Dream Lolla Lineup

It’s that time of year again. The temperatures are beginning to rise, the days are getting longer, the snow is melting, the birds are once again waking me up with their (for now) pleasant chirping, and summer music festivals are announcing their lineups.

First Coachella released a stellar lineup that counts Phoenix, Blur, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Lou Reed, Sigur Rós, Vampire Weekend, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs among its headliners. (And Red Hot Chili Peppers continue their inexplicable festival domination.)

Then this week Bonnaroo topped it with an even more impressive list of music and comedy. I wasn’t totally into the Weird Al-hosted hour-long live-stream lineup reveal, but the performers speak for themselves: Mumford & Sons, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Wilco, The National, David Byrne & St. Vincent, Animal Collective, Of Monsters and Men, and so many more.

Pitchfork, which is a smaller three-day affair that happens in Chicago in July, already announced their headliners, which include Belle & Sebastian, Bjork, and R. Kelly, who is also performing at Bonnaroo and I don’t really understand why though I would love to hear a live performance of “Ignition (Remix)” and I would LOVE to see a crowd full of people sing along with him to “I Believe I Can Fly.”

This leaves only one, the one that really matters to me because it’s the only one I can realistically attend: Lollapalooza.

It’s happening the first weekend in August in Grant Park, and I fully intend to be there, barring a lineup disaster of 2012-sized magnitude.

I’m trying to set my expectations realistically, but I do enjoy this dreaming time. Right now Lolla still has the potential to be a perfect festival, a coming together of all my favorite musicians, the ones I have never had the opportunity to see and the ones I’m dying to see again. A great festival mixes the legends with the up-and-comers, the rocking with the introspective. Usually artists incorporate festivals into their regular touring schedules, so bands supporting new albums are much more likely to show up, but this isn’t always the case. Using these criteria, I am enjoying dreaming up my dream Lollapalooza lineup while I still can.

Phoenix – This is my number one request, and one I both hope and believe will happen. They are releasing a new album in April and have announced dates for their North American tour but are not coming anywhere near Chicago. And they also happen to have a two week gap on either side of Lolla weekend in their touring schedule. It’s happening. I WILL be there.

Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z – One or the other would be great, but a combo would be out of this world. If I had to choose I’d go with JT, but if Jay-Z wants to bring along Kanye for a Watch the Throne II show I wouldn’t complain. Jay-Z is actually listed as a headliner on the “leaked” Lolla list, but a similar list surfaced last year and ended up being mostly bogus.

David Bowie – I haven’t seen him attached to any other festivals this year but he does have a new album coming out so a girl can dream, right? Ziggy Stardust, I’ve been waiting my whole life to see you. Please come to me.

Mumford & Sons – I would almost be surprised if they don’t come to Lolla. They aren’t doing any stopovers in the Chicago area and they have a HUGE fanbase here. Although these days they have a huge fanbase everywhere. They are also on the “leak list” and would be such a huge draw, and a great contrast to almost any other headliner Lolla might pull. As meh as I felt about Babel, their live shows have been some of the most fun I have ever had.

Sufjan Stevens – I couldn’t make a list like this without including Sufjy, but I know there is a negative chance of this actually happening. Girl can dream.

The Avett Brothers – They’re playing a few other minor festivals and would be a good folky alternative to Mumford. They are near the top of my “want to see live” list so I’d happily take them in Mumford’s place.

Robyn – I wanna go to at least one straight up dance party. I can’t imagine anyone more capable of delivering that than Robyn.

Of Monsters and Men – I mean how fun would this be? I sold a ticket to see them at Park West last spring and I’ve been kicking myself ever since.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – They are more than just “Thrift Shop,” I promise! I have been digging their album The Heist

Alabama Shakes – hey were one of the groups that got their set cut short by the funky weather last year, so they deserve a second chance! And I have missed multiple chances to see them, and I intend to make that right this summer.

The Civil Wars – I know, they broke up. And apparently they are barely speaking to each other as they make the awards show rounds. But I will never give up hope that the world will once again hear the sweet sweet strains of Joy Williams’ voice mixing with John Paul White’s gorgeous growl.

HAIM – They are playing Bonnaroo, and have a new album coming out this spring/summer. And what festival doesn’t want to incorporate more girl power into its lineup?

More names I would love to see:

Dirty Projectors

Neko Case

Icona Pop


Purity Ring

The Tallest Man on Earth

JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound

And now, we wait!


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