Lollapalooza founder in awe of festival
Perry Farrell will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Lollapalooza with an eclectic line-up this summer in Chicago that knows no boundaries, from rock and rap and even pop, to dance music and experimental sounds that can't be described in a few words.
Tens of thousands of fans will feel the grass between their toes, as they leisure under the trees in Grant Park, snacking on festival haute cuisine imagined by one of the Windy City's top chefs. There will be a place for kids to play, the chance to learn about socially conscious initiatives and the opportunity to live in harmony for three days.
This is definitely not the Lollapalooza Farrell founded in 1991, but he loves what it has become.
"I want to take care of my people," Farrell said. "They've been with me for 20 years. That's how I go. It's a family-run business at this point."
Some of the top names in music are among the August 5-7 festival headliners announced on Tuesday, including Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Muse, My Morning Jacket, Deadmau5 and Cee Lo Green.
Farrell says he's looking forward to hearing Green sing, hanging with his new friends from Muse, seeing if Eminem remembers his wife, Etty, a former video dancer for the rapper, and reliving childhood memories with The Cars, who he says were reluctant to play the festival because of the size of the crowd.
"It might've been my first or second concert ever," he said of the first time he saw The Cars live. "Yeah, I loved their music when I was growing up."
Farrell is also pleased that there's space on the big stage reserved for dance music, a passion of his.
"I can tell you I'm excited for somebody like Deadmau5 because we've got now dance music in a headlining slot, and out on a main stage instead of in a dance tent," Farrell said.
While not the first festival when it launched July 18, 1991, in Phoenix, Lollapalooza was the ambitious archetype for the modern mega-festivals that have popped up since — Bonnaroo, Coachella and a legion of smaller multi-day parties.
Most festivals previously had focused on one type of music or fan. Farrell spread the umbrella wide, opening the gates for bands whose touring presence was often the small club. But working together, those bands could command the stage with thousands looking on.
"A lot of this music — we'll call it festival music — it's still not popular music," Farrell said. "If you look at pop, pop is one thing. Festival music is another, and it still holds true that we're looking to book acts that are critically acclaimed and have credibility. It's just very interesting that it's become its own organism, its own working organism."