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MUSIC Lollapalooza grows organically in size, diversity
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

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Lollapalooza's annual music festival returned to Grant Park Aug. 3-6, complete with the usual unpredictable weather, scantily clad attendees and musicians competing for attention.

This year a new roller rink was revealed, new stylish flushable portable toilets were presented, and arcade games were available to play. Armbands could be charged up with funds for cashless transactions and people could pre-order beers for the first time to avoid long lines.

Things started off a little rocky on day one with Oasis singer Liam Gallagher unfortunately frustrating fans by mysteriously leaving after three songs. Crooner George Ezra attempted to make it up to the crowd at the same stage when he followed him. After originally only playing a short acoustic set the first time he was at the festival last year because of weather, Ezra juggled flights and wound up taking a puddle jumper to make his 5:30 p.m. time slot. His small catalog of songs hit the spot for many, leaving a few hungry for the new music on the way.

Lorde and Muse were barely into their set lists Aug. 3 on competing stages when buckets of water rained down. Lorde's manager wouldn't leave her out in the rain so she promised, "I will return soon" and then exited the stage while everyone quickly evacuated.

The next day, lesbian Canadian duo Tegan and Sara commented they would love to bring Lorde back out to finish but they don't know how to accomplish that. Blink-182 closed the night by rocking it with hits for energetic fans on the Bud Light Stage.

Day three ( Aug. 5 ) had a wide variety of acts with folk band The Head and the Heart, "Trainwreck" Banks and a reunited Live from the '90s, with no "Lightning Crashes" this day.

Ending the night with a bang, Chance the Rapper's fireworks packed the crowds, proving he deserved to be the headliner. Electronic group The xx didn't stand a chance competing against him on the opposite end of the music festival, but the band held the attention of all who attended.

Sunday ( Aug. 6 ) had began early, with up-and-coming musician Maggie Rogers the talk of the town for "Alaska.'

Charli XCX decorated the Lake Shore Stage with silver and pink platforms. The crowd screamed when she broke into her featured single "I Love It." Glitter was the most popular accessory this year and it rained down during her new single "Boys."

Some political highlights included former First Daughter Malia Obama returning with friends to enjoy the music, Mayor Rahm Emanuel catching UK singer Jacob Banks' performance, and duo Sofi Tukker telling Windy City Times they hate President Trump, inspiring a song about it. Arcade Fire did a little "Dancing Queen' tribute to end the extravaganza.

Many artists spoke backstage to Windy City Times exclusively about their relationship with the LGBT community.

Jonny Pierce, from The Drums, described the relationship with his religious family and how unaccepting they are about him being gay. Out performer Michael Blume said his new single, "I Am Not a Trend ( No Rules )," is about each person's uniqueness.

English writer Declan McKenna composed a song, "Paracetamol," on his new album about a trans teenager's life. Soloist Mondo Cozmo released an album the day he sang at Lollapalooza complete with a video for the single "Shine," which features cameos from everyone under the rainbow. In addition, British belter Bishop Briggs stated she is ready to start playing Pride music festivals.

Lollapalooza artists continue to evolve, with many not wanting to be placed in a box in terms of sexuality.

Cage the Elephant's Matt Shultz wore a purple dress and fishnet stockings. He explained, "There is so much hate in this world [and] so much division; we put each other in these categories, and these categories do not exist."

The massive music festival that takes over downtown Chicago knocks down these invisible walls of division every endeavor a little more. This was creator Perry Farrell's whole idea with Lollapalooza in the first place and his vision continues to grow and evolve thanks to the choices of musical acts and the loyal attendees each year.

Visit to score tickets for 2018.

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