With Plenty of Sponsors, Lollapalooza Set to Take Over Chicago This Weekend

By Wendy Wollenberg July 29, 2008, 8:00 AM EDT

The current incarnation of Lollapalooza, the brainchild of Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell, along with Austin, Texas-based promoters C3 Presents and the William Morris Agency, will once again set up shop in Chicago's Grant Park this Friday through Sunday. The fourth-annual Chicago-only festival encompasses 120 acts (including Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, and Kanye West) performing on eight sponsored stages, as well as various environments, lounges, and activities scattered throughout the park.

Lollapalooza 2008 incorporates several new elements this year, including Perry's, named for Farrell, an open-air electronica stage featuring live DJ sets each day at 2 p.m., and Lederhosen's Biergarten, a beer hall situated near Buckingham Fountain. Both Green Street (a destination space educating festival-goers about Lolla's eco-friendly initiatives) and Kidzapalooza (featuring a stage, “School of Rock” Jam Tent, a recording studio, and special performances) are returning this year.

Other sponsored environments on the festival grounds include the f.y.e. Autograph Booth, the AT&T Digital Oasis, PlayStation and MySpace Tents, the Dell Lounge, and the Blackstone Wine Bar. But the festival isn't just confined to what's going on at Grant Park. Official after-shows by bands like the Black Keys, Broken Social Scene, and Bloc Party take place at concert venues like Metro, House of Blues, and Double Door throughout the weekend, while the invitation-only official after-party, hosted by Farrell himself and Belvedere Vodka, will go down Saturday night in a Wicker Park warehouse space.

Galapalooza, the event's opening night fund-raiser benefitting the Parkways Foundation, kicks things off at the Petrillo Band Shell on Thursday evening.

For the third year, the Hard Rock Hotel is home to the V.I.P.-only Music Lounge (this year presented by, with complimentary food, drinks, and Internet access at the on-site EastSport Café (a concept also seen at South by Southwest in March), as well as several gifting lounges and the Spin Acoustic Stage. Produced by the New York-based BMF Media Group, the three-day event will move into the hotel's ballroom at night, becoming the Rock the Vote lounge with DJ acts by the likes of Samantha and Mark Ronson.

At the River North club the Underground, Motorola will celebrate the product launch of its new Rokr E8 phone with the Motorokr Lounge Thursday through Sunday nights, featuring private performances by indie bands and DJs like Katy Perry and G.Love and Special Sauce, as well as V.I.P. bottle service provided by Bacardi, 42 Below, and Cazadores Tequila.

Lollapalooza 2008 is sponsored by AT&T, Bud Light, PlayStation, MySpace, Citi, BMI, Blackstone Winery, f.y.e., VitaminWater,, Small Paul, Sweet Leaf Tea, Whole Foods Market, Lifeway Kefir, and Southern Comfort.

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