Lollapalooza 2021

The Lollapalooza Pictures Look Like Something Out of My Ongoing Pandemic Nightmares

My anxiety captured in a single photograph
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Have you ever come across a tweet and hoped to the higher powers that be that it was fake? That’s how I felt when I saw one particular image from Lollapalooza going around social media.

“Maybe it’s not from this year,” I said, hoping that this was a case where something gets shared, but when you check the date, it’s from a couple of years ago.

That had to be it, right? With COVID cases spiking and the wildly infectious Delta variant a growing cause for concern, doctors opening up about COVID patients wanting the vaccine when it’s too late for them, and the CDC updating their masking recommendations, a multi-day concert of Lollapalooza’s magnitude couldn’t possibly be taking place.


Over a hundred thousand people.

A day.

For four days.

I feel like I’ve been stuck in a state of “deep sigh” since last year and I don’t think I’m ever going to recover from it. It’s reached a point now where I feel like I’m being gaslit by, in this case, an entire jammed concert full of people. For an entire weekend, thousands of people gathered to the point of looking like an animated sponge meme as if COVID and its variants aren’t screwing up the timeline right now.

Part of me, when I see gatherings THIS large, starts to wonder if it’s me who’s in the wrong here. Surely 100K+ people can’t be this irresponsible, right? Is COVID just a figment of my imagination at this point? Is it not as serious as I, who still has a mask in my purse for grocery store trips, has made it out to be?

Fortunately, plenty of people have responded to this anxiety-inducing crowd size with just as much horror as I have.

Unfortunately, well, plenty of people have responded to this anxiety-inducing crowd size with just as much horror as I have because there was, in fact, a gigantic in-person event during a time of increased COVID cases.

What’s extra frightening about Lollapalooza is its lack of safety protocols. I’ll never be happy about the world trying to return to the before times when we’re nowhere near ready yet, but if you’re going to carry this the show must go on attitude, at least TRY and do it safely.

And while people are arguing back and forth in comment threads about the measures Lollapalooza did or didn’t take, we can see, from pictures, that no one is social distancing. At all. Did we forget that was part of the safety measures we had?

It all just feels like we’re fighting an uphill battle with no end in sight.

I don’t know where we go from here beyond gesturing wildly toward all these people in open-mouth horror.

(Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)