List 4: My First Lollapalooza Was Evacuated

I went to my first Lollapalooza on Saturday, August 4. I brought a notebook, and I’m glad I did. Here are 40 moments from an eventful day. (Update: I posted a gallery of images from the evacuation period. View it here.)

  1. 11:30 AM – Carefully review instructions for putting on official Lollapalooza wristband. Fret about doing it wrong.
  2. 11:50 AM – Walk to meet friends who are spending Lollapalooza squatting in one of the guys’ soon-to-be-foreclosed apartment. Whoever wins that auction will get quite a post-Lolla mess.
  3. 12:55 PM – Deliver beer to Father & Son Barber Shop in Edgewater, apparently a Lolla tradition.
  4. 1:06 PM – In the cab. On our way.
  5. 1:16 PM – Arrive outside the north gate of the festival. We spot a small bag of cocaine in the gutter. We leave it there.
  6. 1:18 PM – Sit in a corner of Millennium Park to [allegedly] drink some pre-festival beers.
  7. 1:23 PM – Get kicked out of Millennium Park by a singing security guard. I’m sure his song about “no drinking or smoking in the park” is getting a lot of play during Lolla weekend. We relocate across the street to Centennial Park to [allegedly] finish drinking our beer.
  8. 1:50 PM – Finally enter the festival. First stop is for food. All the vendors are tempting. We grab some Gibsons pulled pork and head toward the Bud Light stage.
  9. 2:15 PM – Ready for Delta Spirit, my first Lolla band and a pretty good one. Spot Jesse from Breaking Bad and Graham Elliot on their way into the VIP area (not together).
  10. 3:08 PM – Just hanging out since we don’t have anyone we are anxious to see until Alabama Shakes.
  11. 3:15 PM – Watch some guys playing hackey sack. Really? People still do that?
  12. 3:20 PM – Receive a text from a friend in the VIP section who says the festival is being shut down for 2 hours. The sky is cloudy but in a comfortable respite-from-the-sun way not an ominous shut-down-the-festival way.
  13. 3:23 PM – Event staff are taking down the Lollapalooza banners flanking the stage and lowering the LED screens. Festival veterans note that they have never seen this happen before. Someone suggests we find space at a bar.
  14. 3:29 PM – The lowered screens now say, “Weather Evacuation. Calmly head to either exit.”
  15. 3:30 PM – Surprise! One of our friends has a sister with a condo on Michigan Avenue across from Grant Park, and we can go there.
  16. 3:34 PM – Confusion as we try to find some other friends who are at another part of the park.
  17. 3:38 PM – Heading out. Lost the friend whose sister’s condo we are trying to go to. Hoping we can still meet up with her and get in.
  18. 4:08 PM – Safely in friend’s sister’s condo. Wow. High floor, overlooking the park. We open the windows to watch the rest of the people evacuating. We see the storm approaching.
  19. 4:30 PM – The rain starts quickly and comes down in sheets. We can no longer see the main gate. The storm smells like garlic or as one friend suggests “dirty gravy.”
  20. 4:55 PM – I am constantly refreshing Twitter and providing updates to the group on schedule changes and gate re-entry times.
  21. 5:30 PM – Rain has stopped. A couple of the guys go to 7-11 for additional provisions.
  22. 5:51 PM – Despite multiple tweets reporting this had already happened, the main gates re-open at this time.
  23. 6:25 PM – We abandon our posh digs and return to the fray.
  24. 6:50 PM – Watching Fun, which one friend was very excited had not been cancelled.
  25. 7:32 PM – Back at Bud Light Stage for Franz Ferdinand.
  26. 7:58 PM – My husband brings me a Kuma’s cheeseburger because he loves me.
  27. 8:22 PM – The walk to the Google Play Stage is a bit squishy. It’s so cool now that I wish I brought a long-sleeved shirt. The storm dropped the temperature more than 20 degrees.
  28. 8:36 PM – One person in the group is really excited to see Twin Shadows, which is why we go. When we arrive they are still doing sound check for their 8:30 slot.
  29. 8:49 PM – Twin Shadows finally starts playing. Meh. We head toward the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
  30. 8:55 PM – A lot of mud covered people coming from the south. I wonder what was going on over there.
  31. 9:10 PM – Approaching the Red Bull Stage I see the thousands of people gathered as far as the eye can see for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This is what I thought Lollapalooza would look like.
  32. 9:15 PM – Found the mud. Yuck. Sinking with every step. The mess splashes at least knee high. It takes a lot of effort to not lose my flip flops.
  33. 9:21 PM – A girl (not me) dances with a hula hoop in a mud puddle.
  34. 10:06 PM – Thousands of people happily sing along to “Under the Bridge.” How many of them know what the song is about?
  35. 10:16 PM – We see the Navy Pier fireworks over the crowd. This is awesome.
  36. 10:20 PM – We gather what is left of our group and begin to make our way out of the park.
  37. 10:28 PM – Brief stop to watch a bit of Santigold.
  38. 10:36 PM – Okay. Really exiting this time.
  39. 10:47 PM – Competing with everyone to hail a cab. Somehow the guys manage to hail a white stretch limo. They negotiate a ride home for $68, the total cash that we have remaining in our pockets. I’m a bit grumpy about relinquishing $30 (apparently I had the most remaining cash), but I was happy to be on my way home.
  40. 11:30 PM – Home. Wash the mud off my feet and legs. Go to bed. It was a good day.

On Sunday, as I saw the Lollapalooza tweets beginning again, I found myself wishing I was there. I guess I’m hooked.

Where were you during the Lolla evacuation of 2012?

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