The first day of the revived Lollapalooza in Chicago’s Grant Park came to a close last night (July 23) with headlining performances from Weezer and reunited hip-hop collective Digable Planets. A spokesperson for the event said attendance topped off at about 33,000, although it had been reported the grounds could accommodate closer to 50,000. Other artists performing Saturday included the Pixies, Primus, the Bravery and Liz Phair.
Weather conditions for the event were slightly less than ideal. Temperatures in Chicago were in the mid-80s, and a brief storm rolled into the area at about 6 p.m., putting a damper on performances by Blonde Redhead and Billy Idol.
This year marks the first time Lollapalooza was staged as a one-city destination festival, modeled after the Austin City Limits and the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, held outside Palm Springs, Calif. The Chicago event — nicely framed beneath the city’s skyline — featured five stages, but the close proximity of the four main stages made it sometimes difficult to watch an act without musical overlap.
Lollapalooza was produced by Capital Sports & Entertainment and Charles Attal Presents — the brain trust behind Austin City Limits — along with Lollapalooza owners the William Morris Agency and founder Perry Farrell. Last year’s touring edition of Lollapalooza was cancelled due to poor ticket sales.
In a pre-show press conference, Farrell declined to speculate whether Lollapalooza would return in 2006 and if Chicago would be its permanent home. “I wish I had media prophecies for you,” Farrell said. “Next year, if there’s a beautiful property on top of a mountain with indoor swimming pools that say come here and play here, we’ll think about it.”
Performances got underway early, with local retro-rockers the Redwalls taking the stage at 11:45 a.m. The day largely featured a mix of jam-oriented acts (Primus, Cake, VHS Or Beta), new-wave rock artists (The Bravery, Kaiser Chiefs) and alt-rock veterans (…And Your Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Dashboard Confessional and the Pixies).
“I’m not afraid of the mainstream,” said Farrell, who DJd on Saturday with his former Porno For Pyros bandmate Peter DiStefano and plans to unveil his new band, Satellite Party, today.
Today’s performance schedule is further highlighted by the Arcade Fire, Widespread Panic, the reunited Dinosaur Jr., Death Cab For Cutie and Spoon.