Don't worry about the testosterone-fueled Lollapalooza missing its first summer in eight years--the thriving Gal-apalooza, Lilith Fair, announced a second-year lineup Thursday that will pick up the music festival slack, and then some.

After a hugely successful inaugural tour in 1997--drawing more than 600,000 fans and raising over $700,000 for various charities, according to festival founder Sarah McLachlan--the '98 edition looks to be even better.

"Lilith was kind of this little creature that grew wings and took off...It was so much fun, it made sense to continue with it," said McLachlan.

This year's tour--kicking off June 19 in Portland, Oregon, and winding up August 31 in Vancouver--features almost twice the dates (67, compared to 37 in '97) and a stylistically diverse, estrogen- and Grammy-packed roster that includes Bonnie Raitt, Liz Phair, Paula Cole, Lisa Loeb, Merideth Brooks, Shawn Colvin, Tracy Bonham, Rebekah and, of course, McLachlan.

And those were just the ones at Los Angeles' El Rey Theater Thursday for the press conference. Other performers--spanning rap, hip-hop, folk and rock--playing select tour stops include Natalie Merchant, Queen Latifah, the Indigo Girls, Erykah Badu, Sheryl Crow and Sinead O'Connor. Joni Mitchell has an open invitation to play anytime she wants to.

On Thursday, the McLachlan-led panel talked about the tour, its sponsors (Starbucks coffee, Tower Records) and its various charities (the Breast Cancer Fund, LIFEbeat among them). But mostly it was women talking about women. Brooks: "[Lilith Fair] was a very calming environment for me, because I was on the road [last year] with 10 guys. It was like summer camp for me. Phair: "The music industry can be such a female ghetto, but every female musician I've ever heard of is in one room. It's so exciting. Rebekah: "I've been touring with all these boys and men, and my language is so bad right now. I want to be feminine again. Sarah, help me!" (McLachlan replied that she couldn't, because her mouth is worse than most.) Raitt: After describing herself as the tour's den mother, she chimed in with, "Personally, I'm eager to test the theory of our periods all getting synchronized." Still, McLachlan was diplomatic when it came to Lollapalooza. Asked if her tour was resposible for "knocking off Lollapalooza this year," the mellow Canadian alt-rocker replied, "That doesn't have anything to do with us."

She did, however, express agreement with Lollapalooza management's decision to cancel their '98 tour. "It's a wise move," she said. "If you have two bad weeks [attendance-wise], you can run yourself into bankruptcy."

Finally, regarding plans for her own festival, Maclachlan said she would re-evaluate things after another tour next year. "We're on a three-year plan," she explained.

Digital images provided by Sony Electronic Photography
Photograph by Trixie Textor

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