Over recent years the musical festival market in the United States has become very saturated. The rise of the super concert and commercialization of the music festival is here and it’s real. This year, 3-Day passes for Lollapalooza sold out in an hour. And keep in mind, Lollapalooza is music festival with around 120,000 attendees; thats a lot of ticket sales. It comes at little surprise that the festival market is booming in the US with festivals like Coachella, Bonoaroo, Outside Lands, Austin City Limits, and Lollapalooza leading the charge. Coachella and Austin City Limits have extended to two weeks and fans are shelling out hundreds of dollars to attend festivals from coast to coast.

Photo: Shea Flynn

This is phenomenon has spread beyond the United States. South America has seen a dramatic increase in festival demand, especially with new content streaming laws in Latin America markets which cater towards event coordinators. Many of the bands, musicians and DJs featured on the line ups of US festivals are from all around the world. In some senses the festival format strongly caters to the globalization in today’s music community. With access to the internet and mp3 technology people have the ability to discover and new music from all corners of the world at the click of a button. Festivals serve as a great platform for emerging artist to have their music heard and previewed on a large scale, especially to concert goers that may not have a chance to see a specific artist in their home town.

Right now, the music festival market is at all time high. If there is a moment when Music Festivals became most popular in the United States that moment is now. Worldwide, it is a billion dollar industry.

Photo Courtesy of Jack Edinger

This year, with all of the festival hype I was especially looking forward to Lollapalooza. How would the festival live up to years in the past? I was fortunate enough to attend Lollapalooza in 2008 and 2009, but hadn’t been back in over 5 years. Needless to say there where many improvements and Lollapalooza has begun to shift towards the premiere music festival in the US.

The size of the festival have grown over the years. With the dramatic rise of electronic dance music the Perry’s stages has changed grown from what used to be a 200-300 person stage to a 40,000+ person stage and becoming an entirely separate festival experience. While there are hundreds of music festivals across the US each year now, little of them provide the musical diversity and family friendly environment that Lollapalooza offers. Lollapalooza offers a broad musical selection spanning rock, dance, hip-hop, metal, folk and blues. In one moment at this year’s festival you could have watched Paul McCartney, run over to Kaskade and then caught the last portion of The Weeknd’s set. And if you have kids, Lollapalooza offers an entire section dedicated to the youngsters in an effort to promote a family friendly environment. Needless to say, very cool.

Photo: Greg Noire

Photo: Greg Noire

Another awesome portion of Lollapalooza that is relatively exclusive to this festival is the after shows. Being that Lolla is based in the heart of downtown Chicago and one of the countries largest music scenes many artists, publications and record labels hosted after shows at dozens of the venues around the town. Rolling Stones hosted an Kygo acoustic set brunch on Saturday, Microsoft hosted a Windows 10 Launch Party with Morgan Paige on Thursday and Billboard hosted a industry event at the Renaissance Hotel Ballroom on Friday with G Easy. While these are just a few examples there were dozens and dozens of events that took place in downtown Chicago as a by-product of the Lollapalooza festival that drew over 100,000 people each day.

Below is recap of bands I was able to catch over my 3 days at the festival.

DAY 1:


James Bay

Courtesy of Jack Edinger

Photo: Jack Edinger

Newcomer James Bay solidified himself as an up and coming star with his blues and soul influenced rock music early Friday afternoon. Very talented, look out John Mayer


St. Paul & the Broken Bones

Photo Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune

Photo: Chicago Tribune

The 7 piece soul band from Birmingham, Alabama rocked the Mainstage early in the afternoon on Friday. The young band is beginning to make a name for themselves as one of the best live bands in America right now.



Lollapalooza 2015

Photo: Max Herman

MS MR front women, Lizzy Plapinger, was one of the most energetic performers from the weekend. Delivering a sweaty, up-beat and heartfelt set on Friday afternoon.


Alabama Shakes


Photo: Zach Spangler

Aside from a 10 minutes delay in which the power to the stage cut out the Alabama Shakes put on a perfect set. These guys are clearly one of the most talented touring bands right now.


Paul McCartney

Photo Courtesy of Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP

Photo: Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP

Paul McCartney rocked the stage on Friday evening for 2 hours playing countless Beatles songs. The set even included a collaboration with The Alabama Shakes front women Brittney Howard, who came on stage to play The Beatles tune ‘Get Back.’




DAY 2:


Toro Y Moi

Photo Courtesy of Chad Kamenshine

Photo: Chad Kamenshine

I was a little disappointed with the Toro Y Moi set. Seen them live before and this was not one of their better sets. Perhaps more of a venue band then a festival band. Did not translate well early in the afternoon at Lollapolooza.


The Tallest Man On Earth

Photo: Alex Reside

Photo: Alex Reside

One of the few folk acts I caught all weekend long. Very relaxing and true to their sound The Tallest Man On Earth rocked the Mainstage early Saturday afternoon.


Tame Impala

Photo: Andy Keilen

Photo: Andy Keilen

One the tighter sounding bands from the weekend was Tame Impala. They lived up to their Psychadelic hype and where on-point through out the entire set.


Brand New

Photo: Zach Spangler

Photo: Zach Spangler

Brand New might be more popular now then they were in their heyday, 10 years ago. They delivered and angstful set at Lollapalooza on Saturday evening. They are still doing very well as a band.




Photo: Rolling Stone

With decades of experience under their belt and thousands of die hard fans in attendance Metallica officially rocked the stage on Saturday evening. There where even a few friendly mosh-pits on the festival grounds.


DAY 3:


Atarah Valentine


Atarah Valentine rocked the BMI stage early in the day. Look out for this guy.



Photo: Ryan Book/MusicTimes.com

Photo: Ryan Book/MusicTimes.com

The rebellious electronic rapper ZEBRA KATZ jumped up and down early Sunday afternoon. Similar sound to Spank Rock.


George Ezra (Rain Delay)

Photo: Amanda Koellner

Photo: Amanda Koellner

Set was postponed due to a 45 minute weather delay in which the festival was forced to evacuate with the news of a tornado warning.



Photo: Billboard

Photo: Billboard

Odesza on the Mainstage had one of the biggest turn outs all weekend. It is clear these guys are on to something big and continue to develop a large fan base.


Albert Hammond Jr.

Photo: Laurie Fanelli

Photo: Laurie Fanelli

One of my favorite sets from the weekend was The Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. who played on the Pepsi stage in support of this new album “Momentary Masters.” Very talented musician.


Lord Huron

Photo: Red Bull TV

Photo: Red Bull TV

The Los Angeles based band took the stage late Sunday afternoon to crowded Sprint Stage.


The Chainsmokers

Photo: Chicago Tribune

Photo: Chicago Tribune

One of the harder working DJ duos around, The Chainsmokers played to a packed out Perry’s Stage. Lots of fire and an excellent set.


Of Monsters and Men

Photo: Zach Spangler

Photo: Zach Spangler

The Icelandic indie folk band played a memorable set that featured set the tone for Sunday Night’s headliner Florence and The Machine.


Florence + the Machine

Photo: Chad Kamenshine

Photo: Chad Kamenshine

Forced to shorten her set from on coming storm off the coast of Lake Michigan Florence + the Machine had the most energy from any performer all weekend.  Florence Welch is something else. 




Photo: Olav Stubberud


Also forced to shorten his set from the weather alert, Kygo played to a packed out Pepsi stage. One of the more hyped artists in the industry right now had a jam packed weekend. Where he played 3 separate after shows in Chicago, join Dillion Francis on Perry’s stage on Friday and even flew to Canada on Saturday for a sport festival performance. Busy dude!