September 21, 2014
More than 50,000 fans a day take to San Isidro to see more than 50 bandsFriday, April 4, 2014
Lollapalooza passes the crowd test in Argentina
For The Herald
The days started out sparse in the fields at Hipodromo San Isidro, with small if any crowds around the stages until around 3 or 4 in the afternoon when larger headliners began to go on, and escalating each hour afterward. Young artists like Jake Bugg (20) and Lorde (17) made the music look easy with renditions of their songs that sounded identical to the album. Lorde danced across the stage in her usual, almost possessed looking way, which, happily, looked much more natural on a stage than on the screens of YouTube.
Imagine Dragons held tight to its reputation of being a band that is even better live than recorded. The group was one of the only to venture into the crowd itself, making use of the gated passageway set up in front of the stage, and even crowd surfing.
Phoenix and Zedd were other day-one standouts putting on memorable and popular sets, Zedd’s competing with Arcade Fire who rocked out on the main stage and sent music websites wild with a surprise appearance by Julian Casablancas on stage wearing Win Butler’s bobble head.
On day two, London-based band and emancipation-promoters Savages rocked out after some initial speaker issues with songs like Shut Up and I Am Here while lead singer Jehnny Beth tirelessly bounced and jerked to the music.
However, crowds only really started to gather in larger numbers for Ellie Goulding, whose inimitable voice had the audience singing along to almost every number as Goulding danced, and pounded away on a set of drums, eventually taking off her shirt and finishing her set in just a black bandeau and shorts. Goulding neglected playing some of her big hits like Explosions and Lights, leaving fans pleased, but not completely satisfied.
Vampire Weekend, a relatively relaxed band in a lot of respects, has many ardent fans in Buenos Aires. From the second the group went on, the crowd was filled with jumping teens, circle pits and the bursting of whatever bubbles of personal space people were holding on to as the band played hit after hit after hit.
The Bloody Beetroots, and Italian electro-house group, was an unexpected stand-out at the talent-stacked festival and the stage, and the area around it, was probably home to the most violent and passionate dancing of the night.
After sets by Soundgarden and Illya Kuryaki and The Valderramas, it was time for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Fans had been camped out at the Main Stage since Ellie Goulding’s set at 4pm and possibly earlier waiting for the group to take the stage, and the once near-empty field was suddenly impossible to see the end of.
The only disappointment from the Chilli Peppers set was not being able to see it better. Even though there were screens posted on either side of the stage, it was nearly impossible to get much of a view of Flea and the gang.
While the music didn’t disappoint, some shorter fans walked away having not been able to set eyes on the Peppers.
With roughly 50,000 attendees each day, the grounds of Hipodromo San Isidro were worn almost clean of grass in front of stages that held artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Pixies and were littered with empty cups and cigarette butts by Wednesday’s end.
Some fans had come from as far as Córdoba, and it took others nearly five hours to get home on local busses. Nevertheless, fans mostly walked away happy, boasting T-shirts, wristbands, bags, and even haircuts from a tent near the back of the hippodrome.
But mostly, fans walked away with bragging rights for having seen the Peppers and been at the first Argentine Lollapalooza, taking with them curiosity about next year.