Rain dampens but doesn't wash out the first day of the festival in Chicago's Grant Park.

j. cole photo
J. Cole

[Contributor Ryan Knight is in Chicago for Lollapalooza this weekend. Here's his day one report.]

Anticipation for Lollapalooza's 25th anniversary was to an all time high this year, and all general admission passes sold out within the first few hours when the four-day packages went on sale last March, In the days leading up to the event, Thursday began at Grant Park in Chicago with a slight rain delay, which resulted in gates opening about 30 minutes after the scheduled 11 a.m. start. One of the first things I noticed about the festival was the sheer number of people--at least thousands waiting in line to get in. That crowd was separated into those with or without bags, the bag line moving far more slowly, which quickly also made it the longer one. 

Upon entry into the festival, I journeyed over to Bob Moses at Pepsi stage. As the clouds darkened, it started to rain and continued to do so periodically throughout the rest of the evening until about 7:30. Luckily there was no lightning activity, so there were no delays. Moses did not bring much excitement to their performance, so I walked over to Pertillo Bandshell to watch Danny Brown, who is known for his high energy performances and crowd-involvement. He was able to get the crowd hyped up and jumping to his beats while the rain kept falling. 

Perry's stage at Lollapalooza is the stage designed for electronic music performers. It's a massive stage that boasts huge LED screens. The production they put into this particular stage is over the top,in comparison to the other live stages. This was where I saw Don Diablo and Tchami. Don Diablo was just what I needed, some uplifting house on a rainy day. He spun his newest singles. "Drifter" and "What We Started" and closed with "Chemicals" featuring Tiesto. Tchami opened with his remix of "You Know You Like it" and stunned the crowd with his mastery of future house. However, I do wish that he played more of his own original tracks.

The Arcs have the same bluesy vibe as Dan Aurebach's other gig, The Black Keys, and captivated the crowd. Finally, J. Cole took the stage at Samsung, the mainstage at Lollapalooza, and performed one of of the most crowd-involving shows I have ever seen. The audience drowned out Cole at times, singing along en masse.

Chicago Tribune's report, which liked Bob Moses even less than I did, but liked J. Cole less than I did as well.

Want to see Lollapalooza from where you are? Red Bull is streaming performances.