- Associated Press - Friday, August 3, 2012

CHICAGO (AP) - Get ready to dance, Lollapalooza fans.

This year’s three-day, sold-out mega-festival that starts Friday on Chicago’s lakefront will have well-known headliners like The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Black Keys, but it also will have a special focus on dance music. Two electronic heavyweights, Avicii and Justice, will play main stage shows this year.

Swedish DJ-producer Tim Bergling, who performs as Avicii, sees his Lollapalooza performance as an example of dance music’s growing popularity.

“It’s just been blowing up so rapidly,” Bergling said. “It’s really interesting to see the bigger festivals getting into it now and recognizing the genre.”

Festival founder and Jane’s Addiction lead singer Perry Farrell said he looks at his more than 130-artist lineup as a guide to what’s happening in music.

“It’s not just alternative rock that’s happening,” Farrell said in April when the lineup was announced. “You’ve got Avicii headlining this thing and his music is what is happening.”

The festival also is expanding the stage that has hosted dance and electronica acts, removing last year’s tent that didn’t allow enough room for the more than 15,000 fans who wanted in.

“This year we’re going to make that area an open-sky area so you’ll be able to get dance under the moon and the stars,” Farrell said.

The stage, dubbed “Perry‘s,” will have appearances this year from acts like Bassnectar, Kaskade, Calvin Harris, NERO, Santigold, Knife Party, Zeds Dead and Big Gigantic.

The festival, which Ferrell started in 1991, is in Chicago for the eighth year, taking up more than 115 acres and eight stages. Those stages will be filled with acts such as Florence and the Machine, Jack White and Sigur Ros, as well as up-and-comers like former “American Idol” contestant Haley Reinhart.

“I’m really blessed to be part of something this huge early on,” Reinhart said. “Coming off of `American Idol’ it’s such a hip thing to be a part of. It will hopefully turn a lot of heads.”

The lineup includes acts from across Europe, Chile, Australia and Malaysia and American music hubs like Austin, Texas; Nashville, Tenn.; and Portland, Ore. It reflects genres from rock to pop, hip hop and rap to reggae. In recent years, headliners have included Lady Gaga, Green Day, Eminem, Kanye West and Coldplay.

Farrell also expanded the festival format beyond music. This year’s Lollapalooza will include gourmet food options, handmade arts and crafts, bicycle parking and rewards for fans who recycle.

Last year’s festival sold out at 90,000 visitors a day, or 270,000 people over the three-day event. This year’s sell-out was 100,000 visitors a day.

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