrived. The crowd was strange too, dressed in Gaga gear and wigs. So my friends and I left the show early. Can you blame us?
  • The Strokes: We caught the last few songs of their set after leaving Lady Gaga’s set early and heading across the park. The band played their predictable (in a good way) brand of garage rock. Hopefully their recent tour will result in long awaited new album.

  • The XX: Despite the masses of people at this early afternoon set this was one of my favorite shows of the weekend. I was curious as to how their songs would sound in an environment like Lollapalooza and I was satisfied that even their mellow vibe can translate well in an outdoor concert environment. They played every song on their album and it was great to hear.
  • Grizzly Bear: Great use of vocals and harmonizing helped celebrate a perfect August afternoon.
  • Metric: The Canadian rockers re-energized the crowd after a few laid back afternoon performances (see above). Seemed to be taking hold of their new found popularity (by way of the new Twilight soundtrack) and running with it. Expect big things from Emily Haines and company in the future.
  • Spoon: Played their typical reliable, consistent set of music. They looked like they were working hard up on stage.
  • Phoenix: Amazing. The crowd was into it and they put on a fantastic evening performance.

  • Mumford & Sons: Huge crowd for this group that plays English Americana/Folk music. They performed well, the crowd was singing along and though it was by far the hottest time of day, it was worth it.
  • Yeasayer: I hadn’t heard much of Yeasayer, but found their Middle Eastern influences appealing. They had an upbeat vibe that made their songs easy to dance to and I’ll definitely be buying their CD and look forward to seeing them in concert again soon.
  • Frightened Rabbit: A Scottish rock band, they played on the Sony Bloggie stage (a bit more intimate environment) and managed to get me dancing with their combination of slow and fast songs. The band was lyrically intense and emotionally provoking.
  • Arcade Fire: Perhaps the premiere band of all three days. The turnout seemed like it was well over 100,000 and they put on a great show. Playing songs from their new album and a mix from their past ones, this was one of the highlights of Lollapalooza.

The Good:

Beyond the great music, the location (in Grant Park), makes this concert one of the best in the country. Though crowds can make it difficult to move anywhere fast, if you leave a show a bit early at the end of the night, you are usually able to find a cab and head to the nearest bar, post-show or hotel room.

In addition, the food was excellent. There were entire blocks filled with options such as Lou Malnati’s, gyros, Asian, corn, burritos, salads, ice cream, etc. The alcohol options were also nice (especially for those who don’t like to consume beer) with Estancia wine in red or white, as well as sports bottles of wine being sold (an entire bottle in a can).

The Bad:

Heat in the 90’s with extra humidity, crowd packed stages making it hard to move or see, and young (try 14 year-olds) sitting on the ground crying because they were too hammered to know where they were anymore, all got a bit tiresome.

Cell phone service was hit and miss. With so many people in one area, phone calls were being dropped, text messages weren't going through. All this made it extremely difficult to communicate where you were to friends and people that you were trying to meet up with. Buy walkie-talkies:)


Perhaps the most important takeaways from the event -

Items to bring with you: toilet paper (by nightfall there will be none in the toilets), hand sanitizer (again these stands outside the toilets would disappear by dusk, I am baffled as to why. I saw a couple holding one up in a crowd later that night?!), sunscreen, and a  blanket or towel to sit on (especially key if you plan on attending all three days and you are sick of standing).

The free water refill stations were also key to combat the heat and the alcohol consumption. I recommend filling up your water bottle (bring your own empty, or purchase one for $2) every time you pass a station.

Overall: An amazing experience and one I won’t forget soon. For a three day pass at $215, you really get a lot of music, entertainment and ambiance for your money. I’ll be there next year!

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August 12, 2010
This sounds awesome. I wish I was there! Funny what you say about Lady Gaga. I'm a fan, but I still find her so... dramatic and strange. Well, I guess that's what some people like about her. And thanks for the tips! I think that's important for most multi-day outdoor festivals!
August 20, 2010
It was awesome. Definitely worth going at least once. All three days might be a bit too much, but so many great shows for the price and such fun crowds! I was a Lady Gaga fan, but alas the weirdness of her show and fans was a bit of a turn off, perhaps she would be more fun to see in a normal concert setting:)
August 12, 2010
i was in town for lollapalooza and saw many of the bands you mentioned. great reviews and tips on the weekend!
August 20, 2010
Nice! I hope you had an amazing time:)
More Lollapalooza 2010 reviews
Quick Tip by . August 12, 2010
posted in Windy City Secrets
I had a great time at Lollapalooza. My favorite shows included Yeasayer and Frightened Rabbit. Bring sunblock and it's always worth it to try and sneak your own wine in:)
About the reviewer
Bethany ()
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Hello Lunchers!      I am a contributing writer foran onlinelife and style website that highlights hot-spots in Minneapolis and Chicago. As such, I frequent many new boutiques, restaurants, … more
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Lollapalooza is an annual music festival featuring heavy metal, alternative rock, hip hop, and punk rock bands, dance and comedy performances, and craft  booths. It has also provided a platform for non-profit and political groups. Lollapalooza has featured a diverse range of bands and has helped expose and popularize alternative rock groups such as Pearl Jam, Primus, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Jane's Addiction, Soundgarden, The Smashing Pumpkins, Alice in Chains, Tool, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hole, 30 Seconds to Mars, The Strokes, and Green Day.

Location: Grant Park, Chicago

Dates: August 6, 2010 – August 8, 2010

(Artists listed from earliest to latest set times)

Parkways Foundation
Friday: Balkan Beat Box, Raphael Saadiq, Devo, Hot Chip, Lady Gaga
Saturday: Rebelution, Blues Traveler, Gogol Bordello, Social Distortion, Green Day
Sunday: Nneka, The Cribs, X Japan, Wolfmother, Soundgarden

Budweiser Stage
Friday: Wavves, Mavis Staples, The New Pornographers, The Black Keys, The Strokes
Saturday: The Soft Pack, Stars, Grizzly Bear, Spoon, Phoenix
Sunday: The Antlers, Blitzen Trapper, Yeasayer, MGMT, Arcade Fire

Playstation Stage
Friday: B.o.B, Los Amigos Invisibles, Drive-By Truckers, Dirty Projectors, Jimmy Cliff
Saturday: The Kissaway Trail, Wild Beasts, The xx, Metric, Cut Copy
Sunday: Miniature Tigers, The Dodos, Mumford & Sons, MUTEMATH, The National

adidas Stage
Friday: Javelin, The Walkmen, The Big Pink, ...
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