Lollapalooza comes around once a year to showcase some of the best music there is to offer, and this year’s rendition of the annual festival is just around the corner. Taking place August 2-5 at Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois, the city will be engulfed in the sounds of rock, electronic, pop, hip-hop, and so much more. This year sees the lineup being led by the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, Jack White, Khalid, Camila Cabello, Post Malone, Tyler, the Creator, Vampire Weekend, Odesza, and frankly far too many others to list. It is a veritable treasure trove of amazing music.
However, with nearly 200 acts slated to play Lollapalooza this year, you want to be sure you are not missing out on a single hidden gem. Well, no need to spend the coming weeks painstakingly combing the fine print for this year’s not-to-miss acts, as we have already taken care of all that for you. These are 15 acts you have to catch at Lollapalooza 2018, as well as a helpful playlist to get your pregame started right.
When & Where: Friday, 12:50pm at the American Eagle stage
The term bedroom pop has begun to feel ever so slightly ironic, as more and more of these acts are playing shows leagues beyond the four walls where they craft their hazy, ethereal music. Clairo is the latest in a line of bedroom pop artists to go viral. Following the release of her breakout single “Pretty Girl,” which at the time of writing currently has over 35-million plays across streaming platforms, Clairo has transitioned into a serious artist deserving of both critical and commercial attention. Her debut EP, diary 001, is as a dazzling demonstration of pop that runs the full gamut from distorted lo-fi pop-rap hybrids to meticulously-crafted pop earworms. Clairo is an artist who has the promise of becoming the world’s first bedroom pop superstar.
When & Where: Saturday, 1:00pm at the Bud Light stage
“If you’re not representing something, you’re not an artist-you’re a singer. And I don’t wanna be a fucking singer,“ proclaims YUNGBLUD. Dominic Harrison, more popularly known by YUNGBLUD, is an artist in the truest sense of the word. The English artist makes socio-politically-fueled alternative rock that feels vital and necessary. His debut album, 21st Century Liability, is a shining testament to this notion. Touching upon themes of mental health, gun violence, rape culture, and more, it is an electrifying and refreshing statement of an artist with something to say. And YUNGBLUD manages to do it all in such a way that it can sonically stand on its own impressive musical merits.
When & Where: Saturday, 12:45pm at the Grant Park stage
Charlotte Cardin’s fusion of jazz, electronica, and R&B is pure ecstasy. There’s a timelessness to it all and an intangible hidden element behind it that lures you further and further in. The Montreal-born singer-songwriter originally found her start as a model, but for her, it was a means to achieve a dream of one day becoming a musician. Now, the rising artist is standing at the precipice of her dream, having toured with Nick Murphy and releasing a noteworthy debut EP, 2017’s Main Girl. Lollapalooza will undoubtedly be another step forward and those lucky enough to catch this performance will be graced with Cardin’s velvety, alluring vocals that seem to emanate from a jazz club out of place in time.
When & Where: Thursday, 5:45pm at the Tito’s Handmade Vodka stage
If there is someone who is deserving of the name wunderkind, it’s Billie Eilish. The Los Angeles-based musician was raised in a household of actors and musicians alongside her brother Finneas O’Connell. Eilish released her breakout hit, “ocean eyes,” which now sits at over 86 million plays on Spotify alone, at the tender age of fourteen. Despite her young age, Eilish’s music resounds with both the polish and thematic depth of an artist decades her senior. Her brand of leftfield electropop is infectious and innovative, as is expertly demonstrated in her debut EP don’t smile at me. Truly an artist talented beyond her years, it would be no understatement to say that there is no limit to what Eilish will accomplish in the years to come.
When & Where: Sunday, 1:50pm at the American Eagle stage
Rex Orange County’s brand of easygoing pop music is nothing short of an absolute delight. It’s the sort of music that seems like it was designed to serve as the backing soundtrack for a joyous sun-soaked road trip. Born Alex O’Connor, the English musician originally found major breakthrough success with two features on Tyler, the Creator’s Flower Boy and the radio hit “Loving Is Easy.” Effortlessly blending together elements of jazz, hip-hop, soul, and bedroom electronica, it’s a sound that feels wholly unique yet strangely familiar. Placed amongst the Chicago skyline, Rex Orange County’s set is destined to bring a smile ear to ear and an unshakable groove to the crowd below.
When & Where: Friday, 2:10pm at the BMI stage
The emergence and fusion of late-stage emo and hip-hop is arguably one of the greatest things to happen to the respective genres. Vermont’s nothing,nowhere. is one of the artists on the cutting edge of this next wave in music. The rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer makes emotively downtrodden hip-hop that is not afraid to hold its still-beating heart on its sleeve. Beyond being signed to Fueled By Ramen and being Pete Wentz’ protégé, the best way to describe nothing,nowhere. is by his succinct yet profound bio, “it is what it is.” Often opting to remain directly out of the limelight, he’s a musician who lets his music speak for itself, and it speaks volumes.
When & Where: Sunday, 12:50pm at the American Eagle stage
Truth be told, Sasha Sloan’s breakout hit “Normal” has been on repeat for quite some time now. It beautifully encapsulates everything Sloan is as an artist–unassuming yet captivating, a wholly relatable sonic experience, and just downright infectious. Originally breaking into the industry writing songs for artists such as Camila Cabello and Dua Lipa, Sloan has since stepped into the spotlight with her debut EP, sad girl. A six-track exploration on themes of love, heartbreak, and angst, it is a moving and vulnerable look into Sloan as an artist. Sonically, it’s left-of-center pop at its best, which is sure to translate impeccably to her live performances, with many sing-a-long moments sure to be had.
When & Where: Friday, 5:40pm at the BMI stage
Buddy, formally known as Simmie Sims, is the Compton rapper ready to usher in a new generation of hip-hop fans. Having honed his skills since the young age of 11 through performances at a myriad of industry showcases and a brief stint writing for a rap group, Buddy arrives as a well-versed artist enmeshed in Los Angele’s rap scene. You don’t have to take our word for it though, with Pharrell Williams mentoring, producing, and signing the young emcee. Williams is only one of the numerous impressive endorsements Buddy has under his belt thus far, having collaborated with the likes of Khalid, Nipsey Hussle, Ty Dolla $ign, Wiz Khalifa, and Kendrick Lamar. Buddy is poised to be the future of rap.
When & Where: Thursday, 1:15pm at the Bud Light stage
Cuco is the Chicano, bedroom pop heartthrob of a new generation. The 19-year-old artist makes hazy bedroom pop that has gone on to strike a chord amongst both the industry’s biggest tastemakers and adoring fans alike. Omar Banos, the multi-instrumentalist, producer, and singer behind Cuco has since grown the project out of his bedroom walls to a friend and family affair. A live Cuco show more closely resembles a music collective gathering than it does a bedroom pop performance, with Cuco being joined by a full band and breaking out to rap-heavy songs at the drop of a hat. Simply put, a Cuco show seamlessly shifts between a full-out party and an enchanting dream. It’s an experience that is not to be missed.
When & Where: Saturday, 1:50 at the American Eagle stage
Emerging from the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia Amy Shark is a notable songwriting talent. Finding initial success with her viral hit “Adore,” the world was introduced to a singer-songwriter whose voice was as anthemic as it was deeply emotive. Shark expounded further on that sentiment with the recent release of her debut album Love Monster. A sprawling 14 tracks of pop-leaning songwriting perfection, it is brimming with power ballads that are begging to be shouted into the heavens. Shark’s intrinsic ability for channeling forlorn love into deeply moving numbers is something to be applauded. It’s something we can say we have been lucky enough to witness live and are elated to witness yet again in Grant Park.
When & Where: Friday, 2:50pm at the American Eagle stage
It is a kneejerk reaction to constrain Two Feet’s artistry to the world of electronic music, but it’s deeper than that. At its core, the New York-based musician draws upon a wellspring of jazz and blues influence to craft something new yet recognizable. His breakthrough came in the form of “Go Fuck Yourself,” an electro-heavy, jazz-infused track with an inescapable guitar riff. Since then, Two Feet has gone to release two transfixing genre-meshing Eps, 2016’s First Steps and 2017’s Momentum. The way in which he interweaves the worlds of electronic, jazz, and blues into a cohesive and dark experience with such seeming ease have earned him much-deserved comparisons to Chet Faker and Darkside.
When & Where: Friday. 1:45 at the Lake Shore stage
Lewis Capaldi could sing of anything, and it would never fail to tug at your heartstrings. This is a testament to the intrinsic power of Capaldi’s voice. The Scottish singer-songwriter first burst onto the scene with the standout single, “Bruises.” To this day, it remains a moving piano ballad that carries the same amount of emotional weight as the very first moment we heard it. It’s because of the way Capaldi’s voice stays with you long after the culmination of any of his tracks. More than just a simple notion of Capaldi feeling like he is singing directly at you, but rather that it feels as if he is speaking to something universal hidden inside all of us.
When & Where: Thursday, 2:10pm at the BMI stage
Wes Period is the embodiment of sun-drenched Los Angeles rap. The rising Los Angeles pop-rap star spits with a lyrical flow that is the sonic personification of his sunny surroundings. It’s a vastly unique style that translates to an absolute all-out party experience. Trust us, we threw a pool party with Period himself and we were fighting between jumping into the mosh pit or the pool throughout his set. Or let Period’s long-awaited debut album, Pretty Words speak for itself. It’s a wonderful assortment of rap-pop hybrids that please one after another and are sure to go off at this year’s Lollapalooza.
When & Where: Sunday, 5:40pm at the BMI stage
The Wrecks is a tried-and-true rock band. From sneaking into a recording studio to record their debut We Are the Wrecks EP to creating joyous, high-energy alternative music, The Wrecks is impossible to ignore. Since their inception, The Wrecks has toured with Nothing But Thieves, New Politics, The Main, All Time Low, and sold out their debut headlining tour. More recently, The Wrecks released their sophomore EP, Panic Vertigo (which hopefully didn’t require them sneaking into a recording studio to finish this time around). The follow-up EP heightened the guitar-driven, anthemic rock approach of its predecessor for another series of songs that are perfect for the ensuing mosh pit that is bound to erupt during their set.
When & Where: Sunday, 4:30pm at the BMI stage
If there is a band that is deserving of being championed as hometown heroes, it’s The Aces. Forming in Provo, Utah, the all-female quartet found their start playing school assemblies and teen events around town, and eventually found themselves shortlisted by Paste Magazine as one of the “10 Best Utah Bands You Should Know.” Now, they’re definitely one of the 15 acts you need to catch at Lollapalooza this year. Coming hot off the heels of their debut album, When My Heart Felt Volcanic, the quartet will have a wellspring of new, shimmering material to pull from. Prepare to fall in love with The Aces and their impeccable indie pop perfection.