My overall tastes: I'm not gonna lie—I own a lot of stuff by sad-bastard singer/songwriters. Happy music is good, too—rock / alterna / indie / hip-hop / songs that tell weird stories. No girl bands, please.
Bands I play on repeat: Guster, Sufjan Stevens, Death Cab for Cutie, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Gorillaz, Ben Folds, Weezer
First CD: August and Everything After, Counting Crows
Last five artists purchased on iTunes: The Perishers, Alexi Murdoch, Arcade Fire, Journey, Ray LaMontagne
Gear: camera, wallet, pen, notebook, gum, phone
My Lolla lineup: Click to view my festival schedule (pdf file)
MY SPENDING DIARY
GRAND TOTAL: $52
Friday: Daft Punk was the can't-miss show everyone was talking about, but Ben Harper was my personal headliner. There was a moment during "Black Rain" where I wished—I mean, wished to God—that I were Laura Dern. And he wasn't even singing a love song.
Saturday: The Roots work for their money! Their show was like one continuous medley. My new instrument obsession: the tuba. Well, I should clarify—tuba played by "Tuba Gooding Junior" to a hip-hop beat. Also—anyone else out there with a crush on ?uestlove?
Sunday: Granted, the audience was a hometown crowd, but man, Lupe Fiasco knows how to put on a show. He started with a button-down over a white tee. By the end of the show, the button-down was off and the t-shirt drenched. I particularly enjoyed "Daydreamin'" and "American Terrorist," the latter of which he dedicated to President Bush. Oh, I should mention that I've never liked the jeans-around-the-ankles look—until now.
Friday: Silversun Pickups fan Claire Oshatz, 32, from Arizona, said, "I'm front and center and have to pee really bad, but I'm holding it because I love them." Interesting, dissonant sound. Oh, and a female bassist—always a good thing.
Saturday: Sherwood. Sounds like: Jimmy Eat World. Keyboardist looks like: Napoleon Dynamite.
Sunday: John Paul White. Apparently, sad-bastard acts don't do too well at music fests. An intimate crowd showed up for the Jesus-looking, self-deprecating artist from Alabama. The performance was mellow, and the music was pretty good. This is where I got my sad-bastard music fix.
LOW POINTS ON MY HEALTH METER
Friday: The hour before the Ben Harper show. I hadn't eaten all day (no time, not hungry, just thirsty), so I had no energy. I sat in the media tent and stared into space.
Saturday: 8 p.m. Running in the rain with a heavy backpack over my sunburned shoulders to meet a friend for "Bourne Ultimatum." Three shows were sold out, so we caught the 11 p.m., which brings us to...
Sunday: 8 a.m. It was nearly impossible to get out of bed, but the iced coffee helped. Probably the hottest and muggiest of the three days—but no real low point I can remember. Awesome shows, awesome day—maybe because the end was in sight.
FAVORITE CROWD MOMENT
The largely-Mexican crowd at the Café Tacuba show waved their country's flag, chanting "Ca-fe-ta! Ca-fe-ta!" and playing crowdsurfer tug-of-war with the security guards. The security guards got two.
SUCCESSFUL BACKSTAGE ATTEMPTS
None. Although if I had tried, I think I could have gotten past the security guard at the Bud Light stage. He gave up his chair for me, kicked out a guy who cut in front of me in the photographers' line, and snuck me a bottle of water. Thanks, Darren.
The prevalence of backhair among the shirtless guys.
The belly on Dios' lead singer.
The amazing shows at Kidzapalooza (Ben Harper, Q Brothers, Patti Smith, etc.)—that's where you'll find me if I go next year.
Having attended one day of Milwaukee's Summerfest just a few weeks before, I was dreading the heat, the crowd, and sight of obnoxious teenagers. Maybe because it was Chicago, maybe because Grant Park has a better layout, maybe because the view from the photo pit kicks ass—whatever the reason, it was a great weekend. It was an assignment for work, but it felt like play.
Photography: Esther Kang