We are a couple of weeks removed from our annual Summer Smash festival, and we are all still having major withdrawals from such a great weekend. After the past year that we had of quarantining, social distancing, and avoiding large events, it felt amazing to be able to come outside and enjoy our festival once again. With over 75 artists on our lineup ranging from the up-and-coming rappers to superstars and legends, it was truly a weekend to remember, and a special moment for not only Lyrical Lemonade but Chicago as a whole.
I had the opportunity to work as a lead for the Summer Smash Media Team—a squad full of some of the best photographers and videographers in the game put together by our guy Cones. All weekend long, they captured tons of videos, photos, and clips of the entire run of show. While our full recap of the entire Summer Smash weekend is dropping very soon, I felt it would be a great idea to give my perspective on some of the best moments that happened during Summer Smash. At last, here are some of the best moments of Lyrical Lemonade’s Summer Smash 2021!
10. Lucki’s Set On The Lyrical Lemonade Stage – Day 3
Chicago’s own Lucki is well known as one of the best artists to ever come out of the city, and he received a ton of love the entire weekend of Summer Smash. On Sunday, Lucki took to the main Lyrical Lemonade Stage to tear it down and deliver one of the most spectacular performances of the entire weekend. Performing tons of cult classics, Lucki had an amazing set for not only the day one fans but anyone who may have been unfamiliar with him up until this point. While Lucki still is considered “underground” to a lot of people, one thing for sure is that Chicago holds him up very high, and he will never not receive the love he deserves whenever he blesses a stage here in his hometown.
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9. Lyrical Lemonade Watermelon Flavor & Festival Edition Lemonade – All Weekend Long
Fans of Lyrical Lemonade can all agree that on top of the music videos, clothing line, interviews, and more that we do here, we sure do have some great tasting lemonade as well. Earlier this year, Cole Bennett teased the fans with a sneak preview of a brand-new flavor of Lyrical Lemonade that would be available this summer, Watermelon. Attendees of Summer Smash were able to be the first ones ever to try our brand new flavor of Lyrical Lemonade Watermelon, and it was a hit all weekend long. So much so, that we ended up selling out before the end of day two. On top of that, we also had the Festival Edition of our Lemonade at the festival as well, and this design was only to be sold on-site grounds. If you got your hands on either can, consider yourself lucky.
8. The Music Video Village – All Weekend Long
Of course, we all know that the main attraction of music festivals would be seeing the acts themselves perform, but the greatness did not stop there at Summer Smash. Right next to Lenny’s Tent Stage, we had an entire attraction called the Music Video Village where fans could immerse themselves in some of Cole Bennett’s most iconic video set shots. In the Music Video Village, four Lyrical Lemonade sets were recreated for fans to take pictures with and post on their socials all weekend long. The four video sets that were recreated were Machine Gun Kelly’s “Papercuts”, Internet Money, Don Toliver, Gunna & Lil Uzi Vert’s “His & Hers”, SoFaygo’s “Knock Knock”, and the late-great Juice WRLD’s “Lucid Dreams”. By far, this was one of the best attractions on festival grounds the weekend of Summer Smash
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7. Juice WRLD Tribute Set on The Lyrical Lemonade Stage – Day 3
When we had our last Summer Smash back in 2019, Juice WRLD was the last artist to grace the stage and bless the fans with one of the greatest performances Chicago has ever seen. This year, it was only right that we pay our dues and put on a great tribute set for the fans. With a set provided by the one of the legends DJ Mike P, he put on one hell of a set to keep that energy alive. The crowd was filled with so much joy as they all recited Juice lyrics word for word, bar for bar. This tribute set was truly an amazing sight to see, and it felt amazing to see it done right here at home in Chicago.
While there may have been some people who were unfamiliar with Glaive before the weekend of Summer Smash, there is no doubt in my mind that after the weekend, he gained tons of more fans after his set on Lenny’s Tent Stage. Being an artist who was an early adopter of “hyperpop” music, Glaive brought nothing but great vibes and good energy his entire set. This was a special moment due to the fact that Glaive had full control over the crowd the entire time, and that is a very hard thing to do as a new artist. Not only that, but this was Glaive’s first performance ever and his first music festival as well. When we look years down the road and Glaive is a superstar, it will be amazing to see that the start of his performance journey began right here in Chicago at Summer Smash.
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5. Post-Rain Schedule – Day 2
While we were in full control of the vibes all weekend long, one thing that we were not in control of would be the weather. While it was sunny and hot, most of the weekend looked pretty clear up until Saturday afternoon when it started to pour down rain, and fans were all forced to evacuate. Losing valuable stage time was a big worry for us while we were not certain if we were going to be able to resume the run of show, but sure enough, the rain stopped, and the party continued. Missing about an hour or two, we still managed to get all acts back to their stages, reworked the set times, and still got every act to perform that day. It was amazing to see how fast we were able to get back in motion and end the day on a strong note.
4. Lil Uzi Vert’s Iconic Closing Set on The Lyrical Lenonade Stage – Day 3
By far one of the only things better than Lil Uzi Vert would be a Lil Uzi Vert performance. One thing is for certain is that no matter what, Uzi makes it a priority to make every performance one to always remember. Uzi performed tons of classic songs from all of his mixtapes and albums, as well as preview some unreleased music from his upcoming Pink Tape. As fans know, Uzi loves to climb things and jump off of them into the crowd. Making his way over to the control tent in the middle of the crowd, Uzi climbed on top of it and leaped into the crowd below, and continued the rage. Trying to match his energy, a fan of the show managed to make his way on stage, do a backflip, and jump back off before anyone could get a hold of him, which left Uzi at a lost for words.
3. Zack Bia’s DJ Set on The Lyrical Lemonade Stage – Day 2
As someone who has been able to attend a couple of Zack Bia’s sets, one thing for sure is that he knows how to throw a party. On Saturday afternoon, Zack Bia put on one of the best DJ set that I’ve heard in a long time. One thing that makes his sets so great, is his wide range in music taste. From underground rap, to mainstream hits, to pop icon classics, Zack has it all, and he let it all go during his set at Summer Smash. Zack didn’t come alone though, as he brought out a couple of surprise guests, those being Sheck Wes and Smiley (“Over The Top” feat. Drake). We also saw appearances from Ski Mask The Slump God and Adin Ross on stage as well. Ending his set with Fun’s “We Are Young”, the crowd all sang in unison as Zack Bia soaks in the vibes from his very first festival set of his career.
2. Next Generation Takeover (BabySantana, SSG Kobe, KA$HDAMI, Slump6s, Cochise, $not & More) – All Weekend Long
One thing that we pride ourselves on here at Lyrical Lemonade, is catching the up-and-coming stars during the early stages in their career and watching them blossom into something amazing. With the Summer Smash lineup being loaded with superstars, we made sure that we gave the ones that are next up the proper credit where it was due. For starters, BabySantana and KA$HDAMI were blessing every single stage and were popping up all over the place all weekend long. If you happened to make it to some of the Summer Smash After Shows, you may have seen them there as well. BabySantana performed his smash hit “Antisocial” alongside Slump6s, Cochise, and $NOT linked up to perform their hit “Tell ‘Em”, and SSG Kobe blessed the stage with his new hit “MIA”. This was a huge moment for the young artists, and it was amazing to see them not only perform in front of a massive crowd but have fun doing it at the same time, which is what it’s all about.
1. Lil Durk’s Surprise Appearance – Day 3
At last, one of the biggest moments of the weekend of Summer Smash. Since we announced our lineup, we mentioned that there would be some surprise guests on the lineup as well, and we did a pretty good job at not spoiling it for the fans. While many celebs and guests were spotted at the festival all weekend long, the surprise set was one of the most important moments of them all. Being welcomed and brought out by Cole Bennett himself, Chicago’s own Lil Durk made his way back to Chicago to bless the fans with one of the craziest sets all weekend. Seeing the madness in the crowd as fans yelled with excitement as Durk walked out on the stage was beyond insane. He received a standing ovation and even said he felt like “The Chicago Jay-Z” as he stood and admired the love from the crowd.
Performing his biggest hits like “Hellcats and Trackhawks” and “Back In Blood”, Durk blessed the city of Chicago for the first time in a very long time. Durk took a moment and walked around in the photo pit as well to perform and get even closer to the fans, which was such a heartfelt moment for the city. To this day, I can still hear the crowd chanting and screaming as Lil Durk made his way to the front of the stage, and this is a moment that will forever be remembered in Lyrical Lemonade history for years to come.
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