King Princess – House Burn Down
Marshmello x Carnage – Back In Time
A Place to Bury Strangers – I Might Have
King Princess – House Burn Down
Marshmello x Carnage – Back In Time
A Place to Bury Strangers – I Might Have
Kid Kenn – Moves (ft. Rico Nasty)
Sigrid – Mirror
Sleater-Kinney – High in the Grass
binki – Clay Pigeon
The Head and the Heart – Our House (Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young cover)
K.Flay – TGIF (ft. Tom Morello)
HAERTS – Days Go By
Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen – Like I Used To
Vance Joy – Missing Piece
And just like that, Lollapalooza returns to Chicago in 2021. Thursday, July 29th through Sunday, August 1. All four days, all full capacity. That’s around 100,000 people per day. Given that the world is still in a bit of a precarious place right now and not everything is fully reopened yet, any feelings you may have about safety and the words “superspreader event” are very much justified. People come from all over the globe to attend this festival, and with varying vaccination rates and new virus variants spreading like wildfire there’s some potential for danger. After all, this will be the first real test of vaccine efficacy in the United States and perhaps the world. It seems doubtful there will be any other large scale events happening before mid-July, though I suppose the (smaller) Rolling Loud festival in Miami the week before Lolla also qualifies.
All that said, along with the initial lineup announcement, Lollapalooza organizers have shared some information regarding COVID protocols for festival attendees. Specifically, everyone entering into Grant Park will be required to show either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result taken within 24 hours of each day. While this likely isn’t 100% foolproof at preventing infection (fake vaccine cards/test results may be used by some people, there are typically groups of fence jumpers that sneak into the festival every year), it at least signals they’re attempting to keep things as safe as possible. More information about specific COVID protocols and requirements will be revealed at some point in July leading up to the start of Lolla.
Given that the demographics of Lollapalooza skew heavily toward the younger generation (teens), there are some positives and negatives to consider related to risk factors. On the plus side, vaccinated or not, teenagers tend to have a much lower potential for severe illness and death if they do catch COVID. On the minus side, most teens feel invincible and fail to fully grasp the concepts of safety and responsibility for others. I would not be the least bit surprised to see 90% of people walking around maskless and without a care in the world, confident they won’t get sick and even if they do, it won’t be that bad. So yeah, just something to keep in mind before you buy a Lolla wristband this year.
The lingering shadow of COVID aside, let’s move on to more positive things, because if this were any other year all the talk would be about this lineup! It’s definitely an interesting collection of artists, and honestly I’m not 100% sure how I feel about the whole thing just yet. That top line of headliners: Foo Fighters, Post Malone, Tyler the Creator, and Miley Cyrus feels like it brings a little something for everybody. Foo Fighters handle the rock and may well be called a legacy act given their longevity. Post Malone is a crossover superstar, pulling in hip hop and pop fans alike. He had one of the biggest crowds of the entire festival for a late afternoon set in 2018. Tyler, the Creator has been grinding away at the rap game for over a decade now and has been making larger and larger strides to finally reach headliner status. And Miley Cyrus has plenty of classic pop hits but admirably refuses to be boxed in. Her last album put her into a Joan Jett sort of rock mode, and she’s been playing around with some covers too that really showcase her incredible voice. Should be a fun set!
The second line on the poster starts to dig into just how heavy Lollapalooza has started to emphasize rap, with DaBaby, Megan Thee Stallion, and Roddy Ricch taking up half the slots. Marshmello and ILLENIUM are two of your big EDM headliners, and Journey scores one for the “classic rock” set. I could’ve sworn Journey was playing the state fair and local parade circuit not too long ago, but it seems I’m wrong given their second tier headliner status.
I’m not going to go through the entire lineup line by line and talk about every artist because you have eyes and know how to read, so allow me to highlight a few notable names you can find on this thing. Never thought I’d see the day when Limp Bizkit was on a Lollapalooza lineup, let alone on the third line. 16-year-old me would be losing his mind over that. Nice to see Modest Mouse back in action, and keeping my fingers crossed they still break out some of the classics when performing live. Shout out to Chicago rapper Polo G for what’s poised to be his breakout year in 2021. Love to local heroes Whitney and Rookie as well.
Based on past experiences I can tell you that Rico Nasty and JPEGMAFIA both put on pretty wild and insanely fun sets, so those will be something to look forward to. Seriously, JPEGMAFIA gave one of the best festival performances I’ve ever seen a couple of years ago at Pitchfork. Not to be missed! Slowthai is super impressive too, and despite being a British rapper I still wound up trapped in an extremely violent mosh pit when I saw him in 2019. If you can get the crowd moving like that, it’s worth the price of admission. mxmtoon, Noga Erez, and Boy Pablo are all up-and-coming pop artists that will likely command much bigger stages in the future. Cool to see Hinds and Porches show up at this festival, even if they’re on the lower half of the poster. Allow me to give a big thumbs up to Aly & AJ, Goth Babe, and Chiiild as well – all artists worth checking out.
There’s plenty more good and worthwhile artists on this year’s Lollapalooza lineup that I haven’t named, so as always I encourage you to spend a little time familiarizing yourself with these acts. You may just discover something you love, whether you actually attend the festival or not. 4-day passes for Lollapalooza 2021 are on sale now, with an initial GA price of $350. Prices will go up as more tickets are sold, so you may want to buy sooner rather than later. Single-day tickets and day-by-day lineups will likely be revealed in a week or two.
I’d like to wish a warm welcome back to the Pitchfork Music Festival! After last year’s cancellation thanks to the pandemic, they’ve officially announced that a 2021 version of the festival will return a couple of months later than usual, from September 10-12 at Union Park in Chicago. That hopefully gives adequate time for enough people to get vaccinated and new infection numbers to reach a safe level.
Along with the lineup announcement, some initial health and safety guidelines for the festival have been announced. Attendees will be required to wear masks at all times while inside the gates, but masks may be removed when eating and/or drinking. Beyond that, everyone ages 12 and over will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test within 24 hours for each day of the festival. That’s about as strict and uncomfortable as you can get, but hopefully that level of care keeps everyone safe and prevents this from becoming a superspreader event. Of course if the country continues to improve and we’re close to herd immunity by September, some of these restrictions may get loosened.
So let’s talk about the lineup! If you happened to look over the lineup for the cancelled 2020 version of Pitchfork Music Festival, you’ll notice a lot of the same names are back for 2021. Of course it may not initially appear that way given the three headliners have all been changed. Phoebe Bridgers was listed as fourth on the Sunday lineup for 2020, but thanks to the success of her Punisher record has suddenly been elevated to Friday night headliner status. Good for her! Run the Jewels were set to headline on Saturday in 2020, but Riot Fest snatched them up already for 2021 so St. Vincent steps up as a replacement. A strong choice. As for Sunday, The National are gone from the 2020 lineup and Erykah Badu now rules the day in 2021.
Overall, 19 out of 42 artists have made the crossover from 2020 to 2021. Some of those names include: Angel Olsen, Kim Gordon, Big Thief, The Fiery Furnaces(!), Waxahatchee, Danny Brown, Cat Power, Yaeji, Hop Along, Faye Webster, Caroline Polachek, Dehd, Dogleg, Divino Nino, Mariah the Scientist, and oso oso.
The half of the lineup that’s brand new contains some rather exciting artists as well. Animal Collective has headlined Pitchfork twice before (2008 & 2011), and while their status has dropped a little in the last decade, they’re still making a long-awaited return to Union Park. Flying Lotus hasn’t been on a Pitchfork lineup since 2012, and he’s made a whole lot of great music since then that should play really well at the festival. Great to see Thundercat coming back too, along with Kelly Lee Owens, Ty Segall, Jamila Woods, and black midi.
Capitalizing on some hot up-and-coming artists is something Pitchfork does extraordinarily well, which makes names like Ela Minus, Armand Hammer, Bartees Strange, Amaarae, KeiyaA, and Cassandra Jenkins worth showing up early to check out. Other artists making their Pitchfork Music Festival debut include Yaeji, Andy Shauf, Jay Electronica(!), local favorites Horsegirl, The Weather Station, Yves Tumor, and Special Interest.
Honestly, one of the best things about any Pitchfork lineup is the potential for discovery. You’ve got to be an extremely passionate music fan to immediately recognize every name listed, so chances are there’s something unfamiliar in the mix that may end up catching your ear either leading up to or during the actual festival. Have you listened to the latest albums from The Soft Pink Truth, Georgia Anne Muldrow, and Maxo Kream? All worth your time if you haven’t checked them out yet. I could say the same about every artist on the lineup. Or buy a ticket and take in their performances fresh just to see if they’re your cup of tea. If not, there’s almost always another stage to watch or other fun activities to try elsewhere in Union Park. Ideally you’ll walk away from the weekend eager to explore and listen to more new and unfamiliar music.
Get more details and buy 3-day passes for the 2021 Pitchfork Music Festival by visiting the official site. Hope to see the top half of all your beautiful faces in Union Park this September 10-12!
2KBABY – Great White
Ambar Lucid – Get Lost in the Music
MIKE – Crystal Ball
Iceage – High & Hurt
Jodi – Softly
Phife Dawg – French Kiss Deux (ft. Illa J)
Isaiah Rashad – Lay Wit Ya (ft. Duke Deuce)
Saweetie – Fast (Motion)
Trippie Redd – Miss the Rage (ft. Playboi Carti)
Bobby Gillespie & Jehnny Beth – Chase It Down
Dayglow – Balcony
HEALTH – ISN’T EVERYONE (ft. Nine Inch Nails)
Lord Huron – I Lied
The Marias – Hush
Still Woozy – Kenny
Chiiild – Gone
Hiatus Kaiyote – Red Room
Lil Baby – On Me (Remix ft. Megan Thee Stallion)
The Chemical Brothers – The Darkness That You Fear
Ellise – Over Breakfast
TheHxliday – Wit Dat (ft. Polo G)
ARMNHMR & Anki – Sun Comes Up On You (ft. Amidy)
CHVRCHES – He Said She Said
cleopatrick – FAMILY VAN
Chet Faker – Whatever Tomorrow
iann dior – shots in the dark (ft. Trippie Redd)
Lord Huron – Long Lost