Ten years ago Lollapalooza, the one-time traveling mega music festival, planted itself in Chicago’s Grant Park. How did the music festival celebrate its 10-year anniversary in the Windy City? How about with crushing performances by a lineup filled with Australian artists, from rap sensation Iggy Azalea to electronic dance producer Flume to pop powerhouses The Temper Trap and Jagwar Ma?
There were also number of promising Australian up-and-comers on the bill, including rocker Courtney Barnett, pop singer Betty Who, and singer-songwriter Vance Joy.
Those were just a sliver – a small sliver – of the incredible moments created by the more than 150 performances over eight stages set against the iconic Chicago skyline. The lineup was as diverse as it was big, providing plenty of flavor for the hundreds of thousands of fans of every genre and points in-between.
The entire three days of the festival was livestreamed across three channels on Red Bull TV at lollapalooza.redbull.tv. Host Sal Masekela was joined by Stryker, DJ for the influential LA radio station KROQ, in providing wall-to-wall coverage of the festival. Dozens of live performances will be available on-demand for 60 days.
Outkast, who continued their landmark reunion tour, and Eminem, who brought Rihanna out on stage for three songs, including his classic ‘Stan,’ topped an impressive hip-hop lineup, which also included rap legend Nas, whose legendary debut album, Illmatic, turned 20 this year; Australian Iggy Azalea, who filled Perry’s stage with dancers and packed the field until it spilled out into midway; and Chicago rappers Vic Mensa and Chance the Rapper.
Since his performance at Lollapalooza last year, Chance has exploded into a bonafide star. He showed just how much pull he now has when in the middle of his Vegas-style set (complete with a full band, back-up singers and visual show) he brought out R. Kelly, another Chicago native, on stage for a medley, including the remix of “Ignition.”
Another locally grown group, Gemini Club, held a homecoming of their own. The Red Bull Sound Select artist (which supported Interpol on Thursday night for a Lollapalooza pre-party and The 1975 on Saturday night for an official after-party) filled the Grove stage Sunday afternoon, despite a steady rain.
Fitz and the Tantrums delivered an electric set, highlighting a weekend filled with some of the most essential pop bands – Foster the People, Grouplove, Young the Giant – all operating at the top of their game.
Of course, Lorde stole the afternoon on Saturday with a rousing set that had the crowd dancing to the future classics from her debut album, Pure Heroine.
Lollapalooza was one of the first major festivals to embrace electronic dance music, and that tradition continued in 2014. Perry’s stage, which has long supported emerging artists, was this year a platform for the future of dance music. And the future is bright. From young artists, such as Martin Garrix and Flosstradamus to Duke Dumont, Perry’s stage produced some of the most dynamic sets of the weekend.
Two of the biggest names in the electronic dance music, however, performed on one of the two main stages – and they needed every inch of it, and then some. Calvin Harris closed out Saturday night with an explosive set, only to be matched Sunday night by Skrillex, who got the crowd dancing from the front row to the back, and beyond.
Although Lollapalooza has grown to become an all-encompassing extravaganza, its origins lie in rock. Founder Perry Farrell is the frontman of Jane’s Addiction, one of the essential rock bands of all time.
There was plenty of rock on tap this year, from headliners Arctic Monkeys on Friday night to Kings of Leon, who delivered an epic performance that will go on as one of the best in the festival’s history, which is being rewritten every year.