As crowds leaving nearby sets began to swarm Franco’s at the Fountain near Buckingham Fountain, the cafe’s staff began to batten down the hatches. One employee even shotgunned a can of water in a last-ditch attempt to stay hydrated.
One of Franco’s operating owners, Frank Ruffolo, said the big Lolla rushes are starkly different from their usual business flow during the rest of the summer, but that with extra staff and hard work they’re able to make sure overheated festival-goers can cool off with some Italian Ice.
The Italian Ice helped (along with Lolla’s new water bottle policy), as this year’s festival shaped up to be much safer than previous years despite triple-digit heat indexes. As of Saturday night, there were 119 hospitalizations and seven arrests made in the festival’s first three days. At the close of last year’s fest, 234 people were hospitalized and 27 were arrested.
That’s not to say that the fest was completely devoid of drunken antics. Ruffolo said he’s seen multiple people trying to sit inside garbage cans, and has encountered mysterious lost shoes.
“We find one single shoe, not a pair,” he said. “There’s just one shoe left at the end of the night.”
“We could open up a Foot Locker with all the lost shoes,” one of his employees remarked.
Over the past four days, many have witnessed the weird majesty of the Lolla culture. Alex Epp shared a picture she had taken of a woman she had seen the previous day. At least seven months pregnant, the woman was enjoying the music while nearly completely naked.
“Yep, I think that sums up Lolla right there for you,” Epp said.
Epp and her friends were attempting to get the perfect last-day Insta pic in front of a brightly painted freight crate near Perry’s. One of Epp’s friends, Arinn Mims, said the only way to get the perfect picture was to take a lot of them, and suggested using the burst mode.
The girls had been to Lolla all four days, arriving to the grounds each day around 1 and leaving at 10:30. To keep their energy up, Mims said they made sure to go to bed early, drink lots of water and subsist on a diet of just pizza.
For Nick Lucherini, though, the challenge to make it through all four days of the fest was a bit more pronounced. A huge EDM fan, Lucherini said the Perry’s crowd at Lolla was a non-stop mosh pit.
“It’s really gross, that’s the one thing I don’t like about Lolla,” he said. “Alan Walker played this really slow and beautiful song, and [the crowd was] moshing to it and it’s just ridiculous.”
Rioting crowds aren’t exclusive to EDM, though. Rapper Lil Pump’s Saturday performance was shut down by guards when they realized they couldn’t handle all the fights breaking out in the mosh pit.
But most of the festival seemed to run smoothly. Friday was widely agreed to have had the best lineup, featuring the high-profile Bruno Mars, Post Malone, and Walk the Moon.
A playful “battle of the weekends” ensued on Saturday, with The Weeknd shooting off fireworks during his set and Vampire Weekend announcing the completion of its first album in five years to excited fans.
Perhaps the cutest Lolla moment occurred during rapper Travis Scott’s Thursday set when a fan made his way up to the front to propose to his girlfriend in front of a crowd of thousands.
But Lollapalooza wasn’t just about the big acts. Emma Iacovella said she stayed from open to close every day because she loved hearing the small bands that played earlier in the day.
Sparkling in the sun with silvery glitter coating her chest, face and hairline, Iacovella said it took at least an hour each day to get fully bedazzled, and that the glitter was difficult to remove — the battle to get her hair glitter-free would be saved for Monday’s shower, she said.
Despite spending long hours in the heat and committing to an arduous glitter routine for four days straight, Iacovella said she would be sad when the festival closed.
“[I’m gonna miss] all the people,” she said. “It’s so cool, I met so many cool people here and made so many friends.”