Well, we just survived another Lollapalooza, the gargantuan music festival that takes over Grant Park and major thoroughfares like Columbus Avenue for what seems forever every summer. I was going to blog about it–but Beth reminded me, I already had. On August 4, 2014. Since my sentiment’s the same and Lolla is still, OMG, Lolla, I’m just going to repost the first one.
Mondays with Mike: Note to self—next Lolla, get out of town
Originally published August 4, 2014
Summers in Chicago have dazzled Beth and me since we moved downtown in 2003. Free concerts and movies at Millennium Park. Printers Row Lit Fest right at our front door. Free dance lessons and swing bands at Chicago SummerDance. Every weekend a music and/or neighborhood fest.
On the flip side, summer brings lots of tourists. And they seem to have difficulty driving and especially walking—yes walking—in the big city. As in, they like to saunter four abreast unaware of the walking commuters who are trying to get somewhere. They like to stop abruptly on the Michigan Avenue Bridge to take a picture. At 5:00 p.m. on a workday. They rent Divvy bikes and ride them on the sidewalk.
Mostly, I hold the “get off my lawn” cranky old man attitude at bay. I’m happy to have visitors enjoy themselves and spend money here. But it’s hard during the biggest tourist event of the season: Lollapalooza. Helicopters. Traffic. Hordes (an estimated 300,000 last year) of young people traveling around the city in marauding bands of six to 12, trying to figure out the CTA. Now mostly, they seem well behaved, save for the odd midday sidewalk vomiter and the ODs being rushed to hospitals by ambulance.
But there’s something lemming-like about the whole thing. They all look alike. Almost all appear 24-26 years old. Almost all Caucasian. All working hard at clothing that says I’m a laid back music festival goer. And the obligatory tie-dyed t-shirt/headband “Hey this is sorta like Woodstock, right?” look.
They are by their very presence and number annoying as hell. This isn’t a rant about young people. I work with young people who defy all stupid stereotypes of them. There’s just something painfully contrived about this whole event.
Next year, maybe we’ll head up to Wisconsin to see gus.
Meantime, for now: Lolla people! Get off my lawn!