What a shitshow

It’s pretty standard to see concerned souls fervently preaching to the masses as they descend upon big rock festivals, and Lollapalooza definitely makes the cut. Just before noon on Saturday outside Lolla’s main entrance, I saw a fan lambast one street-side sermonizer for shopping at JCPenney—to which the headstrong evangelist replied, “You’re gonna be shopping in the devil’s hell pretty soon.”

The megaphone-toting preacher’s words stuck with me throughout Lollapalooza. In a way he was right; if hell is a place that punishes people for overindulging in something by forcing it upon them in such quantity that what they once loved becomes vile beyond recognition, then festivals can certainly be a type of hell for anyone who eats, breathes, and sleeps music. Festivals are where cherished bands perform with sound systems so shoddy or poorly run that you regret ever seeing them live. Festivals are where you go—if you’re my height at least—to stand on your tiptoes to get a peek at a musician the size of a thimble from the back of the crowd. They’re where you ditch any semblance of politeness to muscle your way closer to the stage—only to end up next to a meathead bigger than nearly everyone in sight who’s dead set on forcing everybody smaller than him within arm’s reach to crowd surf against their will, and he’s looking right at you. Festivals are places that trap you for days, stick you in swarming masses of people for hours upon hours, and invade your dreams even after the headliners have finished their “impromptu” encore. Festivals are often held during the hottest months of the year—the weather’s quite a bit cooler than infernal fire and brimstone, but unfortunately real.