By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – K-Pop star J-Hope of the boy band sensation BTS will perform this month as the finale act at Chicago’s annual Lollapalooza show, becoming the first South Korean artist to headline a major U.S. musical festival, organizers said on Tuesday.
J-Hope, 28, who made his debut as a member of BTS in 2013 and released his first solo mixtape five years later, is slated to close the four-day Lollapalooza festival with a main-stage performance on July 31, according to Live Nation Entertainment.
The billing of J-Hope comes barely a month after the seven members of BTS (short for the Korean phrase Bangtan Sonyeondan, or “Bulletproof Boys”) said they were taking a break from musical ventures as a group to pursue solo projects.
Live Nation also announced that the five-member South Korean boy band Tomorrow X Together, also known as TXT, are billed to perform at Lollapalooza on July 30, marking their U.S. festival debut.
Welcoming both acts to the “Lollapalooza family,” festival founder Perry Farrell said in a statement: “Their global audience speak different languages but possess an intense passion for their music. … These are the superstars of the global phenomenon of K-Pop.”
J-Hope, a rapper, songwriter and dancer, was the third member to join BTS, also known as the Bangtan Boys, as a trainee of the septet, after RM and Suga.
His 2018 debut solo mixtape, “Hope World,” peaked at No. 38 on the Billboard 200, making him the highest-ranking solo Korean artist on the U.S. album chart at the time, according to Wikipedia.
Still, his solo following pales in comparison to the blockbuster global success of BTS, the best-selling act in South Korean history, with over 30 million albums sold, and one of the few recording groups since the Beatles in the 1960s to have charted four U.S. No. 1 albums in less than two years.
Lollapalooza, which began as a touring show in 1991, has since made Chicago’s Grant Park its annual venue and ranks as one of the leading events on the U.S. musical festival circuit.
(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; editing by Jonathan Oatis)