Chance The Rapper’s Summer 2017 Festival Footprint

The music festival circuit is one of extreme excitement for fans and artist alike. Getting to see the likes of a Kanye West, Pharrell Williams or Travis Scott out in a field with tens of thousands of screaming fans is like having a spiritual experience set to your favorite soundtrack. One such festival super star on the rise is Chicago’s own Chance the Rapper.

A short four years ago, Chancelor Johnathan Bennett released the project that would change his life in the form of a mixtape titled Acid Rap. The colorfully trippy cover art finds Chance wide-eyed and kind of shocked at being the center of attention. That look was short lived as he has embraced his newfound celebrity with confidence and responsibility. His passion for the music he makes is also matched by the charity he displays for those less fortunate. Thus, the 24-year-old has been given accolade after accolade for his donations, like the one million dollars he has pledged to Chicago inner-city schools. He’s so dedicated to The Chi’ that he’s even created his own festival there, the Magnificent Coloring Day fest, which was the perfect match for his 2016 album, the three-time Grammy Award-garnering Coloring Book.

With his heart matching his talent, it’s only right that his live shows exude the ampness he expresses on track after track. From the fan faves like “No Problem” and “Juke Jam” to “I’m The One” and “All We Got”, his fans know to show up to these festivals and show out with the energy. Even with Chance planning on hitting at least 20 fests this summer, the cancellation of the European leg of his tour only slowed his pace of performances by about five or six showings. The lightning bolt of charged up inspiration still managed to hit the States hard with stops at Bonnaroo, Firefly, Governors Ball, Essence and even his hometown’s home run show, Lollapalooza.

Chance’s younger brother and dope rapper in his own right, Taylor Bennett, has watched his big bro evolve from the other side of the fence…the family side. Speaking with VIBE’s Stacy-Ann Ellis, Taylor gives us his take on fest life as an artist, some insight on Chance’s approach to festivals and why these large music gatherings are so damn dope for the “Bennett Boys.”

VIBE: What is the most challenging thing about playing festivals during such a busy season?
Taylor Bennett: I think the most challenging thing about festivals is the fact that—when you do a typical show, the fans, they’re all your fans. And then when you do a festival, a couple of them are your fans and then there’s a lot of people that their friends are like, “Oh no I want to go see Taylor Bennett at 6:50 pm, we gotta go see ‘em.” And their friend has no idea, so it’s a jolt because you get the explosion of fans that you typically wouldn’t get at your show, but you have to compete to win the crowd over.

When I went on tour with Tory Lanez, I remember every single night it was kind of a struggle to win over the crowd because they don’t know your name or music. It’s like you have to prove to them that you’re a good artist to get them rocking with you and even at that point it’s like you can’t expect them to jump around and go crazy on songs that they never heard before unless they’re on large amounts of drugs or something like that which I guess is the case sometimes. But it’s kind of different so you must rely on things like hand gestures like waving hands and stuff like that. You just have to prove you’re the best so I think that’s probably the most difficult part that you’re playing to at least 46% of the crowd that is not your fans.

This year, what festival were you able to win them over at?
The Firefly festival! That a very funny story so, me and Casey had never missed a flight but we missed one going to Firefly. And it was a big deal because we already were going to be cutting it very close because [for the Firefly festival] we had to take an Uber all the way to the city. So, the Uber was a two-and-a-half-hour drive and I think we drove from Philly or something like that to get to Firefly. But it’s a crazy situation because we were cutting it so close and we ended up missing our flight so we missed our original set. We called our booking agent and she got us moved to another stage which was a big inconvenience because all those people who came to see you think that you’re not there and you have to rely on the festival to get them to tell them what stage and what time you’re going on. I had a later set so I was competing against bigger artists that were playing at that time now because I’m trying to make sure that these people come out and I was worried about it.

Taylor Bennett Backstage at S.O.B.'s in New York City
CREDIT: Johnny Nunez/WireImage

At one point and time, I swear [about] 500 to 600 people all walked over to the stage. I was like, “Aww sh*t that’s a lot of people.” And then as the time gets closer for me to go on, the numbers keep accumulating and we ended up pulling out like 3,000 to 4,000 people. So, it was insane, I had no idea I had that many fans. I rap “The Field” verse which was before I even released it. The crowd went crazy and I went back out it was a couple more people there so it was about 4,000 people out there. I’ll never forget, I did “Dancing in The Rain” and when we did [that song] we had everybody put their cell phone lights up. And it was the perfect timing because the sun started to go down and there’s 4,000 [people] with their lights up and we’re all on one synchronized wave and it looks insane. It looks so crazy, I’ve never seen anything like that. So many people interacting with a song and everybody knew the words, it was literally crazy. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, musically. That was my favorite festival for sure and my brother performed there too later that night, it was a crazy experience. It was my first show and festival with my brother so it was crazy.

Being able to watch your brother kind of go from his festival—or maybe what you saw him do, to his last one at Lollapalooza, what was it like seeing his growth?
What’s crazy is that this is Chance’s third year playing Lolla in a row. And every year from the beginning, I remember in his first year he brought out R. Kelly and they brought out all these doves and balloons into the sky and it was very cool. And it’s funny because I remember the first Lolla show that he did. To see him come now where he had these huge LED panels and he’s bringing out the whole—he brought out half the city at Lollapalooza, it’s insane just to see the production and the band. Now he has a whole band, he has The Social Experiment, he does songs with Kanye West and to see that [was] ridiculous.

What’s very funny is I think a lot of people misunderstand it. I definitely see it from a different perspective because he is my brother, but I think as a musician Chicagoans that have been to Lollapalooza for his first, second, and third year can see how crazy it is. Chance came up grassroots, complex just like me, so to see this guy that you possibly might have seen at his first show at Lincoln Hall or Reggie’s Rock Club when it was only holding 400 to 500 people….to see that and all of a sudden, it’s like he’s bringing out half the city and feels like you already know this guy. And I think that’s the feeling a lot of people get from Chance.

What is it like watching him create his own festival, Magnificent Coloring Day?
That sh*t is raw! I remember when he did the U.S. Cellular [Stadium] sh*t and he brought out Tyler the Creator, John Legend, Alicia Keys, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, [and] Kanye West. To do it wasn’t even just about the fact that he did it in Chicago and he put together a show that was huge, it was also about the fact that it was on the Southside. It was literally on the Southside and I remember that day I performed at [Common’s] AHHH! Fest. I remember Chance came out when he was the special guest appearance to perform before me, so I opened up before my set and he still went over there to do Magnificent Coloring Day. He sold out a baseball stadium! And he headlined over Tyler The Creator, Alicia Keys, John Legend, all these people that we grew up listening to, it’s just crazy.

Of all the festivals that you’ve attended, which is your favorite?
I think that Lolla’ has always been my favorite and I say [that] because one, I’m from Chicago and I’m biased. Two, to be in your city and you don’t have to perform, you can just relax, walk through the crowd, everybody sees you and people freak out, but then even on the stage, the stage managers know you. Chicago really takes care of Chicago and I’ve always had a great experience with other artists. I went to Lolla’ this year with Offset and the Migos and we had a great time. I got a chance to hang out with Yachty, of course, that’s my boy [and] he brought me out on stage, that was dope. And I saw Chance for the last three years of him playing and that’s always a huge thing. It was just a lot of fun and a really dope experience. I was hanging out with Towkio, we met up there and I’ve been working on some sh*t. I got to meet Amine, we kicked it and we transferred lines so we’re supposed to be working on some music. We just hung out with a lot of people, we really had a good time. Oh, and I saw my boy Wiz Khalifa. That’s my super homie and he always got me.

How can Chance top the Lolla’ three-peat at another festival?
I don’t know and I think that’s gonna be hard because it’s a hometown thing. It is Chicago. And I don’t even think he would enjoy it that much because I can tell when he’s performing that he—I bet it’s crazy for him. I know what it’s like to look off at a stage and listen to a crowd of people so I can only imagine what it’s like for him to look at the same stage every year, the biggest stage, headliner and see these things happen.

Bonnaroo -Manchester, Tennessee- June 10th 2017

Set List
Mixtape (Rode pocket rocket onto stage)
Blessings
Angels
Juke Jam
Waves/Father Stretch My Hands/Ultralight Beam (Kanye West cover)
Sunday Candy (Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment cover)
I’m the One (DJ Khaled cover)
Favorite Song
Cocoa Butter Kisses
All We Got
No Problem
May I Have This Dance [Remix] (Francis and the Lights cover w/Francis and the Lights)
All Night
Finish Line/Drown
Same Drugs
Blessings (Reprise)

Eaux Claires -Eau Clarie, Wisconson- June 16th 2017

Set List
Mixtape
Blessings
Angels
Juke Jam
Waves/Father Stretch My Hands/Ultralight Beam (Kanye West cover)
Sunday Candy (Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment cover)
D.R.A.M. Sings Special
I’m the One (DJ Khaled cover)
Lost
Favorite Song
Cocoa Butter Kisses
May I Have This Dance [Remix] (Francis and the Lights cover w/Francis and the Lights)
Summer Friends (w/Francis and the Lights)
Friends (Francis and the Lights cover w/Francis and the Lights and Bon Iver)
All We Got
No Problem
All Night
Finish Line/Drown
Same Drugs
Blessings (Reprise)

Firefly Music Festival -Dover, Delaware- June 17th 2017

Set List
Mixtape
Blessings
Angels
Juke Jam
May I Have This Dance [Remix] (Francis and the Lights cover w/Francis and the Lights)
All We Got
No Problem
Same Drugs

Wireless Festival -London, England- July 7th 2017

Set List
Mixtape
Blessings
Angels
Juke Jam
Waves/Father Stretch My Hands/Ultralight Beam (Kanye West cover)
Sunday Candy (Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment cover)
I’m the One (DJ Khaled cover)
May I Have This Dance [Remix] (Francis and the Lights w/Francis and the Lights)
Summer Friends (w/Francis and the Lights)
All We Got/No Problem/All Night
Encore
Same Drugs
Blessings (Reprise)

Lollapalooza -Chicago, Illinois- August 5th 2017

Set List
Mixtape (Rode pocket rocket onto stage)
Blessings
Angels
Juke Jam
Waves/Father Stretch My Hands/Ultralight Beam (Kanye West cover)
Sunday Candy (Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment cover)
D.R.A.M. Sings Special
I Love You So Much (DJ Khaled cover)
I’m the One (DJ Khaled cover)
Interlude (That’s Love)
Chain Smoker
Favorite Song
Cocoa Butter Kisses (with Vic Mensa)
Didn’t I (Say I Didn’t) (Vic Mensa cover w/Vic Mensa)
All We Got
No Problem
All Night
May I Have This Dance [Remix] (Francis and the Lights cover w/Francis and the Lights)
Summer Friends (w/Francis and the Lights)
Same Drugs
Encore: Blessings (Reprise)

Governors Ball -Randalls Island, New York- June 2nd 2017

Set List
Mixtape
Blessings
Angels
Smoke Break
D.R.A.M. Sings Special
Waves/Father Stretch My Hands/Ultralight Beam (Kanye West cover)
Sunday Candy
I’m the One
Favorite Song
Cocoa Butter Kisses
All We Got
May I Have This Dance [Remix] (Francis and the Lights cover w/Francis and the Lights)
No Problem
All Night
Same Drugs
Blessings [Reprise] (w/Ty Dolla $ign)

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