Mar 24, 2023 - Things to Do

Get to know the Chicago bands playing Lollapalooza 2023

Photo of people enjoying an outdoor festival

Last year's Lollapalooza in Grant Park. Photo: Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Pitchfork released its lineup this week, and just four local acts will take the festival's stages in Union Park this July.

  • A day later, Lollapalooza announced its lineup, and there are no prominent Chicago musicians headlining the early August fest.

Why it matters: Both summer festivals boost the economy and bring music lovers to Chicago from around the globe.

  • Yes, but: Because the city is giving up its parks and providing services, including police, for these events, it would be nice to see our hometown musicians well represented.

State of play: Even though there are no headliners, a handful of local bands will get their shot on smaller stages.

  • These Chicago acts are scheduled to play Lollapalooza this summer:
Photo of a guitar player talking into a microphone
Emily Kempf of Dehd performs in London March 3. Photo: Lorne Thomson/Redferns via Getty Images

The indie-rock trio started in 2015, earning time on the Lollapalooza stage. They have become one of Chicago's best exports, playing Pitchfork last year.

  • When they're back from tour, you can find them playing Metro. I remember interviewing them in 2019 in the WGN studios. They played live, too.

Dive in: "Window."

Kidd Kenn

Chicago's only hip-hop selection, Kidd Kenn started in 2018 remixing drill music from Chicago artists, but he's nothing like the stars of that genre.

  • Kenn is an openly gay rapper who's heavily inspired by Nicki Minaj. He told the Reader, "Nicki is Barbie, and because I'm a boy, I decided I would be Ken."
  • His latest tracks won't leave our head. Definite must-see at Lolla. Or check him out in Chicago, although he may have outgrown local clubs like Reggie's.

Dive in: "Body."

J. Worra
J. Worra performs onstage during the 2019 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival at Golden Gate Park on August 10, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic

The underground dance DJ is now based in LA, but she cut her teeth playing Chicago clubs like Smart Bar and The Mid. Her website says her vibe is "classic house meets new school tech."

  • She may be more known for her producing skills, but her remixes and sets have landed her huge gigs at Coachella and EDC Las Vegas.

Dive in: "Check Out" (feat. Leo Stannard).

Sincere Engineer

The Chicago band, fronted by musician Deanna Belos, blends pop, punk, emo and folk. It works, creating a unique sound that will surely be a crowd pleaser at Lolla.

  • When they play in town, they can be found at places like Bottom Lounge.

Dive in: "Library of Broken Bindings."

Louis The Child
Photo of two musicians on stage in front of a huge audience.
DJs Robby Hauldren and Freddy Kennett of Louis The Child perform onstage during 2016 Governors Ball Music Festival in New York City. Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images for Governors Ball

This electronic music duo is based in LA, but they went to high school together at New Trier.

Dive in: "Blow the Roof" with Kasbo & EVAN GIIA

Ax & the Hatchetman

The seven-piece rock 'n' roll band hails from Chicago suburbs including Gurnee and Lake Villa. Started in 2018, the band plays regularly in the area, including recently at Subterranean in Wicker Park.

Dive in: "Existential Crisis Pt. 1 ."

Friday Pilots Club

The dance-rock band met at Columbia College in 2013, but several members grew up in Batavia. The music is infectious and will no doubt be a crowd pleaser in Grant Park.

  • They just had a gig in February at Schuba's.

Dive in: "Hot Mess."

Of note: Lollapalooza has invited back the Chicago Made Showcase, which spotlights up-and-coming local talent.


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