The Lollapalooza sets itself free: Berlin shakes its bacon

In fact, it's almost too late in the year for an open-air festival.

The Lollapalooza sets itself free: Berlin shakes its bacon

In fact, it's almost too late in the year for an open-air festival. But the weather gods are kind - and so the Lollapalooza in Berlin heats up tens of thousands of music fans again. At the end of year one after the Corona clear-cutting, everyone here wants one thing above all: to celebrate carefree.

People have long since gotten used to the pictures again: Corona seems to be over - and so at the Lollapalooza Festival in Berlin at the weekend it was finally possible to celebrate again as if the pandemic had never existed. The event in the capital, which only celebrated its premiere in 2015, could not take place for 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 dim past.

Not only for the entire culture and event industry, but also for the artists and, of course, the tens of thousands of fans at Lollapalooza, this is like a liberating blow. The relief is palpable amid the reveling crowds, but it's also audible. For example, when "No Roots" high-flyer Alice Merton ponders during her performance when she actually 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 worries and hardships of the world seem incredibly far away on the spacious Olympic grounds in Berlin's Westend. And they should at least stay outside with the headliners on the main stages on Sunday. Both Die Fantastischen Vier and Seeed refrain from addressing the Ukraine war in their performances. Only Casper hoists a flag with a dove of peace on the stage and lets the words "Never Again War" appear on the video walls - as a general statement about his song "Billie Jo", which, however, refers to the Iraq war. On the other hand, he does not address the topic of Ukraine in an offensive manner.

Fortunately, the Lollapalooza is spared another discussion this year. And that's despite the fact that with two German-speaking, white hip-hop acts and a reggae troupe led by a certain Peter Fuchs...uhhh...Fox, for some it would certainly have fitted in well here. The alleged problem of cultural appropriation, because artists also pay homage to other cultures and are inspired by them, is not an issue that should have given too much thought to the Olympic grounds at 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 the top acts AnnenMayKantereit, Kraftklub and Machine Gun Kelly on Saturday as well as Seeed, Die Fantastischen Vier and DJ Tiësto (for the Electro faction in the Olympic Stadium) on Sunday is firmly in male hands. But that, too, is likely to be a circumstance that has hardly given most visitors a headache.

More like the line-up itself: It was probably due to the Corona aftermath that the festival relied heavily on home cooking this year instead of flying in a line-up of stars from overseas. Apart from a few exceptions like the Megan Fox lover Machine Gun Kelly from the USA, the Lollapalooza 2022 primarily tried to score with home sounds. It remains to be seen whether this has paid off. Official numbers for the 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.

Nevertheless, there are a few positive points to be noted in retrospect. Firstly: Berlin can actually do festivals now. The teething troubles that the Lollapalooza struggled with in its early days at various locations are largely over. You still don't have to love the cashless payment system, but it has now also found its way into other festivals. As is the ubiquitous commercialization. One thing is obvious: The alternative coat of paint that the Lollapalooza is giving itself is just a bare facade here, too. Beverage prices of 6 euros for 0.4 liters of beer or 0.5 liters of soft drinks and the permanent presence of advertising partners such as Coca-Cola, Swatch or Telekom speak a different language.

Second: Smudo is on the mend. After his fall during a performance about a month ago, where he tore the patella tendon in his knee, he hobbles across the stage at Lollapalooza with a bandage. But his Fanta 4 colleagues rap it out into the Berlin night sky: "It's Smudo and he looks good." Probably true.

And third: No band knows how to burn down the shack in their hometown better 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 haven’t shaken up their bacon beforehand. However, the group releases the audience into the night with their song "Get up!" and the lyric "Life wants to spend you and I want to see that". Who would disagree?