By Amalie Drury Posted August 11, 2009, 8:00 AM EDT
CHICAGO Vampire Weekend headlined Thursday night's Galapalooza, the Parkways Foundation's annual fund-raiser that takes place in Grant Park the night before Lollapalooza crowds occupy it for the weekend. (Parkways Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises funds for Chicago Park District projects.) According to Alison Krzys, the foundation's director of communications, “We work with C3 Presents to find a Lolla artist that will be both a draw for the event and a good fit for our budget. The biggest selling point [for Galapalooza sponsors] is the chance to see a Lolla band in an intimate V.I.P. setting.”
In addition to Vampire Weekend, the event included an opening set from local indie-rock band Hey Champ and another from DJ White Shadow, with all acts performing in the park's Petrillo Band Shell. Sponsors such as the Kluth Family Foundation and Charter One bank sat in stage-side lounge areas filled with white leather sofas from Designer 8 Event Furniture Rental, while Limelight Catering's staff dropped off treats such as mojito lollipops and trays of glittering chocolates, referred to on the menu as “Bedazzled Bonbons.”
During the hourlong dinner reception that preceded the live bands, approximately 600 guests wandered along the perimeter of the lounge area, stockpiling their plates in tented buffet areas that offered such items as fried green tomato Napoleans and Chinese takeout boxes stuffed with sesame noodles and chicken pot-stickers. “Galapalooza is a relatively new event, and people buy tickets last minute,“ Krzys said. Accordingly, “we’ve learned to plan for extra food and furniture to accommodate that last-minute surge.” Around the tents, highboy tables draped in teal linens served as dinner tables for non-V.I.P. ticket-holders.
Krzys said that the the weekend's stormy forecast didn't affect her planning process. “It doesn't rain on Gala,” she joked. Ultimately, the skies stayed clear on Thursday night.