Lollapalooza's broad appeal leads to biggest audience yet

Mon Aug 5, 2013 2:10am EDT
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By Michael Hirtzer

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Lollapalooza, the three-day music festival in Chicago's historic Grant Park, was bigger than ever this year with a lineup that honored its alternative rock roots and broadened its appeal to fans of folk, dance, rap and even country music.

A record 300,000 people took in nearly 150 bands playing on eight stages set up across the mile-long park lawn just across the street from the shores of Lake Michigan.

The varieties of music were as disparate as the concert attendees. Teens in brightly-colored tank tops bobbed to the bass music of Dillon Francis in the dance arena on Friday while goths in black swayed to Sunday's closing set by alternative veterans the Cure.

Vampire Weekend supplied the literary pop, singing about the Oxford comma, while country-rocker Eric Church sang about drinking Jack Daniels and getting stoned.

The chart-topping pop folk group Mumford and Sons drew some of the largest crowds on Saturday who heard their banjo-and-acoustic guitar rave-ups "I Will Wait" and "The Cave," after another folk group on the rise, the Lumineers, warmed up the crowd from a stage across the park's lawn.

The sold-out annual summer event, which last year pumped $120 million into the local economy and booked many downtown hotels to capacity this year, is Chicago's largest concert.

Nine Inch Nails, the veteran alternative band fronted by Trent Reznor, played the first Lollapalooza in 1991 and closed Friday night with their first U.S. gig in four years.

A large portion of the crowd was not even born when Reznor burst onto the scene with his aggressive industrial rock, breaking through with the song "Head Like a Hole," which they performed toward the end of their set.   Continued...

Mumford & Sons, (from L) Ben Lovett , Marcus Mumford, Winston Marshall and Ted Dwane perform on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury music festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset, June 30, 2013. REUTERS/Olivia Harris