K-pop Hub in Chicago – K-pop Fans Gather at Lollapalooza Rock Festival
The massive rock festival ‘Lollapalooza’ is set to open in Chicago on the 3rd (local time), and K-pop fans’ attention is heavily focused on the event.
On the 2nd, just a day before the opening, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, “K-pop fever has hit Chicago. K-pop groups are headlining at Lollapalooza, and K-pop-themed merchandise is being sold.”
Chicago public radio station WBEZ stated, “Chicago has transformed into a K-pop hub. Numerous fans are flocking to Lollapalooza to see K-pop stars such as TOMORROW X TOGETHER (TXT) and NewJeans.”
Since its inception in 1991 as an “alternative culture festival,” Lollapalooza has been held at Grant Park in downtown Chicago since 2005, attracting an average of 170 popular groups each year and drawing a total of 400,000 spectators over four days, with 100,000 people attending each day.
Lollapalooza used to be a “K-pop wasteland,” but last year, J-Hope from BTS became the first Korean artist to take the solo stage, drawing immense interest.
J-Hope headlined Lollapalooza 2022, holding a solo debut celebration for global fans and setting a record as “the first Korean artist to headline a major music festival in the United States.”
This year, the 4th generation K-pop boy group TXT is headlining, along with popular girl group NewJeans, indie rock band The Rose, DPR Ian, DPR Live, and others, exciting fans with the lineup.
WBEZ reported, “Until now, Chicago has been distant from K-pop and other Asian pop music,” and “this music has been considered to belong to the areas on the West and East Coasts of the U.S., where the Asian population is relatively large.”
However, as Lollapalooza puts K-pop artists and Asian musicians on its stage, their reputation is rapidly changing.
WBEZ quoted Professor Lee Hye-jin from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC), stating, “The influx of K-pop culture into mainstream society in the Midwest is noteworthy.”
The professor said, “It is a remarkable event that people in the Midwest of the U.S., not just on the West or East Coasts, can experience the presence of K-pop artists and enjoy their concerts.”
With the increasing accessibility of K-pop in Chicago, WBEZ also reported that interest in Korean restaurants and K-pop-themed merchandise is growing in the city.