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A weekend at Chicago’s Lollapalooza music festival

Chicago’s very own Lollapalooza music festival took to the city’s Grant Park this past weekend for its 23rd year. This year the three-day festival, complete with seven stages, gave rise to an eclectic lineup, spanning the genres of folk, rap, electronic and everything in between. This being my fifth year attending the festival, I had high hopes, but to no surprise the weekend had both my expectations and my eardrums blown away.

I began the festival at Lolla’s Kidzapalooza stage, where Portugal. The Man was performing for a group of eager toddlers sitting cross-legged in the front row. Behind them sat a larger group of somewhat out of place twenty-somethings that couldn’t resist seeing the band, despite it being a children’s show. The group demonstrated some “Sesame Street” enthusiasm, opening with a cover of Pink Floyd’s iconic “Another Brick Wall,” and continuing with a G-rated version of their latest album, “Evil Friends.” Despite the censorship and occasional crying baby, the Alaskan rock band delivered a bright, wholesome performance that defied the ages.

Outside Lands recap: great music and great people watching at the expense of claustrophobia

As someone whose idea of fun tends to involve browsing Netflix or Wikipedia, and whose principle interaction on any given day is usually with a pile of pillow pets, nothing could have prepared me for last month’s Outside Lands, for which an average of 60,000 people stormed San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park each of three days in search of a unique experience.

The first performance I caught on Day 1 was Northern Irish artist Foy Vance, who delivered an intimate set to a relatively small crowed at the Sutro Stage. Vance was one of my festival favorites: his voice was soulful and gritty, heartfelt and guttural, and his easy charisma more than compensated for his set’s lack of showiness.