Chicago’s annual Lollapalooza festival is one of the biggest music events the summer, not only drawing some of the world’s biggest artists as headliners—this year included J. Cole, Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem and the Red Hot Chili Peppers among others—but also an eclectic, genre-hopping collection of artists who are making the music that matters (where else can you see Chris Stapleton, Leon Bridges, Mute Math, Grimes and a supergroup comprised of Big Boi and Phantogram in the same afternoon?)
But beyond just being able to see hours of great music from buzzy artists from around the globe, it’s also an opportunity to see new names—before they’re headlining future festivals.
Here’s a look at 10 artists we saw at this year’s Lollapalooza that you need to know.
Sir the Baptist
Sir the Baptist—who’s the son of a preacher and borrows his moniker from John the Baptist—is one of the most interesting young hip-hop artists to emerge from Chicago’s hip-hop scene. His music is fused with gospel sounds, Christian references and pleas to end social justice.
As incredible of an experience as it is to put on headphones and listen to Jack Garratt, seeing him construct the songs with an elaborate setup of instruments and electronics during a live performance makes you appreciate what an incredible musician he really is.
Oh Wonder’s gentle brand of indie-pop has a sense of restraint that puts the emphasis on the songwriting and vocal harmonies instead of overly elaborate production.
The English indie-rock outfit is known for their high-energy live shows, but it’s their super catchy singles that turn into instant sing-alongs that have made them such a can’t miss concert.
The New York-based indie-pop group are great musicians who don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s fun, smart electro pop that’s a perfect addition to a summer afternoon playlist.
The duo Marian Hill utilizes their culmination of influences—from timeless jazz songs and soul ballads to experimental electronic music and R&B—to create something completely unique.
A trio of artists—none of whom are actually named Mike—Miike Snow makes electro-pop with rock ‘n’ roll attitude. The Swedish band’s music may be hard to define, but once you hear it, it’s instantly recognizable.
There’s a reason why Danish singer MO has collaborated with hit-makers like Major Lazer, Justin Bieber and DJ Snake: She’s not only a great vocalist—her style, phrasing and energy make her a completely unique personality in the pop landscape.
MUNA’s style may sound like it’s a throwback to late-‘80s radio top-40, but there’s nothing ironic or cynical about their brand of surprisingly soulful dance pop.
Drowners bring English-rock swagger to their New York punk style: It’s cool, catchy, stripped-down indie rock.
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.