Lollapalooza 2023 raises the bar and delivers one of the best overall festival experiences of the year: [Full Recap]
Lollapalooza 2023 has completed its time and is now in the books. With history-making performances and once-in-a-lifetime moments, this year’s event showed why the Lollapalooza name stands above the rest.
Lollapalooza 2023 has officially put the final period on its chapter for the year. However, the famed multi-genre festival did not leave the grounds of Grant Park in Chicago without flexing its muscles as the event hosted moments no other festival has been able to give so far this year. For four days, Lollapalooza 2023 showed 100,000 attendees and millions more streaming worldwide why this festival is unmatched. There was a lot to live up to after the incredible success of Lollapalooza 2022, but as they so often do, Lollapalooza took this year’s festival to the next level.
With a lineup that was riddled with talent and showstopping performers from the top down and headliners that many consider the biggest names in music currently, the anticipation surrounding Chicago could be felt in the air as those who were lucky enough to secure a ticket made their way down to the historic park. A jam-packed four days were about to ensue as tens of thousands lined up in front of the turnstiles on Thursday, eager to make memories that would last a lifetime. And then the clock turned to 11 am, the gates opened for the first time, and Lollapalooza 2023 was officially underway.
One of the best things about the Lollapalooza brand is they never have a dull moment on the lineup. From the very first minute of day one, there was a multitude of choices for watching world-class artists. However, most of the talk seemed to center around three names for the entire day. Of course, the two headliners, Billie Eilish, and Karol G, were in the conversation, but the third act that many were eager for was the newest K-Pop supergroup, NewJeans.
As Thursday began, it didn’t take long for those that showed up in the early hours of the gates opening that this had the chance to be one of the best editions of Lollapalooza yet. It felt like more people consistently showed up to the park early this year than in the editions prior. The main acts were still multiple hours away, but the stages had already begun to fill up, and the merch tables quickly grew to a multiple-hour wait. The level of excitement to be back in Grant Park was showcased on a level unlike before.
Then the music began, and the weekend was off. The day kicked off with an immaculate vibe as acts such as Clinton Kane, Bad Neighbors, Franc Moody, Disco Lines, Dope Lemon, Austin Meade, Acraze and J. Worra all contributed a high level of energy in the early portion of the day.
As the afternoon set in, one of the biggest crowds of the entire weekend began to form at the mainstage as it was time for the new K-Pop phenomenon, NewJeans, to perform. The moment that was about to take place would be a historic one at that. Not only would it mark the group’s first Lollapalooza performance, but it would also be the first show they had ever done in the United States. Fans screamed at the top of their lungs as they delivered one of the most memorable shows of the entire four days.
As NewJeans was on the mainstage, across the park playing at the same time was one of the hottest duos in dance music, Sofi Tukker. After two incredible shows, it was time to usher in the night as Timmy Trumpet, Noah Kahan, Portugal. The Man, Carly Rae Jepsen, Lainey Wilson and Key Glock all raised the notch by one. But it was Dom Dolla who stole the show of the non-headlining slot. The Australian house producer surprised his crowd by bringing out legendary pop icon Nelly Furtado to sing a few tracks, including their new collaboration, ‘Eat Your Man.’
The headliners then took the stage as the night began to come to a close, as global superstar Billie Eilish rocked the mainstage while Diplo presented one of his best sets of the year. But Lollapalooza 2023 didn’t leave night one without making history. Opposite Eilish on the other side of Grant Park, Karol G put her name in the books as she became the first Latin female act to headline Lollapalooza.
It’s common for the second day of a festival to see fewer people in the first few hours of opening than the day before. However, this was not the case when it came to Lollapalooza 2023. You could make the argument that just as many people showed up on Friday as did Thursday, another testament to the impressive slate of acts Lollapalooza provided in the early hours of the day.
The day began with Junior Mesa, Sincere Engineer, Skizzy Mars, Hairitage, Loveless, Blanke and Band-Maid, who all put on worthy sets. As ‘Perry’s’ stage saw an entire bass music takeover, dubstep phenom Ray Volpe took the stage for the first Lollapalooza set of his career. Followed by fast-rising duo ARMNHMR and then one of the most anticipated sets of the day as Diesel (Shaquille O’Neal) showed why he is quickly becoming a must-see act in the industry. Across the other parts of the park, attendees saw acts such as Sueco, Tems, Big Wild, Peach Pit, Sabrina Carpenter, Foals and Beabadoobee.
As the night began to commence, another brilliant set of acts graced the stages as Thirty Seconds To Mars, Fred Again.., Ken Carson, Jessie Reyez and Svdden Death all delivered exhilarating performances. One memorable moment, in particular, came when Thirty Seconds To Mars frontman Jared Leto jumped from the top of the ‘Bud Light’ stage to begin the band’s performance.
Then came some of the biggest heavyweights in music as The 1975 wooed their crowd with an expertly crafted experience, Subtronics showed why he was many people’s DJ of the year as he delivered a heart-pounding set and Kendrick Lamar added another awe-inspiring moment to the greatness that is his once in a generation career. All three etched their names in Lollapalooza history with shows so good they are hard to even put into words as the second day concluded.
There was still more history to be made as the Saturday slate was beginning. Large crowds lined up multiple hours before opening in hopes to get a front-row spot for what would be a history-making show by one of the most popular K-Pop groups in the world, Tomorrow X Together. But before their time, there were eight hours of amazing shows ready to take place.
To start the day was Pardyalone, The Linda Lindas, Bonnie X Clyde, Mother Folk and Zack Fox. Then came a performance by one of the most talked about up-and-coming producers in the United States, Knock2. With incredibly high expectations, the San Diego native quickly showed why he has one of the highest ceilings in the industry and had one of the most energetic crowds of the entire weekend. If you can get to a Knock2 show, do yourself a favor and go.
Following him were acts such as Solardo, The Knocks, Ivan Cornejo, Jean Dawson, Niki, The Revivalist, Destroy Lonely, AC Slater and Nora En Pure. As the “golden hours” of the day were coming to a close, a few acts still were stated to play, like Maggie Rogers, Alex G, Meduza, Yung Gravy and J.I.D. But it was now the night, and it was time for another historic marker to be set.
With what was easily the biggest crowd of Lollapalooza 2023, many witnessed, the K-Pop group Tomorrow X Together become the first Korean group to headline the festival. The 90-minute performance was a masterclass in showmanship. The execution was unmatched, and every element was mapped out to the second. It was unbelievable.
While Pusha T closed out ‘Perry’s’ stage, Odesza brought their ‘The Last Goodbye’ show to the main stage. When it comes to beautifully crafted and euphoric shows, this Odesza production sits at the top of the hill for 2023. With the best visual experience of the weekend, the duo brought live instruments, including an entire drum line on the stage. Leaving the crowd speechless as they took a bow to end Saturday night, many walked away saying it was one of the best performances they had ever seen.
The final day of Lollapalooza 2023 had finally come, but that didn’t mean the day was going to be any less action-packed than the ones before it. Attendees were greeted by some incredible early afternoon sets by Ingrid Andress, Upsahl, Matroda, Neil Frances, Alvvays, Dehd and Ella Jane.
But it was the hours of 5 pm to 7 pm that made waves across the grounds as two major hip-hop acts were set to go back to back after one another, first with Lil Yachty bringing his newly praised psychedelic sound to the ‘Bud Light’ stage followed by Joey Bada$$ on stage directly next to it putting on a hip-hop clinic. Bada$$ most notably had what might have been the moment of the festival when he surprised the crowd by bringing out Chicago-born rapper Chance The Rapper for his first appearance on a stage in quite some time.
Later came memorable sets by Afrojack, Poolside, Rina Sawayama, Alan Walker, The Backseat Lovers and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. As the final hours of Sunday night began to unfold, festivalgoers had a difficult choice on how they wanted to end their Lollapalooza. But no matter which decision they made, nobody was left disappointed.
First, the French supergroup L’impératrice put on arguably the biggest show of their career by closing out the ‘Barcadi’ stage. On ‘P’erry’s’ stage, Louis The Child had a homecoming for the ages as they returned to Chicago to play in front of 40,000 people while bringing out a slew of special guests. But the two biggest draws of the night were Lana Del Rey, who brought a Hollywood-style production to Grant Park, and on the main stage, Red Hot Chili Peppers rocked a crowd with their undeniable showmanship and skill. Each show closed out Lollapalooza 2023 in incredible style.
Even through the rain and the mud, Lollapalooza 2023 had some of the best energy of any festival this year. From the crowd to the artists, it’s hard to think of many other events this year that put on an experience like the one that just took place in Chicago this past weekend. Lollapalooza is an absolute must-attend event for any festival enthusiast.
It’s hard to imagine where Lollapalooza 2024 goes after this historic 2023 chapter in the long-running festival’s tenure, but one thing is guaranteed, they will absolutely find a way to raise the bar to a level we have yet to see.