Concerts

There’s the lineup for Lollapalooza 2024. Are things getting worse? Let’s study the poster.

Once upon a time, Lollapalooza was one of the very few must-attend music festivals in North America. I still have extremely fond memories of the original era back in the 90s when big alt-rock acts (supported by an eclectic lineup of artists from other genres) toured across the continent.

Now reduced to a single weekend event in Chicago on the first weekend of August, it’s (IMHO) a shadow of its former cell. Here’s the lineup poster for 2024 for the event August 1-4.

Okay, that’s a weird use of font sizes. Usually, the headliners are in super-big font while everyone else is listed in descending font sizes correlating to their popularity and heritage. For this year, everyone below the level of headliner is lumped together. The Deftones in the same font as Cale Tyson? Who dat? Keisha on equal footing with McKenna Grace?

Second, Lollapalooza has long given up on being an alt-rock event–or even one that features a lot of rock, period. The 2024 festival features The Killers and Blink-182 at top of the bill. After that, you have to pull out a magnifying glass to find any other recognizable rock and alt-rock artists. In addition to the Deftones, there’s Two Door Cinema Club. Below that level, we have BoywithUke, Cults, Romy, Cannons, and maybe a few others (my eyes got crossed trying to read the small print).

Third, what’s going on with North American summer music festivals? Coachella 2024 is underwhelming when it comes to acts. Lollapalooza is even worse.

Anyone else have any other thoughts?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38165 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “There’s the lineup for Lollapalooza 2024. Are things getting worse? Let’s study the poster.

  • This has been a slow erosion. It seems that festival lineups (not all, but most) have been moving away from general “rock” to general “what?” for quite some time. I think much of this has to do with the modern condition of streaming over physical buying. Those in musical power will look at the numbers first (which they have always done) and they will see a massive number of listens and downloads from these “what?” acts and will move accordingly in scheduling them on massive festival lineups. That leaves old geezers like me without a reason to attend, as, very much agreed upon from your article, Alan, I don’t know 95%+ of the acts on the poster. I’m not entirely sure this is smart business, as the majority of the “kids” who listen and download these acts on their streaming sites are the demographic that has the LEAST disposable income (once upon a time, youth could blow all their dough on somewhat reasonable concert tickets – now youth is just struggling to get by with massive rent, tuition and basics) – and thus we see sluggish ticket sales like you noted when you wrote that Coachella was taking forever to sell out. On the other hand, as a youthful 52 year old Gen X geezer (ahem), I DO have the disposable income to not only attend a festival, but also to travel to it and book a hotel at it. I mean, I’m not RICH, but I do earn what someone should earn after 35 years of doing it. So, the powers that be have this all wrong. They should quit simply looking at download numbers and put more thought into a balanced lineup that features, I hate to call them this, but, legacy acts that appeal to aging Gen Xers who can actually buy the tickets and attend. My favourite festival used to be Sasquatch at The Gorge every Memorial Day Weekend in South Washington State, where they had a terrific balance of Rock and other genres. I’d see the performers I knew and loved, but I was also able to discover lots of new stuff that I’d never heard of before. Perfect balance. That is, until they ceased operations. One of the factors might have been the $22 USD for a 32oz can of beer in the land where you can buy a 24 pack at your local gas station for $15, tops. Again, I had no difficulty forking over the dough for my beers, but I have a feeling the “kids” were more interested in passing on the on-site concessions in order to pound a few beers at their campsite and then take their edibles with them into the concert grounds. Less concession sales, less big profit, and “big festival fall down”. I digress. I’ll stop rapping my cane on the floor and go back to my Senior’s bingo game.

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