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India rocks to Asia’s first Lollapalooza festival

One of the world’s longest-running festivals kicked off in Mumbai Saturday for the Indian financial hub’s biggest music extravaganza since the end of the pandemic. 

Lollapalooza’s arrival in Mumbai is the first time the festival has been staged in Asia after branching out from its American origins in the past decade.

Crowds thronged the Mahalaxmi racecourse near the centre of a city that, before the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic, was increasingly becoming a popular tour stop for leading international artists. 

“I think it’s huge — it’s the first major American festival to come to India, I couldn’t miss it,” Narayani Anand, 29, told AFP. 

“The live music scene is really bouncing back,” she said. “It’s almost like signifying the end to the dark days.”

Not everyone was impressed by this year’s lineup, despite months of anticipation, when the festival’s Mumbai debut was announced last year. 

The Strokes, Diplo and Imagine Dragons headline the inaugural concert and Binjal Shah, 30, was among those who decided to skip it.

“The tickets were exorbitant considering the lineup. I couldn’t justify spending that much,” she told AFP.

“There was mad hype before the lineup dropped. But the lineup was really sad. My friends who bought early-bird tickets were really disappointed.”

Around 60,000 people are expected at the festival over two days, organisers say. 

Lollapalooza was launched in the early 1990s by Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell during the US boom of alternative music.

It was originally conceived as a travelling festival that would explore non-mainstream music and culture.

Lollapalooza shut down after criticism that the festival was becoming increasingly commodified but re-emerged in 2005 as an annual event with Chicago the regular venue.

The festival has since expanded to Latin America, with versions in Argentina, Brazil and Chile, as well as Europe starting with a 2015 edition in Berlin.

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