BY ANDERS SMITH LINDALL
At Lollapalooza 2010, the most noticeable change is the layout; this monster has a bigger footprint than in years past, reaching west of Columbus Drive all the way to Michigan Avenue between Jackson and Balbo.
It isn't an entirely new concept; Lolla 2005 also offered stages west of Columbus, though the street remained open to traffic. This year's map offers fans the prospect of greater comfort -- if the crowds disperse over a greater area. At least it seems likely to ease the bottlenecks that often formed around Buckingham Fountain and elsewhere, since the hordes moving between the Butler (north) and Hutchinson (south) fields now have the option to walk on the pedestrian-only Columbus, too.
The greater acreage has a different appeal to organizers: They were given the green light to sell 95,000 tickets this year, up from last year's capacity of 75,000. At this writing, the festival's publicist had not responded to requests for the weekend's expected daily attendance figures, but a senior security official said he expected it to approach the near-100,000 daily maximum.
Security's greatest pre-show concern appeared to be the condition of both main fields. Waterlogged from recent rains and bearing the scars of the heavy equipment used during setup, Hutchinson was alternately muddy and spongy, especially up front, while Butler featured sizable puddles of muck. And this was before the crowd had really started to arrive.