Exploring Diversity and Inclusion at Lollapalooza 2023: Progress & Room for Improvement

July 31, 2023
by Santiago Solutions Group

Lollapalooza is well-known as one of the most popular music festivals in the United States. Since 2005, it has been held annually in Chicago in early August and attracts over 200,000 attendees each time.  

The idea of Lollapalooza was to bring unique musical acts together, and the festival was founded on principles of diversity and inclusion. Thus, since the 2023 Lollapalooza lineup was released, there has been much buzz surrounding the diversity of the headliners and other performances. The first notable set is Tomorrow X Together, the first South Korean K-pop group to headline Lollapalooza, following J-Hope of BTS’s breakthrough performance last year as the first South Korean act to lead the stage. NewJeans will also perform at this year’s Lollapalooza, making them the first South Korean K-pop girl group to perform in Grant Park. Karol G (Colombian reggaeton artist) will also be the first female Latina headliner. Kendrick Lamar (Black hip-hop artist) will also headline this year, demonstrating Lollapalooza’s commitment to a robust multicultural presence.  

GenZ/Millennial Festival Goers are Still Seeking Better Multicultural & Inclusive Representation

But without diverse representation, Lollapalooza and many other music festivals may be missing out on a greater reach to more diverse consumers. Our experts at Santiago Solutions Group analyzed the statistics throughout the festival. They found that the racial and gender breakdowns of the other performers may not be as diverse as the headliners may lead music fans to believe. Out of the 311 total performers (counting each member in every band), the representation is 69% White, 12% Black, 12% Asian, 5% Hispanic, and 2% Mixed Race. The most significant shortfall in Lollapalooza’s racial breakdown is the lack of Hispanic performers since the percentage proportional to the country’s demographics should be closer to 20%, according to the US Census. Furthermore, out of 311 total performers, only 8% are openly LGBTQ+ (while nearly 17% of Americans under the age of 30 identify as LGBTQ+ according to Pew Research Center), and only 1 (0.3%) is a person with a disability (PWD). Looking at gender for the 311 total performers, a large majority of 76% are male, while only 24% are female. This signifies that although several of the headliners are diverse, when examining the overall statistics for the festival, there is much more room to be truly diverse.  

Charts depicting the racial, gender, and LGBTQ+ breakdown of all 311 performers at Lollapalooza 2023

Figure 1: Charts depicting the racial, gender, and LGBTQ+ breakdown of all 311 performers at Lollapalooza 2023

Note: LGBTQ+ count is based on artists who are openly out from publicly available sources, biographies, and interviews, including an article from Xtra Media. Race/Ethnicity count is based on publicly available sources, biographies, and interviews with artists.

Compared to the statistics from the lead performers of the festival (lead singer per band), the experts at SSG analyzed that each breakdown is more diverse and inclusive. Of 189 lead performers, 58% are White, 7% are Hispanic, 19% are Black, 11% are Asian, and 5% are Mixed Race. Furthermore, 67% of lead performers are male, 33% are female, and 13% are LGBTQ+. These percentages are higher than those of all performers, and they illustrate that bands may tend to have the “face” of their group be more multicultural and inclusive.  

Charts depicting the racial, gender, and LGBTQ+ breakdown of 189 lead performers at Lollapalooza 2023 

Figure 2: Charts depicting the racial, gender, and LGBTQ+ breakdown of 189 lead performers at Lollapalooza 2023


Music & Culture are Intertwined

Having authentic representation in music festivals like Lollapalooza is essential, considering that 63% of festival goers fall into the GenZ and Millennial generations, who tend to see more value in diversity and inclusion efforts across the board. According to the MRI-Simmons, when compared to GenX and Boomers, GenZ and Millennials are 73% more likely to have attended a music festival in the last 12 months. Additionally, they are 45% more likely to feel they have experience in the topic of music and are more knowledgeable in the topic of music and are 53% more likely to feel good about seeing celebrities in the media that share their ethnic background when compared to GenX/Boomers.  

All cultures value music differently. Multicultural consumers are also a quarter more likely to feel they have great experience and knowledge when compared to White Non-Hispanics. When looking at music-specific cultural behaviors, we see that:  

  • 84% of Black GenZ/Millennial consumers feel that music is an important part of their life, the highest of all segments 
  • Asian GenZ/Millennials are 35% more likely to have attended a music festival in the last 12 months when compared to White Non-Hispanic GenZ/Millennials, over-indexing more than any other segment.  
  • When comparing Hispanic GenZ/Millennials vs. Hispanic GenX/Boomers, Hispanic GenZ/Millennials are 2x more likely to stay up to date with the latest in Latin music and culture from Hispanic countries and are 2x as likely to enjoy sharing their culture with friends (both Hispanic and non-Hispanic)  

These percentages indicate that while Lollapalooza is making efforts to be more diverse and inclusive, there is still improvement and growth needed to authentically connect to younger multicultural audiences. With a more diverse and inclusive setlist, audiences can enjoy many more styles of music and multicultural influences. It is evident that Lollapalooza’s audience wants to see themselves represented in the entertainment they love, which is essential to their concert experience. We believe that through greater representation, Lollapalooza can gain greater success through increased loyalty and even increased likelihood that festival-goers will recommend Lollapalooza to their peers. 

Music preference and consumption habits are just one of many categories that are greatly impacted by culture. It’s imperative for brands of all industries to stay committed to learning the values, motivators, and habits of each of their unique target markets. Learn more about the segments Santiago Solutions Group specializes in by checking out our Actionable Cultural Insights / Segments page or contact us to speak with a multicultural marketing consultant

Lollapalooza Lineup 2023
The Ultimate 2023 Queer Music Festival Guide
Key findings about LGBTQ+ Americans for Pride month | Pew Research Center
SSG Analysis of 2023 Spring MRI-Simmons USA Study 





About us

For 20 years, Santiago Solutions Group (SSG) has guided growth pathways for scalable returns by uncovering cultural and marketplace insights.
These insights forge the fact-based foundation for effective business and brand growth strategies aligned with cultural insights across Hispanic & Asian acculturation levels, Black, LGBTQ, Non-Hispanic White, Gen Z, Millennials, and other segments.

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