WGRE COLUMN: Festival lineups - Mid-tier matters most


Senior Jim Easterhouse

After months of speculative hoopla on online discussion forms, several music festivals have delighted fans by featuring global favorites as their headlining artists. Listed on top of their lineups, these acts are imperative for festivals to gain instant appeal and familiarity with potential attendees.

Mammoth festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella followed suit months ago by announcing that Top 40 mainstays like Drake and Mumford & Sons were headlining their lineups. Many festivals have foreseeably done so since, such as Lollapalooza with Sam Smith and the timeless Paul McCartney.

Amidst all the hype, many fans have rushed to conclusions about the festival strictly due to these headliners, sporting whether they’re obsessed with or disdain it entirely. Often, this doesn’t follow a thorough look at the lineup, particularly the mid-tier. While being excited about headliners is completely understandable (and encouraged), they realistically only make up a sliver of the festival schedules. Before headliners perform and top off each night, countless artists listed nearly a dozen lines lower on each lineup make up the rest of each day. And due to mass crowds, twelve-hour spans and inescapable dehydration, these days become marathons.

Since overpriced corn dogs and fraternity-basement EDM only go so far, it often becomes difficult for festivalgoers to maintain their excitement throughout the day before headliner performances. And with a wealth of artists and bands performing the remainder of the day, festivalgoers have the opportunity to define their experience with additional highlights.

This is enhanced by a closer look at Lollapalooza’s lineup. Although specific time slots have not yet been determined, artists have been categorized by which day they’re playing. Due to their prominence and distinct sounds, Paul McCartney, The Weeknd and Kaskade are likely to headline Friday and command massive, but distinct, crowds.

The rest of Friday, then, consists of a surplus of impressive artists ranging from Parisian producer DJ Snake to guitarist Gary Clark Jr. Hovering just above or a few lines lower are various WGRE artists who have been rightfully included due to their unique sound and the way they deliver it live.

Situated between two transparent screens, experimental producer Flying Lotus combines his avant-garde sound with improvisational 3-D visual projections. Canadian trio BADBADNOTGOOD serve up instrumental jams guided by keys, bass guitar and a dynamic drummer. Having previously teamed up with Tyler, The Creator, who is slated to play Saturday, a surprise collaboration wouldn’t be shocking.

L.A. singer-songwriter BØRNS is expected to elate fans with jovial rock, Glass Animals is sure to decelerate the crowd into an ambient daze. Whether at Lollapalooza or not, these WGRE artists and similar mid-tier acts allow fans to enhance the majority of their festival experience through refreshing lenses. Start your exploration live or online at wgre.org.