by Katherine Harbin
CHICAGO, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Tens of thousands of music lovers swarmed to Chicago's Grant Park on Friday for the annual launch of Lollapalooza, a three-day music festival featuring over 130 bands from a variety of genres.
Cheers and applause from the sold-out show could be heard blocks away, as the crowds stopped rush-hour traffic and let downtown Chicago know the big weekend had finally arrived.
Although organizers have yet to release attendance for this year, Friday night has seen the 319-acre park packed with excited fanciers waiting for their favorite bands. The music festival drew a staggering total of 270,000 people in 2011.
This year's festival stars bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Black Keys, Jack White and Black Sabbath, and even lesser-known groups are hailed with cheers and admiration.
Concertgoers Sarah Hombach and Katie Lample told Xinhua they are most excited for Tallest Man on Earth, the stage name of musician Kristian Matsson, who specializes in guitar and banjo playing.
The two girls said they value the Lollapalooza experience, as they got a very pleasant memory from last year's show.
"I love the atmosphere," Hombach said. "It (The ticket price) is really expensive but it's so worthy."
Hombach told Xinhua a standard three-day pass costs 230 U.S. dollars and a single-day 95 dollars.
Though the price is steep for some, other Lollapalooza attendees said they take the music festival as part of a larger adventure.
Gordon Bowman came to Lollapalooza all the way from Colorado with eight friends.
"It was a spontaneous decision," Bowman said. "Me and my friend just woke up one morning like we're going to do something crazy, and we saw tickets for Lollapalooza and decided to do it and then a lot of our friends just jumped on the bandwagon."
Fans say part of Lollapalooza's popularity could possibly arise from its wide types of artists and their musical genres.
Lollapalooza has expanded in recent years from an alternative rock music showcase to include more genres such as hip-hop and electronica, attracting fans of different ears and artists of various tastes.
Some Lollapalooza-goers, however, are not thrilled about such expansion, as the competing shows often mean that they cannot see all the bands they like.
Still, with over 130 bands set to play this year, fans can check out dozens of different performances all within a fairly concentrated area.
Lollapalooza's history can trace back to 1991, when Perry Farrell, Jane's Addiction's lead singer, first tried to organize a massive farewell concert for his band. His concept quickly evolved into a traveling music show where fans could all gather and listen to upcoming bands they might not otherwise get a chance to see.
After eight years touring across the United States, Lollapalooza finally stayed in Chicago in 2005, and has been staged every summer since then. It has also expanded the sphere to other countries like Brazil and Chile since 2010.