Photo by Elize Strydom

by Kelsea Stahler

Grant Park was once the site for President Obama’s acceptance speech on election night in 2008, but for three days every August, the iconic park becomes a muddy, messy Disneyland for musicians and music lovers. Sprawled across 319 acres of land in the heart of Downtown Chicago, this year’s 20th Lollapalooza celebration ran from August 5-7, drawing 270,000 people to brave searing sunny rays, stiflingly thick air and, on the third and final day, a full-on torrential downpour for a chance to support the 150-plus acts in attendance. With eight stages to choose from at any given time, there were plenty of experiences to be enjoyed, but naturally there were a few standouts.

The first night saw headliners Coldplay and Muse dominating opposing ends of the expansive park, creating an ethereal, breezy event on one side, as fans filled a giant field to sway and sing along to Chris Martin’s airy lyrics, and an aggressive one on the other, as Muse’s unrelenting performance shook the ground. For those not prepared for expansive fields overflowing with ecstatic fans who weren’t yet subdued by the exhaustion of a three-day festival, Ratatat presented an alternative at the much smaller Google+ stage. In a little wooded glade, the band’s psychedelic electronic jams and mind-blowing on-screen visuals, like spinning busts of Mozart and ghostly chamber musicians, were food for the Lollapalooza crowd. Surrounded by lush trees and swaying bodies Mike Stroud’s silhouette towered over fans like some eerie rock god, delivering a performance that had stalwart fans reeling and gave new fans a reason to dance.

All photos by Elize Strydom
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