As we approach a week since the conclusion of Lollapalooza 2022, it’s hard to argue that there has been a more iconic edition than the one that just took place. From barrier-breaking performances to amazing crowds and one of the best event atmospheres of any promotion, Lollapalooza put on a near-perfect festival and set the bar high for the rest of the year.
With nearly 400,000 people traveling to Grant Park in the downtown region of Chicago, there was much anticipation for what waited behind the gates of the event after the 2021 edition proved that Lollapalooza could easily be the premiere festival in the United States. The festival would not only have to replicate the one-of-a-kind atmosphere it created, but those on the lineup would have to live up to last year’s iconic performances of the Foo Fighters, Illenium, Post Malone and, of course, Tyler, The Creator. But to nobody’s surprise, Lollapalooza 2022 busted right through the ceiling in more ways than one and hosted a four-day historical record-setting experience.
The clock hit noon, and the first day of the windy city’s most iconic event was upon us. As attendees made their way through the entrance and into the park, what was waiting for them was four full days of unforgettable magic. Lollapalooza played host to 170 acts across its eight stages (T-Mobile, Bud Light Seltzer, Discord, BMI, Coinbase, Solana x Perry’s, Tito’s, Kidzapalooza by Lifeway). From the start, each artist brought their best set, and each crowd had untapped energy. It was truly special.
Thursday had an amazing lineup to kick off the 2022 edition. With energetic performances from Midwxst, Tove Lo, Com3t, Remi Wold, MK, Billy Strings, Jazmine Sullivan, Lil Baby and a masterclass of a set from San Francisco-based producer ZHU, Lollapalooza’s Thursday slate could have held its own at any other festival as a closing day lineup. But we were just getting started.
The day belonged to one act, Metallica. Scheduled to take place at 8:15 pm on the T-Mobile stage, the iconic metal band brought in a crowd of over 75,000 people. The amount of Metallica merchandise that was spotted throughout the day was truly amazing and showed why the band is still more than capable of being the first name on top of an event’s bill. The show was two hours of pure adrenaline. Metallica played through all their iconic songs with unthinkable guitar solos, pyrotechnics, drum breaks, throbbing baseline and a jaw-dropping stage design. Even with multiple appearances at Lollapalooza, they never disappoint and put on one of the most memorable rock shows inside Grant Park to fans who have followed them since day one and those who were just seeing them for the first time.
The second day was just that much better. As those on stage plugged in their guitars and got their voices ready, it was hard to decide which stage to head to first, as the daytime schedule was just as impressive as the nighttime one. It was Jasiah, Whipped Cream, Glass Animals, Don Toliver, LP Giobbi, Girl in Red, Rezz and Cordae, along with others, whose sets sent shockwaves through the grounds before the main headliners took the two mainstages.
Both Machine Gun Kelly and Dua Lipa showed why they have earned the title of two of the best performers in the entire industry. Those who found themselves at the T-Mobile stage for the Grammy-nominated artist’s show saw why the ‘Future Nostalgia’ tour is currently being regarded as one of the best experiences of the year. With a colorful production, outstanding choreography, and Lipa’s undeniable voice, the set was something out of a movie. On the other side of Grant Park, Machine Gun Kelly arguably put on the performance of his life with a page out of his ‘Mainstream Sellout’ tour, which he is currently in the middle of. The Cleveland native climbed structures, smashed guitars and even welcomed the world to ‘Hotel Diablo’ with a few songs from his infamous rap album. The show was one that will, without a doubt, live on for many years to come.
Day three was off to another outstanding start. Performances from Wallows, EVAN GIIA, Duckwrth, Chocise and Blxst rocked the stages in the early afternoon. Another brilliant set was up-and-coming electronic dance artist Surf Mesa. His set was one of the most entertaining DJ shows of the entire weekend and showed why he is quickly becoming a notable name in the industry. As the afternoon went later, Lil Durk returned home to one of the largest crowds on any of the non-mainstages. Big Sean then took listeners down memory lane with an unforgettable highly energetic show. History was made soon after as Tomorrow X Together became the first K-pop band to ever perform at Lollapalooza.
The night slots consisted of Kaskade, Kygo and J. Cole, who all put on high-caliber shows. Kygo started the set alongside long-time colleague Parson James and even surprised fans with an appearance from Chicago-native Chance The Rapper. Kaskade cemented his legendary status once again as he delivered a set that took fans on an emotional roller coaster. At the end of the night, J. Cole raged to a crowd of 80,000 people and was later joined by Bas and J.I.D for a show that rumbled the ground of Grant Park.
The final day was bittersweet. It was sad that Lollapalooza was officially coming to an end but what Sunday had to offer was historic. In just a handful of hours, j-hope of the infamous K-pop group, BTS would become the first South Korean to headline a major U.S. festival. The craze and anticipation were at an all-time high and unlike anything ever seen before at an event of this size within the States. Fans of j-hope had camped out the night before following the conclusion of day three just for the chance to get as close as possible to the stage. With over 8 hours to go before he performed, the entire area at the Bud Light Seltzer stage was nearly full.
However, before the final act, the daytime performers set the tone. James Hype, KennyHoopla, ATLiens, Gordo, Charli XCX and Young Nudy all did a tremendous job, and no matter what shows you chose, you were in for a treat. Then came the time for the young phenom, The Kid LAROI, to grace the stage as he was the predecessor to j-hope. With a crowd of approximately over 50,000 people, it felt like The Kid LAROI stopped time as he took us into a glimpse of what to expect on his ‘The End Of The World’ tour. It will be no surprise if The Kid LAROI’s name is at the top of the Lollapalooza lineup in just a few short years.
The sun had set for the final time. The skyline came to life behind Lollapalooza, and the time had come for history to be made in Chicago. But Before the man of the hour took the stage, co-founder of Lollapalooza Perry Farrell and Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that the city of Chicago and the festival had agreed to a new 10-year contract that will keep Lollapalooza at Grant Park until at least 2032.
Then came the time that many had waited over 20 hours for. With over 85,000 people screaming his name, it wasn’t long until j-hope shot out of a 20-foot box, and the crowd illuminated with the iconic BTS light sticks, and the madness commenced. Words do not do the moment justice, but it will be talked about for ages alongside iconic moments of such acts as the Beatles and Michael Jackson. With a mix of songs from his new album ‘Jack In The Box’ and renditions of popular BTS tracks, it was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
But even though j-hope finished, that did not mean Lollapalooza 2022 was over yet. Across the park, one of the greatest rock bands of the past thirty years in Green Day was putting on another iconic show. With a set time of almost two hours, they finished the festival off right with a mixture of songs from their greatest albums and ended with a solo Billie Joe Armstrong joined only by his acoustic guitar as he sang “Good Riddance.” It felt like the perfect way to end a perfect weekend as surely everyone “had the time of [their] life.”
It was a historic four days at Grant Park. As you exited the grounds for the final time, it was hard to wrap your head around the monumental occasion that hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world had just shared. Lollapalooza made a statement with this year’s edition and raised the bar for every event that will take place until Lollapalooza returns in 2023 to raise the standard again. There is nothing quite like the festival that takes place in downtown Chicago, and it should be near the top of the bucket list for every music fan. Lollapalooza is, just as its name suggests, extraordinary.
Image Credit: Roger Ho