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Lollapalooza Kicks Off, In Spite of Rain and Mud

By  Emily Morris and Josh McGhee | August 2, 2013 11:21am | Updated on August 3, 2013 9:58am

 Lollapalooza 2013 kicks off in Grant Park Friday.
Lollapalooza Day 1
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GRANT PARK — Despite a rainy morning, fans began lining up early Friday at Grant Park to be first through the gates when Lollapalooza 2013 opened at 11 a.m.

About 100,000 people are expected each day at the festival, which features 130 bands on eight stages during the three-day event.

Though the first big-name bands wouldn't take the stage until 2:30 p.m., 20-year-old Brendan Mich, who traveled from Iowa to this year's fest, said he hoped to discover lesser-known bands by hitting up smaller stages throughout the day.

He said he was looking forward to one band most.

"I've been waiting for Queens of the Stone Age for months," Mich said. "Being around this massive group of people is just awesome. You don't really get to see big acts like this in any other venue. Plus the city is so beautiful and it's right in the back drop."

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Kaitlyn Woody, 18, has attended Lollapalooza three times, so she knew to prepare for wet weather.

"We brought umbrellas," Woody said, adding that her Downtown hotel is also nearby in case things get rough. But a little rain won't stop her from seeing Mumford & Sons and Imagine Dragons.

"We're gonna get hot, sweaty and disgusting," she said.

And just like last year, things got muddy.

Omaha, Neb., resident Erica Velasco, 24, said last year's storm left her muddy and taking cover in a nearby bar.

If it storms this year, her plan is to "find someone who knows what they're doing and follow them."

In general, fans weren't worried about the rain, which fell briefly and muddied up some of the grounds.

"I wore my toe shoes instead of sandals this year," Mich said. "I'm not worried about rain. You can't do anything about it, so it's, whatever."

Others donned costumes or brought memorable signs so they could stand out from the crowd.

Tommy Pappas, 31, of Roscoe Village, carried around a sign with a photo of Amanda Bynes that said "Get Rich or Bynes Tryin" and donned nude spandex. Pappas said the Bynes sign was his way of "keeping things relevant."

Pappas said, "I just want to do something that I haven't seen at the festival. I just hate boring more than anything."

Kentucky residents Jordan Bounds, 18, and Colin Peters, 20, said they drove from Louisville to come to their first Lollapalooza. Even in about 80-degree weather, Bounds dressed up in a Green Lantern costume for the day as Peters wore a banana costume.

Bounds said he's most excited to see Timeflies, and he decided to dress up as the comic book character because "one of Rez's (band member Rob Resnick) favorite things in the world is Green Lantern, so I've gotta get his attention."

Another determined to see one of his favorite artists up close was Alex Parrish, 21.

Parrish, who works at Akira, said he came to the fest almost exclusively for Lana Del Rey.

"I'm going to be in front of the stage crying and shaking," he said. "It's going to be a religious experience. I don't care who I have to elbow."

While festival hiccups were not nearly as memorable as the 2012 storm that forced the park to evacuate, a brief power outage occurred during New Order's set on Friday, and there were numerous reports of people trying to jump fences to sneak into the festival.

Two security guards said they were rushed by a group of about 50 people, who then pushed down a fence. It's unclear if they were successful in getting into the fest. Police had no information about arrests stemming from freeloaders.