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Lollapalooza blm (copy)

This Aug. 3, 2013, file photo shows fans reacting while Mumford & Sons performs at the Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago. 

CHICAGO — Once a Lollapalooza sellout could be measured in minutes. But that era appears to have passed.

Four-day passes for Lollapalooza went on sale three weeks ago Tuesday and they're still available, the second year in a row of sluggish sales for the festival, which returns Aug. 1-4 to Grant Park. (Only the $650 four-day GA+ tickets have sold out.)

Last year, it took eight days for the fest to sell out its 80,000 four-day passes (daily capacity is 100,000). But weekend passes sold out in less than 2 1/2 hours in 2017, and within an hour in 2016. In 2014 and 2015, Lollapalooza sold all of its weekend passes even before the lineups were announced.

In contrast, the Coachella Festival in California remains a brisk seller. It sold out both of its three-day weekends in six hours when tickets went on sale in January, only slightly slower than the three-hour blow-out for tickets in 2017 and 2018.

Last year's slower Lollapalooza sales could be pinned on the relatively stale menu of headliners -- seven of the eight had played the festival before. But this year Lollapalooza has a fresher look at the top of the bill and shares some top-billed acts with Coachella, including Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, J Balvin and Janelle Monae. Four-day ticket prices ($340) are $5 higher than last year for Lollapalooza, whereas Coachella's three-day passes cost $429.

Executives with C3 Presents, which promotes Lollapalooza with Live Nation, were not immediately available for comment on the sluggish sales.

If history is any indicator, it is extremely rare for a festival to exist -- let alone thrive -- for a decade-plus. Lollapalooza (which established its annual Grant Park residency in 2005) and Coachella (originated in 1999) are among the North American exceptions. In recent years, a number of long-running festivals have either shrunk (Vans Warped Tour has gone from a national tour to a handful of dates) or struggled to stay viable amid declining attendance (Bonnaroo in Tennessee).

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