If you’re no stranger to my blog, you know that I focus a lot of my free time on Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival. I’ve written countless posts on my experiences at the festival as well as numerous posts predicting the lineup.
After attending the festival for the fifth time in 2017, I found myself wondering if I would come back for another 4 days. I was beyond exhausted and ready to head back to the real world where I could make my own meal and go to the bathroom in anything but a port-a-potty. But who am I kidding? I knew the second that rumors started flying, I would be back for the sixth year.
Lollapalooza 2018 returns to Chicago’s Grant Park from August 2-5 and is back with huge names like The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Jack White and more. I’ve been reading up on rumored performers for about six months now, so none of these names aren’t too much of a surprise. However, the lineup, which boasts over 100 artists across the four days, brought some shock value to me.
Here are a few key insights and/or questions that I’ve pulled from the lineup.
Lollapalooza may be trying to get back to their rock roots.
You may be scratching your head at this when acts like The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Travis Scott and Odesza make up half of the Top 8, but I think nabbing acts like Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, The National and Vampire Weekend are huge deals for this festival. We had rock artists like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Radiohead in 2016, and Muse and The Killers in 2017, but half of the headliners? That’s a big deal. As I type, the 4-day passes are still not sold out, which is unusual for the festival: ever since 2013 (maybe earlier, but 2013 was the first year I attended), it was a battle to come out of the internet with a 3-day (now 4-day) pass before it sold out in hours – sometimes minutes. To have 4-days still available over 24 hours after their initial sale date can be a problem for the festival. Will they go back to 3 days? Go back to booking more mainstream headliners? We’ll see.
Where are the women?
Again, I’ve been pretty aware of these 8 headliners for awhile after a ton of speculation, but a huge part of me really hoped that there would be a female headliner thrown into the mix. It’s honestly really disappointing to see that the first female booked is Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches – followed by St. Vincent and Dua Lipa. Now there are rumors that Lil Uzi was a last minute replacement for Cardi B. – who is rumored to be pregnant. If that was the case, she would have been the first female billed on the third line. This is pretty ridiculous, considering I could think of a few females who could definitely headline. Florence & The Machine is on some festivals this year. Lady Gaga lives in Chicago. Fleetwood Mac is always a dream I have. Even Halsey – who has played Lollapalooza in 2015 and 2016 – probably could have headlined the Bud Light stage. Clearly we have a lot of work to do in terms of representing more women on music festival bills.
A social media driven society impacts the way festivals are booked.
Look, I personally don’t have issues with artists like Khalid, Logic, Dua Lipa and Post Malone, they’re all talented and have blown up in the last couple years. But I find it interesting that they are as billed as high as they are on this festival – and not only Lollapalooza, but a ton of others, Specifically I don’t see how Logic is booked over all of them – he’s on the second line? Seriously? Maybe I just don’t know these artists’ influence. I have been following Khalid and Dua Lipa closely and know that they’re seriously fan grabs on these festivals, but it just seems odd to me. I don’t see how they could have landed this high on festivals in 2014 or 2015 – which leads me to believe that social media has greatly affected their careers (for better or worse – up to you and them).
PS: Dua Lipa played Lollapalooza in 2016 and was billed on the 10th to last line. Now she’s booked at 20th overall.
Is Lollapalooza going to keep rebooking artists that performed the year prior?
I’m sure someone can help me with this, but looking at the lineup a few times, I immediately noticed that there were three artists that performed in 2017: Lil Uzi (as discussed above), A R I Z O N A and Frenship. Now if Uzi was a replacement booking, that makes sense. But have the other two artists really gained that much traction since last year? I personally don’t think so, which makes me wonder why Lollapalooza decided to bring them back. Anyone have any ideas as to why? This used to be a huge no no – and it’s rarely a thing that happens.
A few heavily rumored artists are blatantly missing from this lineup.
No Sza? MGMT? James Blake? Bleachers? HAIM? Young The Giant? All artists heavily rumored to be performing, ESPECIALLY Sza. I’m shocked she’s not on the lineup. Makes me want to know why. Edit: I came back to this post 30 min later after reading that she decided to support Kendrick’s tour and turned down a slot at Lolla. One of the festival’s bookers is currently doing a Q&A on Reddit – here’s the explanation.
MGMT just released an album and were due for an appearance. Jack Antonoff of Bleachers talks about how much he loves Chicago all the time and hasn’t been on the bill since 2014 (CRAZY!) I definitely had faith that HAIM would be there after their 2017 album release – but they were just there in 2016. I would have expected Young The Giant to be on the lineup in 2017 over this year, but definitely thought they had a chance since they haven’t performed since 2013. Clearly I already have a pass for this year’s festival, so it’s not like the absence of any of these artists have stopped me from going, but I’m surprised.
There you have it: my first reactions to the lineup. I will definitely be back with more coverage on Lolla 2018 – highlighting artists to see, etc. I’m really excited to head back this year, there are SO many artists I’m loving that go all the way to the bottom third line on the poster, which is seriously so impressive in terms of booking. Every year I make it a point to hear at least two songs from every artist on the lineup and this will take a lot of time for me to sift through.
I’ve started a Lollapalooza playlist on Spotify. Be sure to follow it to hear some music (the majority will be undercards, because they’re always the reason I go).