Ultimately, the true beauty of a festival the size and nature of Lollapalooza is the union of musical bigwigs and up-and-coming artists. So while you're trudging between beer tents and food lines, don't forget to stop by some of the festival's smaller stages. You never know, those artists could be next year's headliners.
Chairlift: Originally formed in Boulder, CO, this now Brooklyn-based trio was originally formed to create music for haunted houses. When the band members discovered that they had more to offer than spooky tunes, the band began crafting its avant-pop sound and booking NYC gigs with the likes of then fellow up-and-comers MGMT.
Joe Pug: This folk singer may be new on the scene, but he tops the local must-see list. At a mere 24 years old, Pug's lyrics convey wisdom well beyond his years, as he fashions lyrics that tug at your heart strings with forceful conviction. With palpable influences like Bob Dylan and John Prine, Pug's writing suggests both heartache and elation, nostalgia and prospect. His lyrics speak to the masses, as all good Folk music should. Pug's distinctive voice, poetic lyrics and loyal harmonica create the perfect Folk trifecta.
Blind Pilot: This Portland duo offers well-crafted, folksy Americana tunes with lulling melodies. Their debut album, 2008's Rounds and a Sound, led to a world tour supporting the likes of vets such as the Counting Crows and Decemberists. Blind Pilot proves that a band can craft beautiful music despite having only two members.
Hey Champ: These local boys (Rockford, IL) will introduce their electronic-pop sound at this year's festival. The trio lucked out last year when Lupe Fiasco asked them to join him on his national tour. Catchy electro-rock songs like "Cold Dust Girl" are sure to get you moving.
Santigold: This Wesleyan-educated Philadelphian songwriter has compiled an impressive musical resume as of late. Not only has she collaborated with N.E.R.D., The Strokes, and Kanye West, earned co-writing credits for Ashlee Simpson and served as tour support for M.I.A., Bjork, Jay-Z, and Coldplay, but the singer has also created a well-respected musical persona. Most often compared to M.I.A. or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Santigold delivers an energetic live performances, backed by catchy pop beats.
For the full lineup and festival details, visit www.lollapalooza.com.
Neph is eagerly customizing her Lollapalooza schedule, while brainstorming her next music article for CheekyChicago.com.