Lollapalooza this year was more than just a music festival. It signified a lot of different things for a lot of different people. Although it was Lollapalooa’s official 30th year anniversary it was also, in many ways, a year of firsts. For many it felt like the first steps back into normalcy. A first step back into real life. A first time back on the dance floor. A first time back home.
When Lollapalooza announced that it indeed was going to come home to Grant Park they announced that a COVID Vaccine or a negative COVID test would be needed to enter the festival. They even teamed up with the city of Chicago to give away Lollapalooza tickets to those willing to get vaccinated. Like I said, a year of firsts.
The First Dance Party Back
Dayglow made their Lollapalooza debut on Thursday afternoon – and they treated the dance-hungry crowd to wonderful indie-dance oriented set. It was 4:00, people were officially warmed up, and they wanted to dance. And dance they did. For many it might have been the first time they have danced with another group of people in almost two years. It took a few songs for the crowd to get into it – but when they did – and their energy matched Dayglow’s – it was an instant sign of a great weekend to come.
First Time Headliners
Artists like Illenium and Marshmello are no strangers to Lollapalooza – they have both performed at Lolla’s dance-centric Perry’s stage in years past. Come 2021 and their music reach has far outgrown a daytime Perry’s set, thus they returned to headline the Bud Light Seltzer stage on Thursday and Friday, respectively. They both absolutely proved why their music deserved the headlining slot.
Illenium took the stage with a brand new album under his belt with Fallen Embers being less than a month old – and althogh he did share some of the new tracks with the crowd his set was packed with songs from the new album he blended in some absolutely heavy tunes to fill out some of the rest of his set. It created a final product of emotional singalongs and furious headbanging from the Illenium loving crowd.
Marshmello emerged on the Bud Light Seltzer Stage with the vocals from his collaboration with Juice WRLD in the background where Polo G exclaims – “I’m from Chicago she say she like my accent.” There was cheers before unleashing the first of many backbreaking dubstep drops – and the crowd was feeling. They were begging to sing along with every song they knew and welcomed guests like G Herbo and Juicy J – further cementing Marshmello’s place as a multi-faceted producer.
From Late Night to Festival
Lollapalooza is not a first for the Brownies and Lemonde crew. They have hosted a specically curated Lollapalooza aftershow in 2017, 2018, and 2019. But this year was different. In addition to bringing an aftershow to Chicago’s Chop Shop, The Brownies and Lemonade crew from Los Angeles had the opportunity to hot a set at Lollapalooza’ Tito’s Stage at 8:00 on Friday night and they absolutely brought the L.A. heat. B&L Residents Gojira and Fernet kicked it off by treating the crowd to a bass-heavy set with special guest MOORE KISMET to hype the crowd up before handing the decks off to a Chicago legend by the name of Yehme2 (Formerly of Flosstradamus.) In a short 25 minutes, Yehme2 reminded everyone why he is one of the godfathers of electronic trap music.
— Brownies & Lemonade🍫🍋 (@TeamBandL) July 31, 2021
Yehme2 took the stage in a homecoming of sorts before unleashing his blend of EDM and Hip-Hop with a slew of special guests including none other than Twista to end the set with a perfectly placed drop of “Overnight Celebrity.” The B&L Crew is always welcome in Chicago.
— Brownies & Lemonade🍫🍋 (@TeamBandL) July 31, 2021
First Time DJ’ing Lollapalooza
Dr. Fresch isn’t a stranger to Chicago – but 2021 was the first time he had a proper Lollapalooza set – and it was 100% worth the wait. His aggressive take on house music and his dedication to thumping hip-hop remixes always put him at the top of my must watch list whenever he comes to Chicago. Dr. Fresch is a proven partystarter in ANY environment – but somehow the infamous Perry’s Stage at Lollapalooza feels like a perfect place for Dr. Fresch. His “G-House” hip hop remixes had the crowd eating from the palm of his hands. And yes – people mosh to house music at Perry’s – but Dr. Fresch not only enjoyed it – but encouraged it.
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First U.S. Performance
Alison Wonderland is not a new Lolla performer, she isn’t a new U.S. performer either – but Lollapalooza 2021 WAS Alison Wonderland’s first U.S. performance since the COVID lockdowns – and from the start of her set you can tell it was very special for her. She took the stage and announced that it was her first U.S. show in “Over a year and a half.” For over an hour the crowd matched every ounce of energy she poured into her performance creating a perfect place for many to end their Lollapalooza 2021 campaign. She ripped through her catalog of music, adding her live vocals and infectious instigation while blending in a slew of remixes throughout.
Lollapalooza felt special this year – and we hope there’s many more festivals to report in 2021. Much love to everyone involved at Lollapalooza and C3 Presents that helped make this happen. See you guys next year.
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