GRANT PARK — Droves of fans showed up for day three of Lollapalooza despite steady rain and muddy grounds.
Fans packed Grant Park early Saturday under gray clouds to hear singer Maggie Rogers’ folk pop and rapper J.I.D.’s hypnotic raps.
Headliner Odesza joined other performers delighting soaked fans, including The Revivalists, Alex G, Destroy Lonely, Pusha T, Niki, The Garden and Suki Waterhouse.
Steady rainfall throughout the early hours didn’t stop K-pop fans excited to see headliner Tomorrow X Together from lining up before festival gates opened to snag a spot near the barricades. The boy band is the first K-pop group to headline Lolla.
Kale Bauman, a first-year Lollapalooza attendee, arrived before the gates opened with their younger sister and her friend to get a good spot for the performance.
Lollapalooza’s rules bans fans from bringing umbrellas onto festival grounds, so Bauman bought ponchos when they made it in, she said. Groups in line ahead of her tossed their umbrellas to access the festival, Bauman said.
“The line wasn’t too bad, but it was terrible here in the rain,” Bauman said. “It was cold and there’s no where to hide under from rain.”
Bauman’s shoes were caked in mud, a common occurrence for all fans walking the festival Saturday.
As the rain cleared in the later afternoon, teams of workers filled muddy, slippery grounds at the T-Mobile and Coinbase stages with mulch.
Stage and venue managers are responsible for operational flow, like mud control, a Lollapalooza worker who asked to not be identified told Block Club. Managers consider crowd flow and the odds of flooding in an area before calling in a request.
“I’ve been all over this festival all day,” the festival worker said. “No matter how mulch is thrown, it wouldn’t resolve the issue.”
Representatives at Lollapalooza did not immediately respond to Block Club’s request for comment on strategies to keep the festival grounds clean and safe when it rains.
Despite the weather, attending the festival Saturday was “worth it,” Bauman said. A sliver of sun appeared just in time for Rogers’ performance.
Chicken Is King At Chow Town
A Far South Side small business owner said he’s sold over 3,000 chicken sandwiches so far as hangry fans have opened their wallets at this year’s expanded Lollapalooza, where daily capacity is up to 115,000 fans.
John Meyer, owner of BJ’s Market & Bakery, 1737 E. 95th St., has been selling chicken sandwiches at the fest for 14 years and counting and said the weekend always provides a “nice shot in the arm.”
Rain slowed the chicken lines a bit on Saturday, but Meyer said the festival sales have finally appeared to rebound since the pandemic.
“This our largest event of the year, we always man up on staff and everyone’s excited and working hard,” Meyer said.
“BJ’s” stands for the initials of Meyer’s kids: Brandon John and Briana Juanita. The business is a spin-off from a fine dining restaurant the family owned in Pullman, when they would sell out their more causal “Soul Food Sundays,” Meyer said.
Meyer said being part of festival’s main “Chow Town” stretch is a reminder on how much South Side restaurants bring to the city’s culinary scene.
“It’s important because we’re here because we’re Chicago. It’s not just Downtown, the North Side, we want people to see all of Chicago and the different cuisines we can offer.”
Applications for a spot at “Chow Town” were highly competitive, with room for about 50 to 70 vendors, said Kelli Kosikas, general manager for a franchise of Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, 847 W. Fulton Market.
“You really gotta prove your worth,” Kosikas said. “And hope someone can pull some strings.”
Gus’s top seller? Chicken tenders.
“We hope this puts us out on a bigger scale,” Kosikas said.