CHICAGO (Reuters) - More than 250,000 music fans will gather on the shores of Lake Michigan this weekend for an expanded three-day Lollapalooza music festival, which hopes to buck a dismal summer concert season of cuts and cancellations.
The iconic music carnival, born as a traveling road show nearly 20 years ago and reborn in 2005 as a multi-day destination festival, boasts a bill this year of nearly 200 musical acts ranging from glam diva Lady Gaga to reggae legend Jimmy Cliff and punk band Green Day.
Lollapalooza’s daily capacity has been expanded to 90,000 people per day, up from last year’s sold-out festival which saw 75,000 fans pass through the gates on each of the show’s three days.
Ticket sales for the biggest concert tours in North America fell 17 percent during the first six months of 2010 from the year-ago period, with artists like the Jonas Brothers and the “American Idol” Top 10 cutting dates.
But Lollapalooza organizers said ticket sales were “tracking with” last year’s festival, suggesting that crowds may yet reach capacity in the expanded 2010 edition.
Festival founder and Jane’s Addiction frontman, Perry Farrell, last year called Lollapalooza “recession-proof,” and has often touted the three-day admission starting price of $190 as a dollar a band.
Flanked by Chicago’s picturesque skyline, Lady Gaga will headline the first night of the festival on Friday with a show whose production costs are reported to be running into six-figures.
New York garage rock quintet The Strokes will play opposite the pop queen on the festival’s north stage following openers The Black Keys and Jimmy Cliff.
Day two acts feature English indie rockers The xx, the Gypsy punk stylings of Gogol Bordello as well as headliners Green Day and French alternative rockers Phoenix.
Sunday’s diverse palate includes Japanese glam rock superstars X Japan, hip hop veterans Cypress Hill, and electro-rock act MGMT.
Reunited grunge rockers Soundgarden will close the festival on Sunday opposite Canadian alternative troubadours Arcade Fire.
The festival’s boundaries have also been expanded from about 90 acres last year to 115 this year, including a far-larger locale for the popular DJ arena, where Farrell will grace the stage on Saturday.
Reporting by Karl Plume; Editing by Jill Serjeant