Metallica fans turn out for Lollapalooza Day One, and a group protests Mayor Lori Lightfoot's teen curfew.

 Metallica fans turn out for Lollapalooza Day One, and a group protests Mayor Lori Lightfoot's teen curfew.

Metallica fans turn out for Lollapalooza Day One, and a group protests Mayor Lori Lightfoot's teen curfew.

Metallica fans flock to Lollapalooza on the first day, sparking protests from the crowd. Doug George, Kayla Samoy, and Adriana Pérez contributed to Mayor Lori Lightfoot's teen curfew.

On July 28, 2022,  5:10 p.m., the Chicago Tribune will be published.

The Wombats will perform at Lollapalooza in Grant Park on July 28, 2022. (Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune)

Lollapalooza began its long weekend on Thursday under a hazy blue sky in Grant Park, quickly becoming a small city within a city for young music fans. The first day of Chicago's largest music festival is sometimes described as less crowded and low-key, but you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise inside the fence. Metallica, the night's headliner, was well-represented in the audience. A protest against Chicago's curfew used the festival as a backdrop outside the festival's main entrance at Ida B. Wells Drive and Michigan Avenue.

The first day of the festival, which has a daily capacity of about 100,000 attendees on the lakefront, was marred by concerns: Concerns about security come less than a month after a mass shooting during a Highland Park Fourth of July parade. Concerns about COVID-19 as the number of local cases continues to rise.

More than 170 musical acts will perform on Lollapalooza's eight stages over the course of four days. Kidzapalooza, as well as the T-Mobile and Bud Light Seltzer main stages, will return for the first time since 2019. Lil Baby will perform on Thursday, Dua Lipa on Friday, J. Cole on Saturday, and Green Day on Sunday night.

Caroline Mdo, Liz Sandoval, and Helena Ruhnke, all from the Chicago area, were among the first to arrive at the north entrance chutes.

"We just wanted to check everything out on the first day," Mdo, 19, explained. This was her second Lollapalooza and Ruhnke's first. Sandoval, 24, intended to make a beeline for the T-Mobile stage, where he planned to camp out all day in anticipation of Metallica's 8:15 p.m. performance. "I've been listening to them since I was ten," she said, referring to her mother's fandom.

The three of them were worried about their safety and security. Mdo claimed that the last time she went to a mosh pit, she was groped. "People just grab you in a crowd and it happens," she explained. She is aware that Lollapalooza has security on-site to respond to such incidents, but she believes "they will not be able to do anything."

Emmy Meli will take the stage at Lollapalooza on July 28, 2022. (Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune)

Lollapalooza has a zero-tolerance anti-harassment policy, and anyone who is subjected to it is encouraged to contact any security or staff member, or to visit one of the medical tents on the grounds.

Another issue raised by the group was the clear bag policy used by Lollapalooza and other major music festivals to expedite entry. "Be careful because people can see your wallet or whatever's inside and just go for it," Mdo cautioned. She agreed to her friend's suggestion that she wear her bag across her front.

A few dozen people also gathered outside the entrance on Thursday to protest Chicago's 10 p.m. curfew for minors, which was enacted in May in response to a teen's fatal shooting at The Bean in Millennium Park.

"These curfews are disproportionately enforced against Black and brown kids," said Kara Crutcher, an attorney for Good Kids Mad City and Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, the organizations behind the protest.

She mentioned a "Peace Book" ordinance as an alternative to the curfew. The youth-led anti-violence ordinance was introduced to City Council in June, with the support of Good Kids Mad City.

"As a young Black man, I'm tired of being stopped and criminalized by the police," said James Robinson, 18, of Good Kids Mad City. "They've been stopping and frisking us for a while now, but now they have another reason." Others nearby agreed by nodding and snapping their fingers.

"For more than a decade, Chicago has demonstrated... that they have not implemented any strategies to protect young people in this city, particularly Black and brown youth," Camilla Williams, 36, a mentor at Good Kids Mad City, said. "The Peace Book, then, is something that will allow them to live." "For the sake of survival."

Crutcher also hinted at a double standard, claiming that ticketed events like Lollapalooza, which ends at 10 p.m., are not subject to a curfew.

"The Lolla backdrop makes it very clear who is allowed to be downtown and who is not allowed to freely move through their city without harassment." Crutcher explained, "Black and brown children simply do not have the same freedom and permission."

People flocked to Chow Town and the stages as soon as the gates opened a little after 11 a.m., heralded as usual by the "Star Wars" theme music.

Kassidy Huelsbeck and Maria Lopez came all the way from Wisconsin for their first Lollapalooza. While the field was still relatively empty, they set up in front of the Solana x Perry stage. It will be Huelsbeck's first ever concert.

"I'd like to go to a concert this weekend because I've never been to one before," Huelsbeck said.

She also expressed her excitement about seeing J-Hope on Sunday, especially since the South Korean rapper and member of the mega-popular boy band BTS recently released an album. J-Hope will be the first South Korean artist to headline a major US music festival.

Teddy Kazmierski and Nichole Rintel traveled from Detroit to attend Lollapalooza. Rintel wore elaborate cat makeup and stated that this was her third time attending the festival. It appears enormous to her every year.

"I'd say there's about 100,000 people here," she estimated. "You walk up the hill and look down and think, oh my goodness, that's a lot of people."

"I was surprised to see no protocols," she said in reference to the pandemic.

Lollapalooza, produced by C3 Presents of Austin, Texas, follows current major music festival standards as well as local COVID-19 guidelines for outdoor events established by the Chicago and Illinois departments of public health. It does not require face coverings, proof of vaccination, or a negative test for entry, unlike last summer's guidelines.

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designated all counties in Illinois, including Cook, as high-transmission areas. Based on the city's low hospital burden, mitigation measures such as mask and vaccine requirements will be implemented, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

As people gathered near the T-Mobile stage for Maude Latour's 2:15 p.m. set, the smell of mulch and grass pervaded the air.

To chants of "Maude! Maude! Maude!" Latour, a recent Columbia graduate, dashed out onto the stage, full of energy and music. After performing hits like "Furniture," "Walk Backwards," and "Superfruit," Latour addressed the audience. "How the (expletive) are we, Chicago?" she asked the audience. The side seams of her shiny pants had ripped from all the jumping. She paused after singing her most recent single to make a few dedications before singing "Lola."

"I'd like to dedicate this song to the protection of women, their right to choose, queer people, and trans people," Latour said. "I'd like to dedicate it to protecting both your friends and strangers you've never met."

Samara Lindberg and Cassidy Price, both 22, from New York, attended their first Lollapalooza this summer. This is also their first visit to Chicago. They expressed how happy they were to see Tinashe and Ashnikko. The friends, dressed all in black except for the glittery, colorful stars on Lindberg's shirt, talked about how they were preparing for the festival.

"When we decided we could make these two days," Lindberg explained, "I just looked up the various artists I didn't know and listened to their music, and I made a Lollapalooza playlist for us." "So we followed the steps, listened, and learned."

According to Price, well-known headliners include Metallica and Dua Lipa. Smaller artists, on the other hand, are given hour-long sets. "Being here allows you to catch up on their new stuff as well as some throwbacks," she explained.

According to WGN-TV, Lollapalooza founder and musician Perry Farrell told reporter Dean Richards on Thursday that the festival had reached an agreement with Mayor Lori Lightfoot to extend its contract in the park for another ten years; Lollapalooza's current contract had expired. No contract has yet been signed, according to C3 Presents.

"We have no official agreement," spokesman Guy Chipparoni said, "but we hope to have one as discussions continue."

Woozy, drenched in sweat, finished his energetic set on T-Mobile late in the afternoon. The musician, aka Sven Eric Gamsky, bounced on his heels throughout his final number, shouting, "Thank you, Lollapalooza, we love you!"

In the evening, 100 Gecs on Tito's stage won the award for the most perplexing hour of the day. Dylan Brady and Laura Les, a Chicago-area duo, wowed the audience with a set that included wizard hats and heavy vocal distortion, singing hits like "Mememe" to a rapt audience. Their sound ranged from electronic dance music to thrashing guitars and synthesizers, as well as near acoustic numbers.

Les exclaimed as they parted ways, "It's surreal to be playing Lollapalooza."

Metallica, the day's main attraction, appeared to have standing room only at the south end of Grant Park as night fell. A heavy metal band formed in California in 1981, the band has stayed famously current, retaining old fans while gaining new ones, and is currently in the spotlight thanks to its song "Master of Puppets" appearing in the season finale of Netflix's "Stranger Things."

After an extended video introduction, James Hetfield and co. took the T-Mobile stage and began performing "Whiplash."


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