Lollapalooza frees itself: Berlin shakes its bacon

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The Lollapalooza frees itself
Berlin shakes its bacon

By Volker Probst

In fact, it’s almost too late in the year for an open-air festival. But the weather gods are kind – and that’s how the Lollapalooza in Berlin warms up tens of thousands of music lovers. At the end of the first year after the Corona clearing, everyone here wants one thing above all: celebrate carefree.

People have long since gotten used to the photos: Corona seems to be over – and so at the Lollapalooza festival in Berlin over the weekend it was finally possible to celebrate again as if the pandemic had never existed. The event in the capital, which only premiered in 2015, could not take place two years in a row. But here too, keeping your distance, hygiene rules and wearing a mask in the open air now seem like relics from the vague past.


It can be celebrated again.

(Photo: photo alliance/dpa)

This is a liberating blow not only for the entire culture and events industry, but also for the artists and of course the tens of thousands of fans at Lollapalooza. The relief is palpable between the exuberant bustle, but also audible. For example, when “No Roots” high-flyer Alice Merton reflects on her performance when she rocked in Berlin for the last time. That must have been in 2018, she suspects.

The desire to finally free yourself again is great. The cares and hardships of the world seem incredibly distant on the spacious Olympic site in Berlin’s Westend. And on Sunday they should at least stay out of the headliners on the main stages. Both Die Fantasticn Vier and Seeed remember the war in Ukraine in their performances. Only Casper raises a flag with a dove of peace on stage and has the words “Never Again War” appear on the video walls – as a general statement about his song “Billie Jo”, which, however, refers to the war in Iraq. On the other hand, he does not address the subject of Ukraine in an offensive way.

Home cooking instead of international stars

Fortunately, the Lollapalooza is spared another discussion this year. And that despite the fact that with two German-speaking, white hip-hop acts and a reggae group led by a certain Peter Fuchs…uhh…Fox, for some it would certainly have fit here. The perceived problem of cultural appropriation, because artists also pay tribute to and draw inspiration from other cultures, is not an issue that should have been too much addressed on the Olympic grounds over the weekend.

However, this year’s Lollapalooza is only a limited expression of diversity, as the “Musikexpress” claims to have identified it. Sure, on the side stages and in the afternoon there is sometimes a lot of girl power. The main event with top acts AnnenMayKantereit, Kraftklub and Machine Gun Kelly on Saturday and Seeed, Die Fantasticn Vier and DJ Tiësto (for the Electro faction at the Olympic Stadium) on Sunday is firmly in male hands. But that too is probably a circumstance that has hardly given most visitors a headache.

More like the lineup itself, it was probably due to the Corona aftermath that this year’s festival relied heavily on home cooking rather than flying in a lineup of stars from abroad. With a few exceptions such as the Megan Fox enthusiast Machine Gun Kelly from the USA, the Lollapalooza 2022 mainly tried to score with home sounds. Whether this has paid off remains to be seen. Official numbers of visitors were initially not available. However, the crowd felt lower than in 2019, when up to 85,000 people flocked to the festival every day.

Life wants to spend one

Nevertheless, there are a few positive points to note afterwards. First, Berlin can really do festivals now. The teething troubles that the Lollapalooza struggled with in its early days in various locations are largely over. You still don’t have to love the cashless payment system, but it has now made its way to other festivals as well. Just like the ubiquitous commercialization. One thing is clear: the alternative coat of paint the Lollapalooza gives itself is just a bare facade here, too. Drink prices of 6 euros for 0.4 liters of beer or 0.5 liters of soft drink and the permanent presence of advertising partners such as Coca-Cola, Swatch or Telekom speak a different language.

Second: Smudo is recovering. After his fall during a performance about a month ago, tearing the patellar tendon in his knee, he stumbles across Lollapalooza’s stage with a bandage. But his Fanta 4 colleagues rap it into the Berlin night sky: “It’s Smudo and he looks good.” Probably true.

And third, no band knows better how to burn down their hometown shack than Seeed. When Peter Fox and his colleagues close the festival shortly after 10 p.m. on Sunday evening, there are hardly any Berliners left in the Olympiapark who have not shaken their bacon beforehand. However, the group lets the crowd go into the night with their song “Get up!” and the text “You want to spend life and I want to see that”. Who wouldn’t agree?

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