Lollapalooza 2012: Four Reasons EDM Is the New Summer Music Festival Staple

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Photo by Erik Hess
See also "Fashion Freakouts at Lollapalooza 2012" -- plus "Day One: M83, Black Sabbath, Die Antwoord, Afghan Wigs, TEED," "Day Two: Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, Twin Shadow, and Others," and "Day Three: Jack White, Sigur Ros, Florence + The Machine, and Others."

With every year that passes, it feels like electronic dance music gains a bigger foothold in the summer festival circuit, and the climb in popularity was especially apparent at Lollapalooza 2012.

Music that used to be confined to clubs and illicit warehouse parties has been adopted wholeheartedly by a new generation with as many ties to house and dubstep as it does to rock and rap. The saturation of dance beats in television, radio, and advertising of all sorts has worked its eventual magic, allowing DJs and producers to conquer the world without ever needing to pick up a guitar.

From Avicii to Justice to Bassnectar, the headliners at the Midwest's biggest music festival are proving that rave is now a huge component of mainstream teen culture.

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Photo by Erik Hess

4. Perry Farrell's Bacchanalian Instincts
At some point, you've got to hand it to Perry Farrell: He saw this coming. The Jane's Addiction frontman and Lollapalooza mastermind knew a shift was occuring when Daft Punk headlined the Chicago festival in 2007, and every Lolla iteration since has seen the lineup pay increasing attention to EDM of all shapes and sizes. The dance area (dubbed "Perry's") has seen an increase in traffic every year, to the point where the festival grounds had to be expanded to account for all the party people lining up to dance all day.

3. EDM Has Seeped Into Popular Music
If the current trend continues, we're going to see even more young rock bands picking up synthesizers and drum machines just to keep up with their DJ peers. From Black Eyed Peas to Korn to Owl City, there's surging BPM and wobbling everywhere. Suddenly, French house DJ-producer David Guetta is a mainstream pop star himself. Meanwhile, those same DJs are finding new ways to lure kids with open ears away from traditional rock 'n' roll. Next year, expect to see even more electronic emphasis on all stages at the festival as the music market continues to be saturated with drums and bass.

Rolling Stone cover star Deadmau5 and his giant foam helmet played a big role last year, and he was succeeded in 2012 by Avicii and Justice taking top billing. To give an indication of how popular these acts are, consider that young Swedish upstart Avicii played directly against rock icons Red Hot Chili Peppers on Saturday, with French doom-house duo Justice closing out the festival on the north end of the park while Jack White (of White Stripes/Raconteurs/Dead Weather fame) held the southern end down.


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2 comments
Eduardo Guerra
Eduardo Guerra

Avicii got crushed by RHCP. Let's not go overboard.

Paige Slomin
Paige Slomin

coulda put someone else instead of avicii since you mentioned justice

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