My Lollapalooza Experience

If you’re unfamiliar, Lollapalooza is an annual music festival held in Grant Park, Chicago, IL. It’s usually held the first weekend of August and is known for huge crowds, delicious food (Chow Town), and above all, incredible headliners. This year’s included big names like Bruno Mars, Travis Scott, Post Malone, Vampire Weekend, Logic, and The Weeknd.

Although it’s a four-day music festival, my friends and I opted for the cheaper route of attending only one day: Friday – and we saw and experienced plenty.

Let’s get into it.

First of all, the weather forecast for Friday, August 3rd in Chicago, Illinois was 95 degrees. Pair the temperature with a million people, add alcohol, and you’re in store for a whole lot of porta-potty lines. Probably TMI, but I spent a lot of time in lines with sweaty people with full bladders.

We took the red line from Molly’s apartment to Grant Park, our bodies varnished in glitter and iridescent fanny packs in tow, arrived around 1:30 and were greeted by a deep pit of people: the line to enter. After 25-30 minutes of waiting and sneaking past unsuspecting Lolla-goers (well, sort of. One person yelled at Brittany. Whatever.), we finally reached bag checks and entry.

Once finally in the park, it was overwhelming. Buckingham Fountain greeted us, as did our friend Jesson (who went to ALL FOUR DAYS. God bless him.) There were thousands upon thousands of people going in every direction. You really had to be careful to not get lost or lose your people. And if you weren’t familiar with the park, finding the artist you wanted to see was a bit of a challenge. Lollapalooza is broken up into eight different stages in Grant Park – and they do supply you with plenty of information on when specific artists are playing and where, plus you can download the app. But I mean, who even remembers the app when the time comes? I don’t.

The hilarious tweet that is this post’s featured photo is absolutely true as well – I truly felt as though at least half of the Lolla-goers were under 18. I almost evaporated.

To be completely honest, the first few hours of Lolla were a blur. I was in complete sensory overload… and I’d had a few drinks. We saw a few songs from each of Bebe Rexha and Lizzo’s sets, then we headed for CHOW TOWN. Chow Town is offered by local food vendors and is actually fairly reasonable in price, but the real attraction for us was the lobster corn dog. Molly brought up that she’d heard about this delicacy and decided it was an essential addition to our Lollapalooza experience. And it was bomb.

After hydrating at one of the many hydration stations (we brought in our own empty water bottles. You’re only allowed an empty water bottle up to 36oz. upon entry), we headed to Post Malone’s hour set. He’s one of the grungiest artists in modern day hip-hop/pop/whatever, but he’s undeniably talented and despite the ‘Always Tired’ tattoos that cover his under-eye area, he brought his all during this performance. After one of his many hits, I Fall Apart, the crowd started chanting ‘F— That B—-“. You go, Austin Post. F That B.

Soon after Post’s set, we headed for Brockhampton and I was truly pumped. We caught all of BLEACH, but ended up leaving shortly after to secure a good spot at Bruno Mars. And we really did. Bruno was phenomenal and at certain points in his performance fireworks went off which made the whole experience really cool. Bruno sang his hits – and one of my favorite songs ever, Just The Way You Are, and when I say it’s one of my favorite songs ever, I mean it. When it came out in 2010, I was thirteen. The song came out during the genesis of my adolescence. I  will always know every word.

Walking the streets after Lollapalooza was officially over (for the day, at least) I felt my whole body collapsing limb by limb from exhaustion. Once I didn’t have the distraction of enormous crowds of tweens, teens, and others, I felt true fatigue. My head, shoulders, knees, and toes were dragging and all I wanted was a shower. But funneling into the streets of Chicago with thousands of other people was almost comforting – everyone was tired, but everyone seemed content and fulfilled. It was nice.

Sweaty, tired, and dirty, we took the train back to Molly’s. In each of our consecutive showers, we each blew our noses and dirt came out. It’s fine. We’re clean now.

The next day we woke up and were sore, but happy. I’m not sure if I’d ever go to another music festival again, but who knows. It was an incredible experience – and I’m doubly glad I got to experience it with the people that I did. See you later, Lolla.

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Date Night: Sackets Harbor, NY

Since this summer I interned in Watertown, NY, I made it a mission of mine to explore the area. I’d previously been to Sackets Harbor, about a 10 minute drive from Watertown, when I was 13 or 14 (when nothing was cool) so it’d been a while since I was there.

My friend Meghan and I decided to take the day, or rather evening, to grab some dinner and walk around historic Sackets Harbor. Our first stop (after finally finding parking – this is the only bad thing about Sackets) was Goodfellos Brick Oven Pizza & Wine bar. Mostly all restaurants and little shops are located on Main Street. So is the harbor, Centennial Park, and the Battlefield path. We had dinner, sat by the lake, and took in the sunset. It was a perfect summer night – and I’m glad I had company but Meghan’s not really my type. Sorry Meg.

I’ve eaten at both The Boathouse and Goodfellos and each meal was deliciously prepared. They both offer outdoor seating, but if you want the view of the harbor, go with The Boathouse. The back of the restaurant gives me a modern Krusty Krab vibe, too.

On the 4th of July (the hottest day of this summer thus far), my friends and I decided to get dinner in Sackets at The Boathouse, soft-serve ice cream at Saturdays, Sundaes & More, and sit in the battlefield (along with a million other people) to enjoy the fireworks. It was brutally hot, but the environment (and food) made the day worth it. The sunset along the lake/river was incredible and we got some really great snaps, too. I don’t know which I enjoyed more – this sunset or the fireworks. Both were incredible. Both were worth the trip.

Sackets Harbor, NY is not only picturesque and lively, but also has a rich history. Founded in 1801 by Augustus Sackett, the land speculator from New York City had high hopes for trade. During the War of 1812, Sackets Harbor became the center of American naval and military activity for Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence Valley. Within a short period, military personnel numbers rose rapidly and the village’s population rivaled those of Albany and New York City.

Two battles were fought in Sackets Harbor, in 1812 and 1813, but luckily in 1814 the Treaty of Ghent was signed that ended the 3 year war.

After the war, much of the naval base was dissipated. Today, though, historic Sackets Harbor lives on. In 1913, Centennial Park, a portion of the battlefield was recognized and set aside to honor the military personnel that fought and died in the War of 1812. The battlefield, park, and historic buildings like the Sackets Harbor Visitor Center or Augustus Sacket’s mansion are available to tour. Find out more about the history and visiting Sackets Harbor here.

And by god, VISIT. Bring a friend, bring a date, bring the fam. Even just for the day, or a night, it’s worth it.