Tuesday, August 8th, 2006

Lollapalooza Coda

So I am home, somewhat rested and have finally eaten a meal that is not made of granola and am thus in some sort of condition to wrap up that which was Lollapalooza 2006.

In short, it was an amazing and exhausting experience. The concentration of talent at Grant Park this past weekend was almost obscene, with dozens of bands that could easily sell out medium to large venues on a single bill. For me, the draws were split pretty evenly between favourites I’d seen numerous times before (Wilco, Broken Social Scene, My Morning Jacket) and others I was a fan of but had never seen for whatever reason (Sonic Youth, Built To Spill, The Flaming Lips). And if I could squeeze in some new up-and-comers (Husky Rescue, What Made Milwaukee Famous, Hot Chip), then so much the better.

But festivals do strange things to your attention span. No matter how much you love the band that’s currently playing, there’s that little voice in back of your mind saying, “but you’re going to miss (whatever band is slated to start in ten mintues on the other side of the park)” and for fear of missing out on something magical, that little voice usually wins. Of course, the photo pit policy of three songs and you’re out certainly helped get you thinking about what your next destination was – most times I would just mosey away from the stage while taking in another two or three songs but only a few times did I find somewhere in the audience to plant myself and just enjoy the music. But don’t think I didn’t enjoy what I did see – yeah, I may have missed some of one set but I made up for it with some of another.

And let me also say that the photo pass has completely spoiled me for festivals. Being able to bypass the crowds almost entirely (though the photo pit can get just as crowded as the audience) was a real perk – always front row centre… until they throw you out. Then there’s the free water and (really nasty) energy bars, moderate backstage access, golf cart expresses from one end of the park to the other… yes. Spoiled.

But overall, Lollapalooza has turned me around on the festival thing. No doubt the fact that from my POV it was superbly organized and executed and the weather almost ideal has something to do with it, but for all the negative points I had in my head beforehand – the exhaustion, lousy expensive food, inch-thick layer of sweat and grime on one’s body – I had forgotten the biggest positive, which is the music. I will always love the dank, intimate club shows but there’s something about the right artist on a big stage in front of a huge crowd under the late afternoon sun. It can be something to behold.

I still don’t see festivals like Lolla becoming a staple of my live music diet. The logistics and costs of the American ones (Coachella, Bonnaroo, Sasquatch, ACL, Lollapalooza, Bumbershoot et al) are too prohibitive for me to consider doing more than one or so a year, but the local ones like Hillside, Olympic Island and the upcoming Virgin Festival? Maybe so, maybe so, even though by day three I am more than reminded of my age.

I’d like to say hi and thanks to all the other bloggers whom I hung out with at the festival – Stereogum, Village Indian, Muzzle Of Bees, Scenestars, My Old Kentucky Blog and Can You See The Sunset From The Southside – some were old acquaintances, some new, but all good company and all of whom have their own Lollapalooza coverage up on their sites. And I would be remiss if I didn’t thank those who made the trip possible for me – namely AT&T’s Project D.U. for getting me the press and photo pit access, festival organizers Capital Sports & Entertainment for helping out with lodging, information and probably loads more that I took for granted and AT&T’s Blue Room for providing internet facilities from which I didn’t live blog the fest.

Naturally, reviews of Lollapalooza abound but there’s some more extensive pieces at The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times and CNN. USA Today‘s Pop Candy has some wrap-up lists, LiveDaily has a review and Pitchfork was there (but if that was “fewer ironic t-shirts”, then I shudder to think what a younger audience would have been wearing) and true to form, are the only ones who would declare the Flaming Lips set “a disaster”. In a way I can see where they’re coming from, but come on – lighten up. And local scribe Stuart Berman recaps the festival at Are You Familiar. The Toronto Star was also there.

Work on the photo galleries continues apace – I got a LOT of good shots, another reason to love the photo pass/pit – but in the meatine the Flickr set has been updated again with some crowd shots and general shots from around Lollapalooza. And I’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. Thanks.

By : Frank Yang at 9:00 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Maria says:

    Last night, August 6, 2006, I was at the annual Lollapalooza held at Grant Park in downtown Chicago. After seeing the last performance of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I began to walk out of the venue only to see a crowd of people and stopped to see what the commotion was about. It happened to be two people in the fountain playing around and this caught the eye of security. The crowd loved it! We started chanting “LET THEM GO! LET THEM GO!” We were debating whether or not we should all run in together. Well we didn’t have enough time to think before the police had arrived ON HORSES to push everyone away. I was being pushed around by a horse’s behind as the police officer on top turned the horse around and walked forward into a crowd of thousands of people. Lines leaving a jam packed venue always take a while to walk out due to small entry ways, right? Well now innocent by standers are being shoved, with no room to walk. We get out to the gates, it is about 10:15pm at this time, and we can’t stand there either. We are pushed, once again by officers are huge horses, to the sidewalk. People who were walking, just not fast enough, were getting shoved around by these arrogant police officers who just didn’t care. One man said something along the lines of “Watch it man, I’m moving.” Meaning, he was walking and the cops did not need to use a heavy horse to push him away. The cops immediately took him down, not one cop, not two cops, but four cops to this one man who did not even use any physical or verbal force to the officers. His female companion tried to help but they blocked her off and all she wanted to say was, “Wait he has a broken arm!” I watched in horror as they grabbed his arm and twisted it behind his back. The grown man screamed. I have never heard a grown man scream in such pain and helplessness before. I tried to help him and they blocked me with a horse. I was crying, I could do nothing, but turn my head and walk away. I hear a police officer on his horse say to another officer, “Look! We’ve got a live one.” I wanted to say, “You asshole, we’re all alive!” And as I looked I saw a similar situation occur like the one I saw seconds earlier with the man with the broken arm. Another male who was leaving the park was pushed intentionally by an officer’s horse. He scolded to the officer not to do that and the officer began kicking him in the chest, neck, and face from on top of his horse. The man was tackled to the ground by several officers. I screamed, “STOP IT! STOP IT! YOU’RE HURTING HIM!” My legs began to go numb as the tears flowed out. We had been pushed out to the sidewalk, and then they continued to push us across the street. I did not see a single fan initiating or participating in a violent act. Crossing the street was not good enough. They brought their horses and tractors to the grass we were sitting on. And they ordered us to leave and chased us out on horseback. No one wanted to leave. We knew we had all been done an unjust. The officers were not protecting us, but by flexing their powers, we were being raped. And then I realized, we the officer said, “Look! There’s a live one.” He was right. The rest of us were dead. We were robots. Too afraid. There were hundreds of us and only about 25 of them. And we were quiet. We were taken advantage of. It is a scary thought. This was so minute compared to other events against the government but it really put a marking in my memory. What did the blacks have to go through for all these years? What are they going through now? Other minorities? Women rights? Gays today? I feel like we are being cowards now. We are not giving the respect to the warriors before us, Dr. King, Susan B. Anthony, so many people who have risked their lives for our freedom and now our generation is so quick to say, “It’s the law, it’s our government so it must be right?” These police officers taking advantage of innocent citizens. I feel so disgusted by the whole scenario, it hurts my stomach to remember it. But something must be done. I don’t want to hear that man’s scream again. I want every person to be “a live one.”

  2. alex poska says:

    You bastard, I was sweating it out with all the people that paid 150$..

    Im gonna check and see if i can spot my semi connunist hat with pins on it in any of your crowd pictures!

    Next time get me in mann haha.

    What do you think was the best show?

    (and how about that 15 minute BSS encore cheer that amounted tio jack fucking squat! ill tell you i was involved in the "fuck the peppers" chant hah!)