Among those who are so F—ing grateful to Ariana Grande right now: the nation’s festival bookers, who, facing a shortage of contemporary rock heavyweights, are increasingly looking to pop superstars as headliner. Multiple sources tell Variety that Grande has been booked for Lollapalooza, set to take place in Chicago’s Grant Park August 1-4, on top of her already announced slot at Coachella in April.
The Lollapalooza lineup isn’t traditionally announced until the third week of March, so any official confirmation of Grande’s appearance as a headliner for one of the four evenings may be weeks or even months away.
Lest anyone suspect that Lollapalooza is merely borrowing a cue from Coachella in securing Grande as headliner, sources tell Variety that her booking at the Chicago festival has been in the works for several months. Discussions about it also took place much earlier than they did for the California fest, where published reports indicated that her camp got the official invite only days before the lineup was announced, as a replacement for Kanye West, whose staging demands grew too great. So if anything, Coachella may have been following Lollapalooza’s lead in realizing that Grande makes a perfectly suitable choice for a festival that’s no longer strictly tied to its alt-rock roots in 2019.
Grande enjoys a level of critical cred that a lot of her superstar pop contemporaries don’t, thanks to gushing reviews for her recent album “Sweetener,” above and beyond the fact that the post-album single “thank u, next” has been the ubiquitous signature musical event of the last six months.
While the Lollapalooza development hasn’t been officially announced, some other festival-related Grande news did go public Monday. Her camp officially announced that she is rescheduling some dates on her arena tour as a result of the sudden Coachella booking.
Gigs that were previously scheduled to take place in eight cities in April have now been rescheduled for June and July, while two other cities have been canceled outright. Omaha and Raleigh are the unlikely locales where fans have to take refunds in lieu of a postponement. Meanwhile, the rescheduled dates involve Chicago (now June 4-5 — and not to be confused with Lollapalooza, obviously), Indianapolis (June 29), Columbus (July 1), Milwaukee (July 5), St. Louis (July 6), St. Paul (July 8), Denver (July 11) and Salt Lake City (July 13).
One previously unscheduled city has been added to her routing: a May 11 concert in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena. (Grande had been scheduled to play a single gig at a small theater in Las Vegas two nights before New Year’s Eve, but canceled that one-off show, citing illness.)
The postponements now leave a nine-day window open before the first of Grande’s two Coachella shows. It’s a significant enough gap in her touring to allow for speculation about whether Grande plans to go beyond her standard tour set and put on a more ambitious Coachella performance — presumably one not involving a giant dome in the middle of the festival grounds.
The tour picks up as planned after Coachella, though — including holding onto three L.A. shows in early May, just two weeks after the second weekend of Coachella, which would seem to indicate the festival is fine with making an exception for Grande to the radius-clause rule disallowing any other area concerts closely preceding or following the festival.
The tour is still set to begin March 18 in Albany. This will be Grande’s third arena tour. Her previous two tours grossed $67 million and $42 million, in 2017 and 2015, respectively, according to Pollstar.
A press release about the rescheduled dates says the July 13 date is now the “wrap” of her North American tour, previously scheduled to conclude June 26. But sources are adamant about the August asterisk.
Variety has reached out to a Grande rep for comment.