This year Lollapalooza turns 25. In celebration, C3 Presents and Live Nation have expanded the Chicago festival into a four-day excursion, which will either a) give 15-year-olds more time to stumble on and off the wagon or b) shatter the knees of every aging thirty and fortysomething still fighting to “keep the spirit alive.” Probably both.
Lately, there’s been a well-debated argument over the homogenization of major music festivals, but really, that’s been happening for years. The reality is that the true identity of any world-renowned fest like Lollapalooza, Coachella, or Bonnaroo goes beyond the lineups. It’s about the scenery. It’s about the energy.
Look, we’ve done the same song and dance for you a dozen times about Lollapalooza: It’s Chicago! The skyline’s gorgeous! What about the after-shows? Save for that fourth day, nothing’s really changed. The outstanding positives still apply. Yet there will undoubtedly be something fresh to experience, and that “something” will likely extend outside of the music.
One way to start looking at these festivals is simply as an excuse to visit a particular city, and as ESPN’s Michael Wilbon insists, “There’s no place, none, better than Chicago in the summer.” He’s right. We talk about destination festivals, and Lollapalooza will forever be at the top of those lists. Then again, we’re a little biased…
But we’re not arguing for the merits of the festival as a whole. We’re looking at the lineup, and this year has the goods. Sure, it’s a little samey, but if you scrape away the competition and look strictly at the core names, it’s tough to scoff at Radiohead and LCD Soundsystem or an undercard that’s stuffed with legit mid-tier talent.
And so, here goes another installment of One Day Later, where we outline the highlights, the surprises, the omissions, and the least interesting acts. As with last year, the surprises were in short supply, which says more about the festival scene altogether than the festival itself, but the highlights are aplenty — and we’re not talking about Anthony Kiedis’ hair.
I still got it.