For the 25th edition of Lollapalooza, festival founder Perry Farrell pulled out all the stops. Not only did his band, Jane’s Addiction, perform an epic set that featured surprise appearances from Lollapalooza alumni and Chicago rock royalty Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) and Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins), but he also enlisted some of the best artists in the world to headline the festivities. While Radiohead and Red Hot Chili Peppers threw down unforgettable sets on Friday and Saturday, the four-day event was bookended by incredible headlining performances from Lana Del Rey and Ellie Goulding, both of whom commanded their stages armed only with the power of their own songs.
On Thursday, July 28, Del Rey transformed the Bud Light Stage into a smokey nightclub complete with neon lights spelling out her name overhead. She started things off with a brooding rendition of “Cruel World” before transitioning into “Blue Jeans” and “Born to Die.” Del Rey has evolved into a powerful performer, but the vulnerability she expressed on her breakout hit “Video Games” still can’t be beat. When Goulding took the same stage three days later, the north end of Grant Park became a celebration of life, love and music as the pop star delivered intoxicating performances of her most popular songs, including “Lights,” “Anything Could Happen” and “Love Me Like You Do,” which closed out her set.
While Del Rey and Goulding wowed on the main stage this year, Wolf Alice showed all the makings of becoming a future headliner. Front woman, Ellie Rowsell, may only be in her early 20s, but she has the soul of a veteran rock star. With the ferocity of Patti Smith and the thoughtful presence of Kim Deal, Rowsell snarled her way through the band’s debut appearance at the festival, as Joff Oddie’s fuzzy guitar and Theo Ellis’ thumping bass penetrated across the crowd at the Pepsi Stage on Friday night. PVRIS, with their infectious pop punk sounds, also delivered a star-making set during day two despite an ensuing downpour.
On the pop side of things, Halsey proved that she was more than ready to take on the massive Samsung Stage, just one year after making her Lollapalooza debut over at the teeny-tiny BMI Stage last year. The “New Americana” singer spoke of the importance of unity during these troubled times, but it was Muna who refused to pull any political punches. Wearing matching “F*ck Trump” T-shirts, the L.A. girl band put on an absolutely fearless Sunday afternoon show. MØ – whose uniquely creative music inspired fans on Friday afternoon – also made her thoughts on the upcoming election known, encouraging everyone to do whatever they can to ensure that Donald Trump doesn’t become president.
Festival-goers looking for a dance party found the perfect Saturday soundtrack compliments of Big Grams (Big Boi and Phantogram), who played a set full of tracks from their debut, self-titled EP, as well as mashups of hits from their other projects – most notably the expertly crafted combination of “Ms. Jackson” and “Mouthful of Diamonds.” There are almost too many Lollapalooza 2016 highlights to mention, but Melanie Martinez, Silversun Pickups and Chairlift are just a few.
Check out photos of the ladies of Lollapalooza 2016 above and relive some of the best moments from the fest with video highlights on RedBull.tv. More information on Lollapalooza can be found at Lollapalooza.com.