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by Taylor Gilliam


Two of the nation’s most-anticipated music festivals, Sasquatch! and Lollapalooza, have had big weeks.

The Pacific Northwest bash, despite its attempt to expand into a two-weekend celebration like its big bad cousin, Coachella, found itself without support for the second weekend, which was to have taken place over the Fourth of July.  Live music, hippies, and fireworks all against the backdrop of the beautiful Columbia Gorge—I’d like to know who exactly didn’t support it, tradition be damned.  (I also may or may not be incredibly bitter about the circumstance because I was a second-weekend ticket holder.  Very, incredibly bitter.)

The Chicago festival, however, fared much better.  Early bird three-day passes sold out in a matter of hours, and its lineup was officially released Wednesday.  Headliners include Eminem, Outkast, Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, and Skrillex. With this odd little mashup of genres, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to the trends in the coming year; festivals tend to be good predictors.

Let’s take a look at the recent happenings of these artists:

  • Eminem released The Marshall Mathers LP 2 back in November, and with his on point samples and collaborations (as well as a set that’s bound to include classics from previous albums,) he’s sure to attract both new and longtime fans to the stage.
  • Outkast’s return set the rumor mill a-turnin’ last year, and their official reunion has given the entire music world hope.  We haven’t seen this kind of enthusiasm for quality music since the 90s, and we also haven’t seen this much hip-hop in festival lineups.  Perhaps established artists like Eminem and Outkast are being put on display to introduce newer or lesser-known rappers to the popular scene.
  • Kings of Leon is currently on tour for their latest album, Mechanical Bull, and though I never took them for visual performers, their sets really took us to “Rock City” with edgy video supplements and old-school neon signs that look straight out of Austin.  I maintain the newest addition to their discography isn’t quite on par with Come Around Sundown, but it was a solid album that proves rock is here to stay.
  • Arctic Monkeys are KILLING IT, this past year finally seeing a breakout from these adorable Brits.  The new winners of Best British Band and Best British Album for their latest release, AM, at the Brit Awards (yes, they won over One Direction; there’s some hope left for humanity,) the band also made it to our side of the pond for a tour that included a stop at Madison Square Garden.  As they say in the industry, you know you’ve made it when you headline The Garden.
  • Skrillex finally debuted a full album, Recess, this month.  Love him or hate him, he has been a huge contribution to the electronic dance music world, and a headlining spot at a festival like Lolla proves the popularity of EDM.

It’s hard to say what genre will dominate the charts this coming year after looking at Lollapalooza’s and other festivals’ lineups.

As long as we’ve left the middle school punk pop phase of circa 2005, any is fine with me.