This is entry eight of an ongoing travel journal. Click here to read the first. April 1, 2017 Lollapalooza Chile was a living, breathing, sea of madness and moshpits – the typical rambunctious Chilean behavior. But what is an even greater display of the beautiful Chilean culture is how I actually ended up going to […]
April 1, 2017
Lollapalooza Chile was a living, breathing, sea of madness and moshpits – the typical rambunctious Chilean behavior. But what is an even greater display of the beautiful Chilean culture is how I actually ended up going to Lollapalooza in the first place.
It was the week before the festival. I was down south in Pucón, rewarding myself after the grueling ascent of Volcán Villarrica with pizza and beer in the afternoon sunshine on a restaurant patio. The man sitting at the table behind me turned on “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” off of Nirvana’s Unplugged in New York on his cell phone.
I looked over my shoulder and told him I loved that song, “Me encanta este canción.” He told me that the best show he’d ever seen was Nirvana live in Argentina in 1992. I showed him my Kurt Cobain tattoo and he asked if I was going to Lollapalooza next week. I wasn’t – monetary issues were holding me back.
“There is no problem, my friend,” he said to me. “I have a 25% discount with my bank. I will buy you a ticket and you pay me back.”
A 25% discount and a clear signal from the Gods of Rock was enough incentive for me to change my mind about Lollapalooza. Conveniently, my new friend also lived in Santiago – he said to come by his work the morning of the festival to pick up the ticket.
The following weekend, I rode the subway to the outskirts of Santiago, walked to the address he gave me, took the stairs up to the fifth floor, and emerged into the waiting room of a doctor’s office. I stood there dumbfounded, and clearly out of place in my festival attire amongst dozens of sick Chileans waiting to be seen.
While strategizing my next move, my friend from Pucón walked out from behind the PRIVADO doors, wearing a white doctor’s overcoat, unbuttoned and rocking an Iron Maiden t-shirt beneath.
“Bennett my friend! Come back to my office.” We walked back through the PRIVADO doors and sat in his office as if I was a patient. He gave me the ticket, we talked briefly about the shows we were looking forward to seeing that night, we hugged, and I was off.
On my subway ride to the festival grounds, I was in utter disbelief of the entire situation – it was a scenario that would never have played out in the U.S. I was going to Lollapalooza Chile because I bonded with a total stranger over Nirvana, who then used his personal bank account to get buy me a discounted ticket and had me meet him at his clinic in between patients, and there was nothing weird about that for him. It was just pure Chilean hospitality and a shared love of rock n’ roll.
And my oh my, Chileans love rock n’ roll. I was appalled inside the festival when I realized that they didn’t sell alcohol, but I had this same experience at a soccer stadium several weeks ago. Chileans are literally so intense that alcohol can’t be served at massive events like this or else any hope of peace and order would be completely fruitless.
The sober crowds at Lollapalooza Chile were rowdier and more involved with the music than any drunken mob I have ever seen. My body ached for days afterwards from trying to keep up – from grooving at Glass Animals to nonstop moshing at Cage the Elephant and head banging at Metallica – by the end of the day I felt like I’d run a marathon.
I was indescribably grateful to see that rock is still alive and well in the passionate hearts of tens of thousands of Chileans – a spectacle I never would have been a part of if it hadn’t been for Dr. Nirvana’s rock n’ roll hospitality.