Thursday, April 18, 2019

Lollapalooza Daily Schedules Released and 1-Day Tickets On-Sale

If you're like us, you eagerly await all that is Lollapalooza each summer.  And if you're like us - that is to say, past our prime festival age - you also look forward to picking the one day where you (may be able to) summon the energy to bask in the unpredictable weather of downtown Chicago in August.

All that said, when this year's Lollapalooza acts were released we were genuinely impressed with the talent.  It was a wide range of genres with a variety of acts in their prime (although not everyone - ahem Strokes and Shaq!).  Despite the solid talent, there was an interesting narrative around "festival fatigue" given slow 4-day ticket sales.  Greg Kott from the Tribune weighs in:
Last year’s slower Lollapalooza sales could be pinned on the relatively stale menu of headliners – seven of the eight had played the festival before. But this year Lollapalooza has a fresher look at the top of the bill and shares some top-billed acts with Coachella, including Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, J Balvin and Janelle Monae. Four-day ticket prices ($340) are $5 higher than last year for Lollapalooza, whereas Coachella’s three-day passes cost $429.

Executives with C3 Presents, which promotes Lollapalooza with Live Nation, were not immediately available for comment on the sluggish sales.

If history is any indicator, it is extremely rare for a festival to exist — let alone thrive — for a decade-plus. Lollapalooza (which established its annual Grant Park residency in 2005) and Coachella (originated in 1999) are among the North American exceptions. In recent years, a number of long-running festivals have either shrunk (Vans Warped Tour has gone from a national tour to a handful of dates) or struggled to stay viable amid declining attendance (Bonnaroo in Tennessee).
We tend to agree - the nation wide festival boom has certainly reached its peak and is likely on a decline.

For what it's worth in our opinion, when Lollapalooza changed their format from 3 to 4 days, the dynamic change considerably.  If you can put aside the fact that $340+ (without taxes, food/beverage/housing, etc) is a lot of money, it's hard to simply commit to 4 days of standing in a park and listening to music - even for a energetic youngsters.

Last year we only went on Sunday and the general feel of the festival by that point was exhaustion mixed with a tinge of  can we go home yet?  Maybe last year was an anomaly...but probably not.

Ok - enough of us waxing on about the existential status of music festivals and Lollapalooza.  While each day of Lolla likely appeals to different people, if we had to rank our days we would say:
  1. Friday (8/2) - Best Day all around
  2. Sunday (8/4) - It's Ari's festival and day from what we've heard...
  3. Saturday (8/3) - despite headliners, undercard is fun
  4. Thursday (8/1) - Ouch, no go...

Do you agree?  The top of the bill is stacked on Friday with the wide-ranging sounds of Tame Impala, the genre bending Janelle Monae and the soul (and talent) of Childish Gambino:
The good news for customers is that with the lack of demand, you can actually score tickets to the day you want to go - a crazy idea, right!  As of last night, none of the days are sold-out (unlike the previous years where most of the "popular" days sold-out immediately).  

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