Yes my friends, it’s that time of year again. Winter has ended and we’re getting into the nice thaw of spring. Soon enough, summer will officially be here, and with that comes music festival season. It’s one of my favorite times of year, being able to hang out in some large park area and listen to bands upon bands at stage upon stage. And in my hometown of Chicago, we’re privileged to have two of the world’s most predominant summer music festivals when you’re talking about rock music. Far smaller and with a distinct emphasis on the independent and up-and-coming artists, the Pitchfork Music Festival is a “boutique” version of larger fests like Coachella and Bonnaroo. Of course Chicago also has their large fest to compete with those other two American institutions, and that comes in the form of Lollapalooza. As a one sentence history of all you need to know, Lollapalooza was a traveling festival for much of the 90s and featured a large number of big-name artists all performing under one roof. Since 2005, Lollapalooza has called Grant Park its home, and it will continue to do so for at least the next 8 years. I’m happy and proud to have both these festivals become mainstays in Chicago, and if you’re a resident or merely a frequent visitor, you know that its a great music city.

Now then, enough with the stalling. At midnight, the lineup for Lollapalooza 2010 will be published on the festival’s official site. I’ve been talking it up, as I do every year, for the last couple weeks (especially on Twitter) in anticipation of this announcement. If you’ve been paying attention there, you’ll already know much of the lineup. For the rest of you, feast your eyes on this:

Lollapalooza 2010 Lineup:
Green Day
Lady Gaga
The Arcade Fire
The Strokes

Social Distortion
Jimmy Cliff
Hot Chip
The Black Keys
The National
Cypress Hill
Cut Copy
The New Pornographers
Erykah Badu
Slightly Stoopid
Grizzly Bear
Gogol Bordello
X Japan
Dirty Projectors
Mavis Staples
Matt & Kim
The xx
Drive-By Truckers
Blues Traveler
Edward Sharpe  & the Magnetic Zeros
The Temper Trap
Jamie Lidell
Frightened Rabbit
Fuck Buttons
Deer Tick
Blitzen Trapper
Raphael Saadiq
The Cribs
Minus the Bear
The Walkmen
Mumford & Sons
Wild Beasts
Rogue Wave
Los Amigos Invisibles
The Big Pink
The Dodos
Cymbals Eat Guitars
The Antlers
The Soft Pack
Balkan Beat Box
American Bang
The Ike Reilly Assassination
Company of Thieves
The Constellations
Miniature Tigers
Mimicking Birds
The Kissaway Trail
The Morning Benders
Foxy Shazam
Violent Soho
Royal Bangs
Neon Trees
Freelance Whales
Semi Precious Weapons
Dan Black
The Band of Heathens
My Dear Disco
Shawn Fisher
Neon Hitch
The Ettes
Jukebox the Ghost
These United States
(…and many more!)

Perry’s Stage:
Empire of the SUn
Perry Farrell
Felix Da Housecat
Errol Alkan
Wolfgang Gartner
Joachim Garraud
Mexican Institute of Sound
Peanut Butter Wolf
Dirty South
Cut Copy (DJ set)
Beats Antique
Steve Porter
Didi Gutman (of Brazilian Girls)
Ancient Astronauts
Ana Sia
Team Bayside High
Dani Deahl
DJ Mel
Only Children
Lance Herbstrong

That’s all for now! If you’d like my brief commentary on this lineup, my reaction is pretty standard. I’m impressed. Granted, I did have lowered expectations this year, what with the small letdown that was the 2009 lineup, and the generally lackluster lineup of Coachella and Bonnarroo this year. Basically I thought that it was simply a bad year for music festivals in general, and that everyone’s lineup would suffer. I’m not going to sit here and call this Lollapalooza lineup “brilliant” or “mind-blowing” because there’s not a whole lot about it that one might consider surprising or having stand-out elements to it. It looks somewhat similar to a number of other summer festivals this year, but honestly I think it’s the small differences that causes one to stand out over the other. In that respect, the little differences, I think Lollapalooza wins the award for best American festival lineup in 2010.

Right now Soundgarden stands out to me because this is the only date the band has scheduled since they announced their reunion. Of course they could announce a tour next week that covers every major city in the country before ending at Lollapalooza, thereby rendering that potential of this being their first reunion show entirely moot (though one doubts they’d allow their first show back to be a gigantic festival anyways as you’d think the goal would be to get some “mojo” back before attempting something so big). The presence of Lady Gaga is an unwelcome surprise, but I suppose she is the biggest pop star around at the moment, and if you want to sell tickets, that’s one way to do so. I’m happy to see The Arcade Fire finally get a headlining slot, and The Strokes should be something of a treat as well provided they can actually put on a live show that doesn’t have Julian Casablancas stoically walking around the stage looking lost. Green Day would have best been served as a headliner back in 2005 after “American Idiot,” and given the equally challenging but somehow much worse for the wear follow-up record “21st Century Breakdown” not doing so hot, perhaps they’re a lame duck of a headliner. Of course they do have a remarkably compelling live show and a classic catalogue to pull from, so that might be their saving grace. Does Phoenix count as a 6th headliner? I’ve been saying since about 2004 that this band needed to be huge, and now that they are it’s somewhat regrettable. The fact of the matter is I don’t think their meteoric rise to fame is worthy of a headlining slot at this major festival just yet, similar to how Kings of Leon were a 6th headliner last year when they didn’t deserve it. Still, I love Phoenix and hope they do well with their appearance.

As for non-headliners, good to see some old school Social D on there, though they’ve continued making albums and failed to have a legitimate hit on one since the 90s. People love MGMT and I continue to fail to see exactly why. Please justify their popularity to me in the comments (I know this: they have 3 good songs and a poor quality live show). Jimmy Cliff is classic. Love the guy. Hot Chip, Black Keys, National and Spoon are all great indie stalwarts that I’d go see in a heartbeat. Devo would be served best if they weren’t going to be promoting a new album and only played the classics. Bring your bong for Cypress Hill. The New Pornographers had better bring Neko Case. Gogol Bordello had better bring the crazy gypsies (they’ll bring the crazy gypsies). Metric is playing Lollapalooza for the first time and that should be dynamite. I’m stoked for Dirty Projectors and The xx as both bands released two of the best records of 2009. The Big Pink and The Morning Benders are two small bands with much bigger ambitions that are probably going to blow minds not just at Lollapalooza, but all over the country.

So that about sums up my take on the Lollapalooza 2010 lineup. I hope you’re as excited for festival season as I am, and though Lollapalooza is still 4 months away, I’m already salivating with the prospects of what bands I’m going to see. Tickets are on sale now at the official Lollapalooza website.

At midnight on April 6th, the official lineup will be posted here.