HomeUncategorizedLollapalooza Is Veering Close to Becoming a Top 40 Radio Festival

Lollapalooza Is Veering Close to Becoming a Top 40 Radio Festival

Lollapalooza has revealed its 2024 lineup, with SZA, Tyler, the Creator, and blink-182 topping the bill. Also set to play the Chicago festival are The Killers, Future x Metro Boomin, Hozier, Stray Kids, and a slew of other artists that you’ve likely heard on the radio, certainly heard on a TikTok or Instagram Reels, and may not really care for — like Tate McRae, Dominic Fike, or Conan Gray. It doesn’t really matter how you feel about those artists, because Lollapalooza was always going to book them anyways.

Since its return in a pandemic-altered 2021, Lollapalooza has been headed towards an identity crisis. TikTok is now king, and demographics, as they inevitably do in music, keep skewing younger. Besides, fewer people are buying tickets to multi-genre festivals, and as Lolla is committed to bringing in the largest crowds possible, it can’t be as edgy as the neighboring Riot Fest or as critically curated as Pitchfork.

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So, Lollapalooza has been gradually whittled down to where it can only exist: the middle of the road. There’s nothing wrong with the middle of the road, necessarily. It’s just unfortunate that a legendary music festival has gradually shed so many layers of identity that it can’t muster a better lineup than one top 40 radio station would put on.

That’s mostly evident in this year’s headliners, which are, well, fine. Look, SZA is amazing, and her 2024 victory lap is well deserved. Her name looks the brightest on the top of the bill, even if she’s there because a mega star they were seeking wasn’t available. But Tyler, the Creator just headlined this festival three years ago, and if he doesn’t have a brand new album out by this summer — and a brand new live show at that — the choice will feel extra disappointing.

Meanwhile, blink-182 is somehow the rarest headlining booking. Besides their surprise Coachella appearance in 2023, the reunited trio actually opted not to do any US festivals last year besides Atlantic City’s Adjacent Festival, and currently are only scheduled to headline this one in 2024. The Killers are a great live band but it feels like they play this festival every four years. Future x Metro Boomin might end up being the most attended set of the weekend, and Hozier is rapidly approaching “headliner or bust” territory. And there’s Melanie Martinez, which… am I missing something? Has she secretly developed into a genuinely big star? Did the whole Björk rip-off aesthetic from last year’s Portals really move the needle for her? Maybe it did, and it just flew completely over our heads.

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