Women in the spotlight at Lollapalooza in Chicago

CHICAGO (AP) — Women are preparing to rock this year’s Lollapalooza music festival.

The more than two-decade-old festival opens Friday in Chicago’s lakefront Grant Park with a strong female lineup, building on headlining appearances in recent years by Lady Gaga, Florence and the Machine and Neko Case.

Lana Del Rey and Cat Power will each close one of Lollapalooza’s eight stages over the three-day event this year. Rapper Azealia Banks was scheduled to close a stage, too, but she canceled her appearance on Thursday. Women factor into more than 20 percent of acts scheduled to perform.

Sara Quin, of festival mainstays Tegan and Sara, says the Lollapalooza lineup reflects a growing diversity at festivals.

“Hopefully things will continue to diversify,” she said. “I always love seeing female headliners.”

Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction says the festival is lucky to have so many female acts on this year’s bill.

“It’s women who are making most of the adventurous music in alternative rock today,” Farrell said. “At this year’s Lolla we offer a bouquet of modern songstresses.”

A wide range of sounds are represented by women, from the blues rock of Deap Vally to Banks’ exciting take on hip-hop to the traditional country sounds of Court Yard Hounds.

Emily Robison of Court Yard Hounds — a side project with sister and fellow Dixie Chicks member Martie Maguire — says they plan to stay true to the festival’s rock ‘n’ roll roots despite their country leanings.

“You have to tailor your set to Lollapalooza,” Robison said. “… I think subconsciously we have that inclination to want to rock it a little bit more. It’s not going to be this soft, tender set.”

British singer Jessie Ware knows a few things about winning over fans at festivals. She’s gone from singing backup for other acts to having her own solo slot at Lollapalooza.

“It’s not about you, it’s about trying to entertain a crowd,” Ware said. “I think that’s what’s amazing about festivals.”

Main-stage headliners are The Cure, Mumford & Sons, The Killers and Nine Inch Nails. The Cure is making its first appearance.

Mumford & Sons is scheduled to play Saturday after a Tuesday tour date in Japan. The band canceled an appearance at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., in June after bassist Ted Dwane suffered a blood clot on his brain.





Follow Caryn Rousseau on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/carynrousseau

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