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Sep 4 / Josh

Lollapa-lightening!

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We here at the Epicurean Musician must first apologize for the lack of timeliness of this post.  Apparently the long weekend partying in Chicago took a little more out of us than we had expected.  So without further ado, here is what we found in Grant Park.

For 20 years now, the Lollapalooza music festival has managed to surprise and delight its attendees, yours truly included, with an auditory smorgasbord capable of satiating music fans with tastes as sophisticated and esoteric as Sigur Ros and as basic and comparatively low brow, as Black Sabbath.  Yes, it’s hard to believe it, but Lollapalooza has been around in some form or another since 1991.  If you add in a notable period of hiatus and one or two years where the shows got canceled altogether, voilà, you’re at 20 years old.

Perry Farrell and his well-oiled machine have really got the music festival thing down to a fine art.  Everything from the stage setups, food vendors, free water stations, bathroom placement and (more importantly) abundance was perfect.  Even a freak thunderstorm that rolled through the concert grounds on Saturday afternoon couldn’t spoil the festival perfection that is Lollapalooza.  I could wax poetic for several pages about all of the great music I saw and compare and contrast each day’s lineup against the others for hours, but alas you came here to read about the food.  Right?

But really, the food that was available to the 160,000+ concert goers, so plentifully it had to be organized into a North and South Chowtown, a Farmer’s Market and 20 “bars”, is best discussed in relation to the music itself.   Because, as alluded to earlier in this article, Lollapalooza offered a multitude of musical options and an appropriate food and beverage pairing for every variety of discerning palate.

Lobster Corndog!

For example, the following are all of the things I ate over the course of the weekend.  Asian baos, twice (look it up you uncultured mouth breather), sweet potato fries, a hot dog, hummus wrap with greens and sprouts, grilled cheese on a stick, four organic apples, a smoothie and a bite of a lobster corndog from a random girl sitting next to me at a picnic table on Saturday who insisted I try it.  I mean, who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth?  And, here are the musical acts I saw that, I think, makes sense when considering the food I consumed.  The Black Keys (for a little), Florence & The Machine (for even less), Avicii, Passion Pit, Kaskade, Sigur Ros, Calvin Harris, Miike Snow, M83, Santigold, Toro y Moi, Fun, Little Dragon, Madeon, Neon Indian, Givers, Oberhofer and an after party at a club where The Jane Doze played a short DJ set.  See?  My food and music pairings make perfect sense.

Let’s say your musical lineup consisted of the following — Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Sabbath, Bassnectar, Franz Ferdinand and Die Antwoord.  Well you would be in luck because there were numerous food vendors offering the likes of gourmet hamburgers, truffle fries, BBQ pork sandwiches and fresh made donuts.  Of course there were copious amounts of classic Budweiser available at all of the bars to wash it all down.  Sorry what’s that?  Your top picks at Lolla were – Jack White, The Shins, Passion Pit, Sigur Ros and Miike Snow.  Well than I assume you ate some Asian baos or maybe pot stickers, probably hit the Farmer’s Market for some organic for some wheat grass juice shots, got samosas and sipped some malbec from the wine bar.  Did you spend all weekend at Perry’s stage watching EDM?  Then you probably just drank a lot of water from the free filling stations and maybe got some snow cones.

Having attended some other musical festivals in the past, notably Austin City Limits, I can honestly say that I was impressed with the variety and quality of food that was available at Lollapalooza.  No music fans went hungry for want of selection or quantity.  The only knock against the food vendors was that some of them closed on the earlier side, maybe around 8 or so which was a little annoying considering the music went on until 10pm.  And what does anyone that’s been rocking out all day want on their sweaty walk home?  You guessed it.  One perfectly cooked hot dog with mustard.  Which this music fan was able to snag from one of the few vendors still open even after the last chord was struck.

Many thanks to our main man, Matthew Luber, for covering the festival!

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