I’ve never paid to see Lollapalooza in its current incarnation in Chicago
The first year a friend got me in to the Lollalounge through a radio contest she won, and each subsequent year I’ve had press access. I’ve read and written countless previews and reviews of the festival, and it wasn’t until this year that I realized each and every one was basically flawed. Sure, they tackled the bands appearing, and attempted to capture the vibe, but they never really grappled with the most primal question surrounding Lollapalooza; should you go?
You see, most reviews you’ll come across are written by folks like me. We get in for free, are granted access to amenities 99% of attendees are not, and – this is most important – we come from a vantage point of relative privilege since most critics have probably already seen the vast majority of the bands appearing at Lollapalooza. What does this result in? Well, usually you end up reading uniform reviews semi-complaining about the line-up, flagellating the festival and the bands involved for sponsorship issues, gripes about ticket prices, and much hand-wringing over the infamous “radius clause.” Oh, and if you’re lucky, you get some griping about drunk meatheads, sound bleed, and general overcrowding. (And, yes, every once in a while, you get honest-to-god reporting on isolated incidences.)
The thing is, all those write-ups sort of miss the whole point of Lollapalooza.