Lolla Back Y'all

Lollapalooza returns to Grant Park for the seventh year

Saturday, Aug 6, 2011  |  Updated 10:29 AM CDT
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Lollapalooza founder discusses who he'll be rockin' out to at Lollapalooza and why he expanded the dance area.

Lollapalooza founder discusses who he'll be rockin' out to at Lollapalooza and why he expanded the dance area.

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Lollapalooza is back in town, Chicago.

Gates opened at 11:30 a.m. Friday and tunes from 130-plus acts including headliners Eminem, Foo Fighters and Coldplay fill Grant Park through Sunday.

Concertgoers should expect a park brimming with fans, fashion, locally picked eats, giveaways and so much music it's sometimes hard to choose which stage to stake out. (Get the full lineup here.) And that's not to mention all the after parties.

Visit our Lollapalooza Survival Guide

While the music festival founded by Jane's Addiction singer Perry Farrell celebrates its 20th anniversary (and seventh year in Grant Park), the Chicago Park District is extolling the fest's virtues thanks to $8.2 million raised by Lolla for city parks since 2005.

Lollapalooza scored $17.3 million in 2010 gross sales, Crain's Chicago Business points out, behind only Coachella Music and Arts Festival in cash intake. But Lolla topped all other U.S. festivals in attendance and expects to do the same this year.

The thriving, sold-out festival could bring more than 240,000 people to Chicago this weekend and top last year's roughly $120 million in local spending.

That's saying something for a city struggling to maintain Taste of Chicago attendance and clinging to summer fun after passing on July 4 fireworks and cutting several free festivals to save money.

But Farrell says there won't be anything short of fun this weekend.

Check back with NBCChicago.com and NBC 5 for updated photos, band sightings and news from the fest. If Lady Gaga can crowd-surf and make surprise stage cameos in 2010, just imagine what Cee Lo Green and Dave Grohl might do this year.

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