Chicago-area alt-pop band Beach Bunny drew a large crowd to its Thursday afternoon Lollapalooza performance.

‘Now we’re up here’: Three years after vowing to play Lollapalooza, Beach Bunny gets the gig

Four days. Eight full stages. Hundreds of musicians playing Lollapalooza in Chicago this weekend. And a few are from right out here in the suburbs.

Alt-pop at its core with a surf-bop finish, Beach Bunny had no problem drawing a crowd early on the fest’s first day with its lighthearted and fun take on sad-girl anthems.

“It was insane! It felt surreal being up there,” Jonathan Alvarado, the band’s drummer, said. “The crowd was really enjoying it, too.”

Alvarado and Matt Henkels, both grads of South Elgin High School, shared that sentiment.

Beach Bunny, with Elgin-area musicians Jonathan Alvarado, left, and Matt Henkels, performed Thursday at Lollapalooza.
Beach Bunny, with Elgin-area musicians Jonathan Alvarado, left, and Matt Henkels, performed Thursday at Lollapalooza. – Courtesy of Brian Shamie

“It’s exciting,” Henkels said. “It’s our first time playing after coming here a few times. And I was terrified! I was all nerves almost the entire time.”

Lollapalooza, Chicago’s massive celebration of music, draws artists and fans from around the world. Headliners include Childish Gambino and Tame Impala on Friday, Twenty One Pilots and J Balvin on Saturday, and Flume and Ariana Grande on Sunday.

See more: Pictures from Beach Bunny’s set

With beautiful weather on opening day and what looks to be an equally gorgeous weekend, the crowd is amped up, anticipating a solid weekend of great performances.

Beach Bunny, the musical child of Chicago’s Lili Trifilio, cut its teeth playing gigs in the city and the suburbs, including a stint in the Side Street Studio Arts’ Battle of the Bands in Elgin two summers ago.

"I've been looking forward to this since I was 16. The entire thing is so surreal." Lili Trifilio, the Chicago musician and founder for Beach Bunny, was all smiles about the band's performance on the American Eagle Stage Thursday afternoon.
“I’ve been looking forward to this since I was 16. The entire thing is so surreal.” Lili Trifilio, the Chicago musician and founder for Beach Bunny, was all smiles about the band’s performance on the American Eagle Stage Thursday afternoon. – Courtesy of Brian Shamie

“In 2016, I made a New Years’ resolution to one day play Lollapalooza,” Trifilio said. “Back then, Beach Bunny wasn’t even a band. It was a solo act. Three years later it happened. It’s all very organic, how we went from playing coffee shops to this.”

The Chicago-area quartet got its first chance to play a big Chicago festival stage when the band took on Riot Fest last September.

“This one is so much more sentimental to me,” Trifilio said. “I’ve been coming to Lollapalooza since I was in high school. I’ve seen so many of my favorite bands on these stages, and now we’re up here.”

After today’s set, the band is set to open for Death Cab for Cutie at a Lollapalooza after-show at the Metro tonight in Chicago.

“I’ve been looking forward to this since I was 16,” Trifilio said, “The entire thing is so surreal. It’s hard to process in the moment, but all I can say is it’s so exciting.”

Passes are still available for Lollapalooza, which continues through Sunday in Chicago’s Grant Park, at lollapalooza.com/tickets.