Neither rain nor mud nor cooler temperatures hindered Saturday’s rodeo-themed Dillo Day music festival, which took over the lakefill behind the Norris University Center on Northwestern’s campus. 

“Dillo” is an abbreviation of armadillo and this year’s fest, the first in-person event since 2019, was a 50th anniversary celebration. The original Armadillo Day was a group of Texan NU undergrads getting together in the 1970s to reconnect to home through music, according to a news release from Mayfest Productions, the student group that produces the music fest every year.

With approximately 10,000 tickets sold and a sizable Saturday midday crowd of 5,000 to 6,000 concertgoers, the festival rocked on, despite a 90-minute rain delay.

Drag the arrows to compare before and after views of the Dillo Day entrance bag check, taken during the rain around 12:30 p.m. and after it let up around 4:30 p.m. Credit: Wendi Kromash

Walking around the lakefill area, there were bean bag games being played, people lined up for food trucks and a crowd waiting to hear more music from the main stage.

There were plenty of attendees who dressed for the occasion. Cowboy boots seemed to be the footwear of choice. The RoundTable saw cowboy hats of all sizes, unique outfits with an obvious rodeo-cowboy-rancher vibe and other outfits that allowed the wearer to distinguish themselves even though a rodeo connection was not apparent.

Northwestern’s outing President Morton “Morty” Schapiro greeted the crowd at 2 p.m. and opened the Main Stage for Vicetone, also known as the Dutch duo, Victor Pool and Ruben den Boer, who began their set at 2:24 p.m. Vicetone is known for their melodic, danceable electronic music.

A little more than an hour later, rapper Cochise played the Main Stage. Mayfest Productions described Cochise as “one of the leading young rappers pushing the boundaries of psychedelic trap music.”

Jack Ding, talent buyer for Mayfest, said “Cochise inspires kids to be themselves, be passionate about what they want to be passionate about, and not worry about what other people think.”

Remi Wolf performs Saturday at Dillo Day 2022. Credit: Wendi Kromash

Rebecca Wilson, a junior, said she was looking forward to seeing and hearing Remi Wolf, the daytime headliner. She described Wolf’s music as “exciting, very positive, music you can dance to, very fun” and really enjoys her hit song, Photo ID.

When Wolf bounded on to the stage at 4:45 p.m., she immediately took control. The audience was singing and clapping along, enjoying her music, lyrics and energy as a performer.

“Remi Wolf’s endlessly fun live energy and presence on Northwestern’s campus make her the perfect daytime headliner for Dillo 50,” said Ethan Shanfeld, booking director for Mayfest Productions.

The RoundTable spoke with uniformed security personnel to learn if this Dillo was a safe Dillo, as preliminary meetings with from Mayfest promised. Inebriated students were being treated by paramedics on site, and a representative from the Evanston Fire Department said it had received many calls about intoxicated students at off-campus parties. One female student who showed up to attend Dillo Day was turned away due to obvious intoxication. Her friends were contacted to take her home, but she ran away from them and in doing so, slipped and cut her head. She was taken to Evanston Hospital to be evaluated.

But as far as Evanston Fire Department’s Kim Kull was concerned, “… the event was pretty much uneventful. There was an overall steady transport of intoxicated and mildly injured subjects throughout the day, but nothing significant. I’m happy to report that most students were well-behaved!”

The festival continued with an almost constant stream of music until closing at around 11 p.m.

Wendi Kromash

Wendi Kromash is curious about everything and will write about anything. She tends to focus on one-on-one interviews with community leaders, recaps and reviews of cultural events, feature stories about...

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  1. I’m about 20 years older than most of the students and an adjunct @ Northwestern but snagged tickets and still had a good time (hanging out in the back). It’s such a great event and it’s wonderful seeing the kids burn off steam and have fun.