Summer Smash Festival brings lyrical lemonade to Chicago’s Douglass Park

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I only saw one set on Saturday before the thunderstorms hit. As Joey Purp performed an unreleased song, I watched a 19-year-old in a LeBron James high school jersey do a standing backflip, then take off, sprinting away from the stage. Well done to this man for the perfect visual encapsulation of audience priorities.

The festival announced an evacuation due to the weather around 3 p.m. As I walked off the course, I walked past Cole Bennett sitting in a golf cart, leaning over his phone as fans stopped to take photos with his famous mate TikTok. I got to el before the rain started to fall, but the masses were dispatched to two nearby buildings for shelter, where they partied and sang for Kanye. DONDA album. The gates reopened at 5 p.m. as the sun set over the fields, and crowds returned under the watchful eye of the CPD.

The real chaos happened later that night, when crowds swarmed a centrally located bar, harassing staff, stealing items and smashing shit. “I’ve never felt so ready to fail as a bar manager, and I know my bartenders feel the same way because it was completely dangerous,” a former festival bar manager told Block Club Chicago . “It was by far the least organized, the least secure [festival]. On the first day, it was clear that there was a lack of security.

In response to the complaints, the Summer Smash team released a statement calling the festival a “major success” despite the incident at the bar. “No staff or festival attendees were injured in this incident, and no funds were lost,” the statement said. “If a bar staff member chose not to come back on Sunday, each was still paid in full for their services for the entire three-day weekend.” By Sunday, that bar had been taken down entirely, drastically reducing the size of the premium VIP area in the process. Either way, the kids were jumping over the fences in VIP indiscriminately.

There is a specter that haunts our youth – the specter of Travis Scott. The rapper / producer / human brand extension didn’t play Summer Smash, but his influence was everywhere. Scott wasn’t the first to bring the mosh pit to rap shows, but he did help push it to destructive and damaging extremes. Sometimes it seemed like everyone else was wearing an Astroworld t-shirt or some other brand shirts. Beyond merch, Astroworld tracks were ubiquitous in DJ mixes between sets and even in sets by collaborators like Don Toliver. Gunna’s DJ asked the crowd “Can we go to Astroworld?” Before dropping “Yosemite”.

Queen Key was the first performer after the doors reopened on Saturday night, filling the stage with a group of family and friends, white-clad backup dancers and guests of fellow Chicagoans Lil Zay Osama. and Kidd Kenn. Pop exercise songs like “My Way” and “Hey” hit hard. In an apparent effort to insert as many acts as possible to compensate for the delay in the rain, people quickly started performing on both main stages simultaneously, with a DJ on the left stage shouting “We want the music” then. that Key was still actively performing on the right. It might not have been noticeable from the pits, but the intrusive bass drum boom from the neighboring stage was a lingering problem until Saturday afternoon and Sunday.

Rocky played it cool on Friday, but Lil Baby wanted audiences to see him work, stripping down to a sweat-soaked tank top during his headlining set on Saturday. Baby’s music isn’t known for its Kanye-style artistic ambition, but his set looked at Yeezus Tour show, including a troupe of dancers and a throne for rapping. He even brought a Mohawk kid on stage to give them a luxury backpack. Not that he needed stunts to win over the crowd; during his collaboration with Drake “Yes Indeed”, the DJ cut the track so that the whole crowd shouts “Wah wah wah, bitch I’m Lil Baby!” Sometimes her vocals clashed with her pre-recorded vocals, but that wasn’t enough to dampen hits like “We Paid” and “The Bigger Picture”.

The first thing I heard inside the doors on Sunday was “Who likes to fuck her tight pussy in here?” enthusiastically asked by Guwop Reign of Boston. It was a rude thing to hear amplified on the festival grounds, but Guwop is only 17 years old. Had a harder time coming up with excuses for the DJ’s thanks to the deceased serial abuser XXXTentacion as part of ‘Other Lost Legends’ or for Lil Uzi Vert called attention to someone in the crowd and said he wouldn’t continue the show until he flashed her boobs. Uzi quickly gave up on the idea and dismissed it as a joke, but I heard a group of teenage girls laugh at the incident on the train later that night.

Benny The Butcher was the closest thing to lineup of an underground rapper in the box-digging lore, which isn’t surprising – it’s hard to spike game stories and dusty beats. But the Buffalo rapper still got the crowd’s arms waving to the beat anyway, especially on “Dr Bird’s,” the posse cut the Griselda team played on. Tonight’s show early 2020.

On my way backstage, a group of three teenagers pounced on me to go through security. One of them, a 20-year-old Asian with a Jack Harlow haircut, quickly told me he was making music videos for artists. I explained that it was only the press tent, but the team went to network all the same. The whole Lyrical Lemonade brand started with music videos for children. What better place to link and build?

As I struggled backstage waiting for an artist who finally ghosted me, I missed Waka Flocka Flame, which is basically classic rock in that setting. Sensing my disappointment, Jonathan, 24, and Gabby, 19, co-workers at a local Buffalo Wild Wings, reassured me that he had played all the mind-blowing hits: “Grove St. Party”, “Hard In” Da Paint “,” No hands. ” It didn’t make me feel better to miss it, but I was relieved that we all have the same definition of a Waka Flocka hit.


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