Berlin is a city where every weekend can be turned into a festival if you please. The clubs stay open through the days and nights, open air parties fill out half the venues, and the lakes and parks attract enough musicians to fill a festival lineup alone. So, when an event like Lollapalooza comes to town a second year in a row and sells a whopping 70,000 daily tickets, there’s something to be said.
However, Lollapalooza wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms this time around. Local residents pushed to keep the event on a different grounds than Treptower Park, which was recently refurbished for the slender price of 13 million Euro. With widely supported online petitions, and a slow moving city board, the location was actually only approved weeks before festival gates opened last weekend. The festival board quelled residents’ concerns by claiming responsibility for any damage that may occur. Considering the post-festival browned grass, littered fields and piss doused bushes, it’s to the residents’ relief that these terms were laid out before the show.
How it compared to last year’s location:
Lollapalooza hosted their first Berlin festival at Templehof, the former airport turned public space. Since it’s now home to refugees, the festival needed to find a new home. And it is already confirmed that it needs to find another one next year. And if you ask us, they better learn from this year’s mistakes.
- The stages were further apart, allowing for better sound quality.
- Since the main stages alternated play time, there was no sound overlap between the two closest stage.
- Templehof is a little island of sorts, where even the closest falafel is a decent trek away.
- There just wasn’t enough room to host the 70,000 people who flocked to the grounds.
- You couldn’t really take a load off without feeling like you’ll get trampled over. For example, the KINGS OF LEON and RADIOHEAD sets completely filled the field leading up to the main stage.
- Since the grounds were a lot larger, it was quite a bit harder to bounce between stages quickly.
- Also, you felt a little bad trampling a park as beautiful as Treptower.
And the music:
For an internationally hosted festival that boasts a top lineup year after year, this one quite frankly felt a little tired. They put on good shows; that’s a given. But these are bands that have done this before. Most have been around the festival circuit a handful of times, without really evolving much, so it didn’t make for a particularly interesting weekend. That’s not to say it wasn’t an ideal way to wrap up a Berlin summer; it just wasn’t revolutionary.
Stand Out Sets at Lollapalooza Berlin 2016
KINGS OF LEON closed out Saturday the way you could imagine- Caleb’s bellowing vocals creating for the ideal end to a festival day. The band of brother is finally putting out a new album come mid October, and they were sure to keep that on the audience’s mind. They started their show with Over and followed it up with their latest release, Waste a Moment. Both tracks could be tossed in the air and scrambled with any of their earlier LPs, but really, why change a good thing?
THE TEMPER TRAP and MILKY CHANCE started Sunday the same note that the Followill brothers left off with on Saturday: plenty of feel good vibes, a dancing crowd and musicians who felt at home on the stage.
The shows that MAJOR LAZER, PAUL KALKBRENNER and KLINGANDE put on can only be described as one big party. MAJOR LAZER brought out the big guns: balls of fire sputtering in the air, dancers flocking the stage, and light shows fit for a king. As the sun started going down, the audience was going wild- jumping and chanting alongside the producers. KLINGANDE put on a live set, pairing his trop house with a sax that brought the energy out of the crowd.
As can be expected, the JAMES BLAKE and RADIOHEAD sets topped off the weekend; the best were saved for last. BLAKE’s voice soared as he took the audience through his first albums and the gems of The Colour in Anything. He switched effortlessly between the piano and his synths, while pouring himself into the vocals. The crowd hardly moved listening to his captivating set. BLAKE modestly thanked his fans, who gave little thought to the heat of the hour.
RADIOHEAD continued this line, but of course lacking in the sentiments. They started their set with the first half of A Moon Shaped Pool, kicking it off with Burn the Witch as red lighting seeped over their stage. They moved through all their albums, hitting on crowd favorites and tracks for their loyalists alike. Based on the size of the crowd, you’d think that everyone came just to see them. RADIOHEAD closed out the weekend with Creep and Karma Police, sending their fans home with heads full of the best music, feet covered in dirt and a feeling that summer is coming to an end all too soon.