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Making Sense of This Weekend’s Rock the Bells

In Music

Why no E-40 or Wiz Khalifa?

More than most festivals, the Rock the Bells line-ups can vary greatly from show to show. The biggest head-scratcher this year is why some Bay Area homegrown favorites—E-40, Too Short and Hieroglyphics—are playing the San Bernadino show, but not here. It’s also odd to see an act as big (and as popular here) as Wiz Khalifa solely on the SoCal lineup. But organizers told me all of this is based solely on the artists’ availability (for instance, E-40 is scheduled to play a show in Humboldt County on Saturday), and they juggle as much as they can in an attempt to create what they consider an equally strong lineup at all three festival stops.

Is Rock The Bells selling out?

The inclusion of acts like J. Cole and Mac Miller at the top of this year’s bill raised some eyebrows, as Rock the Bells is known as a huge supporter of underground and indie hip-hop, steering clear of pop trends and showcasing artists who’ve proven they have something to say. Organizers say that hasn’t changed, but that the two-day format has allowed them to expand their scope: “Guerilla Union has worked tirelessly with Live Nation to make the event appeal not only to its core base within the underground and classic hip hop community, but also by integrating commercially successful artists like J. Cole and 2 Chainz to expose a new audience to the Rock The Bells experience.”

ROCK THE BELLS will be held Sat. and Sun., Aug. 25-26, at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, 11:30am; $99 and up (2-day ticket).

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