Lollapalooza opens Friday with record crowd

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Workers cover lights to protect from rain on the main stage

of Lollapalooza in Grant Park earlier this week. (Rich Hein/Sun-Times)And so it begins again.

Year eight of Lollapalooza as a sit-down music festival in Chicago’s Park — with at least 10 more on the horizon — is the biggest ever. Last year’s fest jumped up to 90,000 fans each day; this year, a sold-out crowd of 100,000 per day will stream through the gates.

Concertgoers can expect to see added vendors, the usual upscale food options in Chow Town, Perry’s stage under an open sky, extra barricades around the perimeter to foil fence jumpers and extra fencing around the park’s landscaping (be kind to the bushes — you own them). Here’s a look at the set-up.

Gates open at 11 a.m. today. For complete info about the fest, look to the Reader’s handy guide. Plus, here are my music picks for Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the park.

Stay tuned to this blog through the weekend, where myself, Anders Smith Lindall and our Lolla crew will update all the music and news from Grant Park.

You can also …

Follow @chicagosmusic

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Important: Keep an eye on the weather: Severe storms are a good possibility late in the day Saturday. (Ask yourself: where would you seek shelter out there — and how long would it take to get there?)

In the meantime, some numbers. This year’s 100,000 daily mark is a record attendance. But how does that stack up against the other two summer music fests in America’s “big three”?

COACHELLA

Started: 1999

Setting: in suburban Indio, Calif.

Duration: 6 days (two weekends)

Time of year: mid-April

No. of performers (2012): 144

Total daily capacity: 75,000

Size of site: 90-acre polo grounds (rented), plus 280 acres (owned)

Ticket prices (2012, not including VIP packages): $285 plus fees (three-day pass only)

Reported gross: $47.3 million (2012)

Local annual government share: $1.6 million, plus applicable sales taxes

Local annual economic impact estimate: unknown

BONNAROO

Started: 2002

Setting: in rural Manchester, Tenn.

Duration: 4 days

Time of year: mid-June

No. of performers (2012): 184

Total daily capacity: 80,000

Size of site: 530 acres (owned), plus 250 acres (leased)

Ticket prices (2012, not including VIP packages): $209.50-$259.50 plus fees (four-day pass only)

Reported gross: $20 million (2012 estimate)

Local annual government share: $1 million given to Coffee County organizations since 2002

Local annual economic impact estimate: $20 million

LOLLAPALOOZA

Started: 2005 (reboot)

Setting: in urban Chicago

Duration: 3 days

Time of year: early August

No. of performers (2012): 130

Total daily capacity: 100,000

Size of site: 115 acres of Grant Park (total 319 acres)

Ticket prices (2012, not including VIP packages): $200-$230 (three-day pass), $95 (single-day pass)

Reported gross: $22.5 million (2011)

Local annual government share: $2.7 million to the Parkways Foundation in 2011

Local annual economic impact estimate: $100 million

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