Lollapalooza: Storms Can’t Wash Away the Madness

By Kimberly Cummins & Zuzanna Skwiot

Rain and shine, Lollapalooza 2012 lived up to its party-rocking reputation. The three-day, eight-stage festival covered everything from EDM and DJ-driven beats to rocker-friendly sets.  With headliners featuring Black Sabbath and the Black Keys on Friday, Frank Ocean and Red Hot Chili Peppers on Saturday and Jack White on Sunday, there was never a shortage of artists to see. From huge names to up-and-comers, the variety of music reminded concertgoers why this is one of the hottest festivals of the year.

The Shins Crank It Up

When the Shins begun their set at the Red Bull Soundstage, the sweaty concert goers were treated to a collection of songs both old and new. Frontman James Mercer led the crowd to a sing-along of “Caring is Creepy” and later the newest “Port of Morrow,” all the while keeping the masses swaying, cheering and dancing.

As the crowd dispersed from the Shins’ performance and traveled en masse to the nearby Sony stage, Anthony Gonzalez and Nicolas Fromageau of M83 began their hour-long show. The setting sun and the cooling breeze, coupled with M83’s surprisingly drowsy performance, calmed the crowd. The headband-wearing, Camelback-drinking, high school-aged crowd sang and whistled along to the softly-amplified music. From “Teen Angst” to “Midnight City” and “A Guitar and a Heart,” the usually high-energy electronic music seemed more relaxed and before the finale, much of the crowd had left to see Ozzie Osbourne and Black Sabbath across the park.

When the sun finally set and the Red Bull Soundstage once again populated, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel took the stage. Clad in a baby blue dress shirt and khaki cargo shorts, the former White House Chief of Staff personally introduced the Black Keys for their second Lollapalooza appearance.

The immediate melodies of “Howlin’ for You” drew massive cheers from the crowd, and the excitement failed to cease for the rest of the set. Accompanied by a fireworks show on the lakefront, the energetic yet simple set kept the crowd engaged. Even when frontman Dan Auerbach rested and drummer Patrick Carney performed solo for the next few songs, the rhythmic swaying and clapping continued. The appearance of a giant silver disco ball in the later half of the performance was a great addition and perfect accompaniment to “Strange Times” and “Nova Baby.” When the set ended with “I Got Mine” and a bright cadenced lights show and “The Black Keys” backdrop faded to black, the crowd’s roar easily tuned out the blaring Bassnectar performance just across the street.

Florence & The Machine

After a stormy Saturday afternoon, Sunday started off with smaller crowds, but picked up early in the afternoon. Indie lovers flocked to see Florence and The Machine on the Bud Light stage, while others rocked out to At the Drive-In, playing on the Red Bull Soundstage. Jack White shut down the festival on Sunday night with his signature sound.  Not even the muddied grounds could stop the fun—by the end of the night, mud was the most fashionable accessory for concertgoers.

Ck One Lounge

While crowds scattered across the city once the sets ended around 10 p.m., VIPs and Chicago insiders headed to the official ck one Lolla party at the Hard Rock Hotel. Sponsored by The Greater Miami Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, ck one set up a Miami paradise in the middle of downtown Chicago. The It’s So Miami Oasis brought together nationally-loved brands such as GUESS, Motorola Mobility, Clearasil, DISARONNO, New Era, Coors Light, vitaminwater, SOUL by Ludacris, Rock the Vote, Blue Microphones, Vita Coco Coconut Water, Nico Lives.  From hip new headphones from SOUL by Ludacris, to Clearasil’s PerfectaWash system, partygoers got the first glimpse at some of the season’s hottest items.

Chicagoans had their eyes peeled for celeb sightings all weekend, but the ck one lounge was the place to see and be seen.  While Ryan Cabrera relaxed after his ck one performance, B.O.B, Kelly Osbourne and Jenny McCarthy all mingled with attendees throughout the night.

Even more celebs came out during the day, when hot temperatures made the lounge the city’s coolest refuge. Michelle Williams, Michael Pena, Rose McGowan and many more were spotted hanging out on the plush beanbag chairs and sofas, or playing ping-pong in the VIP area. Josh Henderson was one of the reigning champs on the ping-pong table, and Dev dished about her own beauty secrets near the ck one makeup table. Across the board, VIPs, artists and Chicagoans alike enjoyed sipping on Disarono cocktails and Vita Coco Coconut Water.