Every year, the Summer Smash seems to get bigger, better, and more insane than ever before, and 2022 is definitely no exception. Unfortunately, I missed the first year or two because of one reason or another, so 2021 was actually my first time experiencing this event live and in person. At the same time, though, I had been to various other concerts hosted by LL dating all the way back to Lil Uzi Vert’s first-ever Chicago performance way back in April of 2016, so I know how we throw down at live events, and I also know just how loyal, supportive, and turnt up our fans get every chance they get.
2022 had some curveballs thrown at the team including a detrimental storm that almost paused the entire festival, but thanks to the consistently hard-working and ride-or-die group of individuals who put this fest together, the show went on without a hitch! I just want to clarify that this article is solely based on my own experience and not from the point of view of anybody else. I know this isn’t the typical article I may normally write, but I figured it would be a good stroll down memory lane for this year’s attendees while also letting those who missed out know that this is seriously the only place you want to be in the entire world every summer.
This leads me to Friday. The opening day of the festival, and expectations have never been higher from both our perspective at Lyrical Lemonade as well as the fans who have been waiting months for this day, June 17th, to finally come. Gates opened at 2, so my strategy was to show up a little bit later in order to avoid too much of a backup at the will-call tent. This meant I was going to have to miss some artists that I was extremely excited to see live like Bktherula for instance, but I saw her rock out the tent stage last year so I figured I would probably be stuck outside even if I did get there right when will call opened.
So, I made the executive decision to show up fashionably late after thinking about how the die-hard LL fans would most likely beat me to the punch anyway and knowing that I couldn’t control this, I decided that getting there right around 4-4:30 was probably a safe bet. Well, everyone must’ve had the same idea because as soon as my group and I showed up, the winding line seemed never ending. Although discouraged, I waited because it was the only thing anyone could do if we wanted to enjoy the fest at some point. Unfortunately, the wait was about what I expected if not shorter, but still not quite short enough to get through the gates in time to see Zac FTP’s DJ set, Yung Bans, BabyTron, or a few other emcees I had on my list.
At the same time, though, I was shocked at how quickly the line actually moved, because even though certain moments felt like nothing was happening and I’d be standing there for ages, I was at the table getting my passes before I knew it, so I think the entire situation was handled as well as possible. Lucky for us (no pun intended), we got in and got settled just in time to see the local legend Lucki perform at Lenny’s Tent Stage, and although the crowd was pouring out of the sides of the tent like the cold, crisp, and refreshing Lyrical Lemonade was pouring into my mouth all weekend long, there wasn’t a single bad spot in the house.
With this being the first time that I had the chance to see Lucki live, I was instantly captivated by his connection to the fans and the number of people who were singing word for word along with him, but more than anything, I was blown away at how his easygoing demeanor on stage translated into organized chaos and all-out fun from the massive crowd he drew to this stage. Before I knew it, his set was over, but I knew it was just what I needed to get this weekend off on the right foot, and Lil Uzi is who I was most excited for.
Before this, though, we checked out Trippie and Wiz’s sets, both of which were unbelievably insane and filled with fan favorites, and as I ran into fellow LL homies left and right, I realized how truly grateful I am to work for such a supportive and revolutionary company. Moving on from my short tangent, the sun began to set on a gorgeous yet steamy day in this beautiful city, and the crowd began to swarm to the Lyrical Lemonade Stage to witness Uzi’s greatness in person.
Although he hasn’t dropped too much new music recently and he has been a mainstay at the Summer Smash for years, the anticipation was still through the roof, so when he came out with liberty spikes and an entirely brand-new torso-covering tattoo, everyone knew he was on a different level than any of the years prior. Of course, he rotated through a diverse selection of bangers from across all of his projects, mixtapes, and albums, and even though these were songs I have heard probably hundreds of times, it just felt like every single person there was experiencing them in a totally different way, and I was totally blown away with the end result.
While the earlier part of the day didn’t quite go exactly according to plan, I knew that I needed to plan a bit further ahead and make sure that my group and I could minimize our hiccups as much as possible moving into the next two days, and that’s exactly what we did. A bit of a wait for an Uber and a quick ride back to my girlfriend’s place had me thinking McDonald’s would be the perfect cap for a wonderful day, so you already know I had to stop and load up so I had energy for Saturday. As soon as my eyes shut that night, I was envisioning how the amazing day played out as well as what the rest of the weekend would hold, but after experiencing both days and looking back on the memories now, I am finally realizing that my dreams didn’t even come close to doing Saturday or Sunday justice the justice they deserved!
Tune in tomorrow for my recap of Saturday!