REVIEW: Lollapalooza 2022 was a memorable Chicago weekend filled with all genres of music, and the festival will return to Grant Park for at least another ten years.
The live music scene has had quite a busy year in 2022. With more events than ever before, what are some festivals that truly stick out from the pack? One of our answers every year is Lollapalooza.
It’s one of the biggest multi-genre festivals in America along with Bonnaroo and Coachella. Taking place in the heart of downtown Chicago at Grant Park, Lollapalooza delivers an unforgettable experience each summer.
Chicago is one of the most-visited cities in America annually, but what even is the city’s most popular attraction? With a newly announced ten-year contract to remain at Grant Park through 2032, Lollapalooza weekend just might be the best time to visit The Windy City.
Lollapalooza used to sell out as soon as tickets go on sale, but demand has slowly been dwindling in recent years.
Lolla was once one of the few big-name festivals in a rapidly growing industry. The first week of August (or the last week of July) was consistently a highlight of festival season. The live event scene is much more spread out today. Dozens of events happen every weekend, and festivals are held throughout the entire year. Is Lollapalooza still worth going to, or is it better to attend more niche fests like Movement, Pitchfork, North Coast, and ARC Music Festival?
Some brush off Lollapalooza as a reckless party with bad vibes, but Lolla consistently earns its reputation as a top-tier festival.
Even when Chicago-based Auris Presents stole many EDM artists at the debut Heatwave Festival two weeks before, Lollapalooza still managed to bring a decent mix of electronic music to the table. Headliners at the EDM-focused Perry’s Stage included Zhu, Rezz, Black Coffee, Kaskade, and the GOAT John Summit.
Electronic music has always been a focus of Lollapalooza and its founder Perry Farrell. Unfortunately, this year was probably the weakest electronic music lineup in recent memory. There were still great sets from artists like Chris Lorenzo, MK, Clozee, Liquid Stranger, Sidepiece, Duke Dumont, and ATLiens, but compared to the depth of other stages and considering EDM’s history at the fest, Perry’s felt a bit lacking.
It’s essential to explore the entire festival grounds, even if you’re mostly there for EDM and the Perry’s Stage.
2022 was a better year than ever to explore the entire festival and see the wide range of musicians performing across Grant Park. No matter what style of music you prefer outside of EDM, Lollapalooza probably has it. This was a particularly good year for mainstage headliners: Metallica, Dua Lipa, Kygo, Green Day, Lil Baby, J. Cole, and
Doja Cat J-Hope from K-Pop group BTS.
Lolla used to have a reputation as an alternative rock festival. It’s slowly changed musically throughout its history and now features a mix of nearly all genres. From hip-hop to hyperpop to indie rock, Lollapalooza not only hosts the best artists in the industry, but it also provides plenty of music to discover for the first time.
Lolla increasingly books more hip-hop artists, and rap might be more popular than Perry’s with the 18-and-under crowd. This year’s lineup included Maxo Kream, Pi’erre Bourne, Don Toliver, Cordae, YG, Big Sean, and Coi Leray.
One of most impressive qualities of Lolla is the audio and visual production. Both main stages have several rows of speakers and massive HD video boards. Sitting down near the back of the crowd at the main stages can feel like the front row. We usually chill on the left side under the trees at the Discord Stage or in the back of the fields at the Bud Light and T-Mobile Stages.
Lollapalooza also has essential festival vibes from alternative and indie rock bands.
We started attending Lolla when groups like Phoenix, MGMT, and Passion Pit were the most anticipated artists on the lineup. Live band performances are an important part of this festival. Wallows, Maneskin, Local Natives, Girl in Red, and Glass Animals were some of this year’s highlights.
Pop music also has a major presence, and it was one of the strongest genres at Lollapalooza 2022. Lolla notably hosted Tove Lo, Caroline Polachek, Tinashe, Fletcher, Charli XCX, and Chelsea Cutler. The festival also tried a few new things: a death metal/deathcore band in Lorna Shore and a bluegrass musician in Billy Strings.
Outside of the music, Lollapalooza is known for its food selections and other activities around the park.
There are dozens of Chicago-based restaurants serving food along Columbus Avenue, and the prices are reasonable. If there’s one festival to actually buy food at, Lollapalooza is the one. It has a restaurant selection on par with Taste of Chicago.
Lolla is a unique music festival experience with a diverse lineup at a beautiful venue.
There’s really no beating the view of the Chicago skyline at Lollapalooza. The festival does require a lot of walking, but navigating away from the crowd will save you a lot of time. And it’s a good reason to check out the artist and festival merch tents on the east side of Buckingham Fountain.
Four days of Lollapalooza is a lot, and a change back to 3 days might be ideal. But there are plenty of ways to attend Lollapalooza without going the entire weekend. In 2022, Lolla started selling two-day ticket packages for the first time.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on stage Sunday night that Lollapalooza will be returning to Grant Park through 2032.
With at least ten more years to look forward to in Chicago, Lolla will continue to be a staple of Chicago music culture. Lolla weekend is one of the highlights of the year, and aftershows around the city are never-ending. Lollapalooza is a proper festival experience in one of the best cities in the world, and that won’t change anytime soon.