Hey there, random Lollapalooza fan! I didn’t expect to use this blog at all after making the first post, but I did some thinking tonight and decided that this would be a good time. I might do other Lollapalooza-related musings on here, too. I’m not sure. Anyway…
Like a lot of you, I spent the past few days parked in front of my computer from 9-5 with my finger on F5 in an attempt to get souvenir tickets. Like a lot of you, I mastered the art of doing absolutely nothing at work while refreshing and refreshing and refreshing. Like a lot of you, I didn’t get them.
This ended a five-year streak of getting those wonderful Golden Tickets, an event that was just as much a part of the Lolla experience for me as the festival itself. After trying to get through the Frontgate page for about twenty minutes, I realized it wasn’t happening. I slouched at my desk, a defeated man. As I got in touch with my family and friends who were trying to help me out, I learned that they came up empty-handed, too. I would be paying full price for Lollapalooza for the first time, and I was pissed off.
Not “THESE WENT ON SALE DURING MY SOCCER PRACTICE I’M GONNA SUE YOUUUUUUU!!!!!1!!!!!” pissed off, like a lot of people on the Facebook and Twitter pages, but very upset. I went to Harold’s for some sorrow chicken (the best kind) and went back to my apartment to catch up on some TV and feel sorry for myself. But while I was laying in bed, chicken in hand, watching The Simpsons, I started to think about my first souvenir ticket buying experience.
I was a freshman in college and R.E.M. was looking like a possible headliner for Lollapalooza 2008. Those of you who know me already know that I’m an R.E.M. obsessive, so you can only imagine 18-year-old me freaking out about the chance to see them play outside in downtown Chicago. My friend Michael and I decided we were going to try to go to Lollapalooza that year to see them, and it would all start with lurking on the forums.
People weren’t welcoming. But, to be fair, I wasn’t familiar with the fest or a lot of indie music at the time. Even though the internet is an amazing resource for finding music, I had mostly stuck to older alternative (R.E.M., The Smiths, Talking Heads) with a few newer artists (Wilco, Tegan & Sara, Bloc Party) thrown in there. I grew up in a fairly small town and never really had the opportunity to go to a lot of shows growing up. Sure, Champaign got some decent stuff, but other than that, you would end up driving two hours to St. Louis (or three to Chicago) and scheduling your entire day around it. Your $20 ticket plus gas, food, and parking added up.
I lucked out and scored a ticket right before my American Government class that Friday. What happened after that was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The lineup didn’t include R.E.M., but it did have Wilco (my second favorite band of all time), Radiohead (Michael’s favorite band of all time), and other favorites like Okkervil River, Broken Social Scene, and (at the time, god help me) The Ting Tings. After a certain point on the lineup, I knew absolutely none of the bands. This led to a ton of research, where I spent a night in my living room listening to a song from every band on the lineup I didn’t know. Suddenly I was discovering bands like The Weakerthans, Nicole Atkins, Brazilian Girls, and White Lies that I should have been listening to a long time ago. (The former had to cancel that year, unfortunately) Those bands introduced me to other bands, and my musical knowledge expanded exponentially.
I’ll ramble about the fest itself some other time, but it was great. Random encounters with great musicians, getting my heart broken, falling in love with Chicago, wearing my bracelet for almost a year afterward… It was all part of an amazing teenage experience that set me on this trajectory where I’m living in Chicago, getting ready to attend my sixth Lollapalooza, and wasting tons of time on the message board (I’ve since achieved “Supreme Being” status, with over 8,000 posts).
Getting that souvenir ticket introduced teenage me to new bands, new friends, and opened my eyes to city life. I really hope there’s some kid who is super pumped about seeing Mumford and Sons this year who will have his or her mind blown by The Cure and discover someone like Wild Cub or Tegan & Sara. Maybe he or she will meet some cool people on the Lollaboard or move to Chicago. And if him (or her) getting that souvenir ticket this year means I didn’t get mine, I’m pretty alright with that. You should be, too.
Take care and see you in August,
Bryn (aka LollaLeaks)