This past weekend I had the opportunity to work backstage at Chicago's biggest music festival, Lollapalooza. This experience was interesting to say the least. I had a Nick Carraway moment, of feeling within while also feeling completely separate from the experience itself.
My job was driving for the festival express. This is a service provided to artists and crew backstage. This job included driving from one end of the festival to the other, the Grant Park Stage to the Bud Light stage. Driving people around all day gives you an inside look into the lives of people working the festival. The best part of the day was talking to everyone who rode my cart. Everyone I talked to was super nice and appreciative of the service we were providing.
Back to my Nick Carraway moment, feeling within and without. While you are backstage driving everyone from one end to the other you can hear almost every performance. I heard parts of Bruno Mars, Post Malone, Børns and so many others. My job granted me the opportunity to be within the festival without really being in the festival, if that makes any sense.
The craziest part of my job was watching the fence jumpers. Fence jumpers are people who did not pay for a ticket to the fest but are trying to sneak in. The task of getting to the fence itself is a difficult one. Crossing lakeshore drive the jumpers dodge cars as if they are playing a game of real life frogger. Once they pass the cars, who are all laying on their horns, they have to scale the unclimbable fence. Not to mention once they get over this fence they are greeted by bike patrol and police officers ready to make the arrest. I don't think it's worth it. You are risking your life to get in for maybe one performance.
Between driving my route back and forth for 10 hours, hearing early morning sound checks and the fence jumpers, my Lolla experience was pretty great. Hearing the sets of multiple artists, feeling the breeze from the lake, along with the backdrop of the setting sun on the cityscape was a perfect combination that made working at Lolla an experience I will never forget.