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When the music festival Lollapalooza debuted in 1991, it wasn’t quite yet a music festival. Founder Perry Farrell initially intended for Lollapalooza to serve as a farewell tour for his popular grunge band, Jane’s Addiction. Fast forward nearly 30 years later, and Lollapalooza is among the most attended music festivals in the U.S.
This year’s Lollapalooza kicks off today, running through this Sunday. For a quick guide to the very best sets happening at Lollapalooza — and there are a lot of artists playing, as ever, so keeping track of every set can be super overwhelming — check the below guide to the six best acts to see at Lollapalooza, ordered by set date and time.
1. King Princess (August 1st, 7:45 pm)
Rapidly rising artist King Princess’ name sheds massive insight into her music: Queer desire and romance lie at the center of the many hits she’s already released without any mention of a debut album. Two weeks ago, though, King Princess finally announced that album, Cheap Queen, with the release of a new single, the sultry crooner “Prophet.” Among her biggest fans is Mark Ronson, whose label Zelig Records will release Cheap Queen this fall.
2. The Strokes (August 1st, 8:45 pm)
The Strokes are modern rock legends. With every album that they’ve released this decade, the band has sold countless tickets to headlining shows at the biggest arenas in the U.S., including their hometown’s Madison Square Garden. The band’s headlining set tonight is certain to include hits from its two instant-classic albums Is This It (2001) and Room on Fire (2003) and later singles from their less-frequent 2010s output.
3. Tierra Whack (August 2nd, 4:00 pm)
Tierra Whack would be the modern master of the audiovisual experience if not for Beyoncé. Whack became famous almost overnight for her 2018 debut album Whack World, which comprised 15 one-minute-long songs, each set to a minute-long video — the exact maximum length that Instagram permits for its videos. Whack’s clever use of media and visuals isn’t lost on stage, and the songs she’s released so far this year have proven Whack World was no fluke.
4. Janelle Monáe (August 2nd, 6:45 pm)
Janelle Monáe seems to have learned a ton from her first major acting role, in the critically-acclaimed 2016 film Moonlight. That movie explored the societal obstacles that young queer people of color face, and Monáe, long seen as a beacon for queer people of color despite never addressing her sexuality, made queerness the explicit focus of her 2018 visual album Dirty Computer. That album was among 2018’s most critically acclaimed, and Monáe will bring its spectacle to the stage tomorrow evening.
5. Yaeji (August 3rd, 6:30 pm)
Yaeji has yet to release an album, but her fanbase is far larger than that of some electronic artists and DJs with several albums under their belt. Her bilingual lyrics — sung in English and Korean — combine with her nasal speak-singing and bassy, minimal techno grooves to result in some of the catchiest electronic music of recent years. Yaeji has been known to play two different renditions of her 2017 single “raingurl” during many of her sets.
6. Mitski (August 4th, 7:45 pm)
Mitski’s 2018 album Be the Cowboy was mentioned on more 2018 year-end best albums lists than all but two other releases that year (one of which was Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer). Her Lollapalooza set will be among the final shows she plays in support of Be the Cowboy, as she’s announced an indefinite touring hiatus beginning in mid-September — she’s been touring non-stop since she first gained attention with 2014’s Bury Me at Make Out Creek. Catch her before she goes away for a long time!
What artists are you most excited to see at Lollapalooza? Sound off in the comments!