This is what Robert Smith of the Cure looks like now.
  • Alison Green
  • This is what Robert Smith of the Cure looks like now.

Attending Lollapalooza requires some planning; with an estimated 100,000 attendees descending upon Grant Park each day, merely maneuvering through the masses with friends presents a challenge. Some folks carried markers to help friends locate them from a distance—a flag from, say, Ireland or Brazil would pop up in the middle of the crowd, as did the blown-up cut-out face of Honey Boo Boo or Nicolas Cage (circa Vampire’s Kiss). The latter were also certainly designed to attract the attention of complete strangers, but it wasn’t just people waving pictures on sticks who sought to catch the eyes of attendees they didn’t know—folks came dressed as Power Rangers, a handful of guys dyed their goatees blue, and one dude appeared to be so far from his last laundry day that he’d run out of every item of clothing except a neon-green thong. Even wearing next to nothing required some strategizing.

Arguably some folks cared more about assembling their wardrobe, while others put more effort into coordinating their daily musical schedules, but everybody came to the festival with expectations for how their plans would pan out and spent the weekend adjusting to the realities. The folks who wore nothing but skin-tight underwear had to, say, find a place to keep their cell phones and wallets, while open-minded listeners were sometimes forced to choose between three or four worthy acts slated to perform at the same time. I had the problem of juggling an overstuffed festival schedule, and at times I felt the way the dude in the neon-green thong looked—unprepared despite clearly thinking ahead. But like that barely clothed guy, who tucked his phone between his left ass cheek and his skimpy bathing suit, I rolled with the punches and dealt with unexpected itinerary shifts and other curveballs as best I could.