Known to be one the hottest platforms for Indie and Alternative bands over the years, Lollapalooza has cemented its name in the festival category to be one of the biggest and craziest festivals of all time. The Sherp takes a look at the journey they’ve had.
It formulated initially as the brainchild of Jane’s Addiction’s front-man and Lollapalooza co-founder Perry Farell was an aspiring musician trying to make ends meet. Fittingly enough, it all began with an acid-trip. Yup. You read that right. When Perry attended the US festival in 1983, he saw acts like David Bowie, U2 and Van Halen. As the drugs kicked in, he saw the whole image take shape in his head.
After a decade, in the summer of 1991, the first edition of Lollapalooza toured all across North America. Conceived initially as a tour for his band, the lineup also consisted of bigger names like Nine Inch Nails, Violent Femmes and Ice-T complete with dancers and performers!
This was at a time when, large scale music festivals were a rarity in the US. At such a time, a dedicated festival to lesser-known acts was bound to blow up in no time! And not surprisingly enough, Lollapalooza became one of the biggest trends every summer encompassing multiple stages and various acts being added to the roster with every passing year.
They started bringing in well known acts biggies like Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins while also throwing light on some of the most prominent newcomers in the scene that time like Rage Against The Machine and Pearl Jam. And we all know where these bands stand in today’s time. So it’s safe to say that Lollapalooza acted as a launch pad for some of the biggest faces in the rock scene!
Lollapalooza opened its gates after 8 years in 2005. This time they were welcomed with a new generation of fans, fresher acts and diverse line-ups. More prominent acts like The Black Keys and Arctic Monkeys started to take the front stage to take ahead the indie-alternative vibe they had established. They partnered with C3 Presents and after re-molding Lollapalooza into a 3 day destination event, they moved into their new venue in Grant Park, Illinois, Chicago. This would serve as the venue for all future versions of the festival.
Since then, Lollapalooza has seen some of the biggest events in music history go down on their stages. Right from Arcade Fire drawing the biggest crowds in 2005 during the debut at Grant Park. Kanye West killing it on stage with his larger than life set complete with lasers and the works. And the unforgettable Daft Punk doing their first ever high-budget, top-notch production Pyramid stage which changed the game FOREVER. To sum it all up, every edition of the festival has seen some legendary stuff go down which will be remembered throughout history.
In the coming years, with the gradual change of trends in the music industry more and more Electronic Music artists were being introduced in the line-ups to keep up with the changing tastes in music. A new stage dubbed the “Perry Stage” was introduced in 2009 specially for DJ and EDM acts. Skrillex was the biggest name for the inaugural stage that year and it went on. More mainstream artists like Lady Gaga, Coldplay and Eminem have also started headlining the festival although indie acts are still given the same importance they were before.
The change in the venue also helped the attendance to increase from 30,000 in 2005 to a whopping 160,000 currently. In 2010, Lollapalooza stepped it up by expanding to other cities like Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Germany. Over the years, the festival has become a cultural hub for every sort of venture. People turn up in the best of fashion, the most authentic gourmet food is served up in stalls. Spotting a celebrity at Lolla is no more a surprise as the festival draws the biggest stars to the audience crowds too. Such is the magic of Lollapalooza!
This year, 2016, they complete 25 years, which is a HUGE deal. To celebrate they’ve made this years edition four days long instead of the traditional three. The line-up includes more than 170 artists from every genre clubbed together with the best of launch parties and after-shows. The line-up is graced by alt-rock veterans Radiohead who are touring for their new album “A Moon Shaped Pool“. Also joining them are RHCP with their new album “The Getaway” which dropped last month. Apart from these, other biggies include Lana Del Rey, LCD Soundsystem, Hardwell and Martin Garrix.
It would be an understatement of epic proportions to say that Lollapalooza hasn’t been on a roller-coaster ride since the past twenty years. They have constantly evolved to changing times and still managed to garner the best acts in the world to come together under one roof. From a niche festival pleasing indie-rock fans to becoming one of the biggest cultural influences fro people all around the world, they are showing no signs of slowing down!
Let’s hope the extravaganza continues and keeps getting better and better!