október 9, 2015
When I heard that Lollapalooza is coming to my favourite european city, Berlin, there was no chance I’d miss it. I teamed up with my friends, got into a car and went to the German capital to have the best weekend of this summer.
In Berlin you can find accomodation fairly cheap, we actually lived in a squat, at my photographer friend’s apartment for free, but we had to help in the kitchen on our first night there. There’s a bar downstairs that opens every monday and friday, and it offers cheap drinks and nice food. That day we made pizza and being in the kitchen was a great opportunity to be a part of the local community at least for a short time.
Saturday we realised the schedule starts at 1pm and lasts until 11pm only. On saturday sadly we missed the first act (Glass Animals) on the Alternative Stage. The festival itself was at Berlin Tempelhof, a former airport, with stages stacked by the curve of the massive hangar. The inside of the building was the VIP area, where you could have drinks from the check-in desks, and have some rest on the old baggage conveyor. Outside there were two main stages, and when a show ended on one, the next almost instantly started on the other. The line-up of the two main stages gave no excitement, there was a few headliners from last year’s Sziget Festival, such as Bastille or Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and some (i guess) famous local bands. Me and my friends were more interested in the line-up of the Alternative Stage and the electronic music stage. To be honest, I saw Macklemore on the main stage for a brief time while I managed to buy a vegan currywurst, and it was just enough.
There wasn’t any reason to leave the Alternative Stage
because the line-up consisted of artists I have never seen before, therefore I was really excited about the next two days there. The stage itself was quite small and sometimes the wind blew the sound away, but it was just another reason to get really close to the stage where the sound was excellent. Saturday afternoo the Alternative Stage was about electro-pop. MS MR hasn’t caught my attention, but Hot Chip and CHVRCHES were amazing. The last act was The Libertines, where Pete Doherty closed the gig with a sharp kick to the microphone. At 11pm they turned on the lights, opened the gates, and let the mass leave to the night. It was a saturday evening in Berlin, so i wasn’t afraid that we’d be unable to continue the evening elsewhere, but
it was still strange to finish everything when the party has just warmed up at Tempelhof.
I see that it’s a historical venue, and in that form, this year’s Lollapalooza was the first of it’s kind, but the other hand some noise for two nights still would have been better for the neighbours thanletting 50.000 people wandering out at the same time, heavily overflowing the nearby metro stations, restaurants and tobacco shops. Next day I wanted to catch Pond and Wolf Alice. We tried hard but we failed to arrive that earlyagain. Up next Run The Jewels played on the Alternative Stage, and it was very good. They made a huge party with full of energy and everyone in the crowd was dancing like crazy with their invisible golden chain around their necks. Since I saw the upcoming Crystal Fighters a lot before, we decided to go out from the festival to have a coffee. I only realised that I could enter almost everywhere with my press wristband after I (accidentally) left the Tempelhof through Crystal Fighters’ backstage. That was very random.
Sunday’s headliner on the Alternative Stage was Tame Impala, giving the last show of their Currents Tour. When we settled in the crowd, my friend told us that we should prepare ourselves for an outstanding audio-visual experience, because they hung a huge screen behind the stage, and the VJ was the guitarist of Pond – an act closely associated with Tame Impala. And it was very eye-catching indeed, all the psychedelic lines and shapes were very responsive to the music, as it was made live. Although the bass was very bold in a good way, the band didn’t seem O.K. However frontman Kevin Parker was full of energy, constantly fumbling with gadgets on stage. For ‘Let It Happen’, he got a looper pedal to loop every instrument on the stage at the same time, it was amazing.
The festival’s strong side was the music, the infrastructure was sort of an overthinked mess. There were plastic cups for a euro deposit, but almost everyone that I’ve talked with stated that the staff cheated at the payment, and they had to pay the deposit over and over again. Thanks to that a beer was 5 euros, food started from about there as well. There were always huge queues at the diner areas, and for the restrooms on the first day. Good thing the organizers put more mobile toilets on the critical areas for the second day.
Berlin Tempelhof is huge, located almost in the center of the city, and was wonderfully surreal for such event –
these are basically the criterias for an outstanding festival venue.
The beautiful inner side was VIP only, but I would be happy, if that would change in the future. And while the length probably remains 2 days next year, it would be great if they expand the festival area towards the old runways – a few more stages or a tent maybe? – or even put a camping somewhere in the future.
But there’s a chance that no festival goers will camp there, but refugees, as the city is considering using the venue to house the many people coming to Germany recently. There was even a small PR disaster, because a fashion startup days before the festival canceled their fashion show planned to host at Tempelhof next January, because of the refugee crisis.
The future is uncertain, but the organizers have already announced next Lollapalooza Berlin in September, 2016. If they invite such acts as this year, it should not be missed. It is even worth to go for a few extra days to discover the sights, or just wander around the most vibrant city of Europe. We’ll be there next year for sure.