High five for Latin music as J Balvin gets nod to headline Lollapalooza festival

J Balvin will headline this year's edition of Lollapalooza, and will play alongside the other seven headliners.
J Balvin will headline this year's edition of Lollapalooza, and will play alongside the other seven headliners.PHOTO: AFP

CHICAGO (AFP) - Colombian reggaeton superstar J Balvin will headline this year's edition of Lollapalooza, a landmark moment for Latin music in the American mainstream.

He will play alongside the other seven headliners including Ariana Grande and Childish Gambino at the top music festival in Chicago, set for Aug 1-4.

The 33-year-old achieved mass appeal in 2017 thanks to the success of Mi Gente.

Lollapalooza - conceived in the 1990s as a celebration of alternative culture - has never featured a Latin act who performs in Spanish so prominently on its billing.

Balvin did perform twice at last year's Coachella festival - but only as a guest alongside Cardi B and Beyonce, with whom he had collaborated.

This year, both Balvin and Bad Bunny, a Puerto Rican Latin trap sensation, will do solo sets at Coachella, set for April 12-14 and April 19-21 in Indio, California.

And Spanish innovator Rosalia - who debuted in 2017 with a revisionist version of traditional flamenco infused with pop, R&B and electronic sounds - will play both Lollapalooza and Coachella.

The decidedly Latin flair at major US festivals signals efforts to embrace the 41 million people living in the US who claim Spanish as their mother tongue.

"Chicago, we're coming to see you this summer," tweeted Balvin as the announcement dropped. "Get ready to party."