Another year, another Lolla. I have a love/hate relationship with it myself. I’m sure that’s true for many. But hey, where else can you see an endless number of bands in a matter of 3 days? Here are a few things I learned about the festival.
Let’s start with the etymology of the word. Lollapalooza (lä-lə-pə-ˈlü-zə) is a noun that was first used in the late 1800s meaning “an extraordinary or unusual thing, person, or event; an exceptional example or instance.” In time, it was also associated with giant lollipops, which can be found in the festival’s original logo. Perry Farrell, the front man of Jane’s Addiction and the guy who started the whole shindig, heard the word in an old Three Stooges short film and liked the sound of it.
Farrell hoped to use Lollapalooza as a farewell tour for his bad. From 1991 to 1997, the festival was an annual gig that traveled the US and Canada. The original lineup included Nine Inch Nails, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Ice-T, The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow, and Shaolin monks to name a few. I can only imagine the mayhem that went on there. In 1996 Farrell decided not to participate in the festival. Some think it may have had something to do with Metallica being added to the list of performers, but who knows. By 1998, the tour lost its momentum and faded away.
In 2003 and 2004, efforts were made to revive Lolla in all its touring festival glory, but a decline in ticket sales put a bit of a damper on things. The next year, Farrell got together with the guys who run Austin City Limits to put on a two day festival is Chicago’s Grant Park with a lineup of 70 acts on 5 different stages. Pretty nuts, huh? Lolla as we know it, has been chugging along since then.
This year, Lollapalooza boasted around 140 bands on 8 different stages. I got to see: Bombay Bicycle Club, Jagwar Ma, Portugal. The Man, Interpol, CHVRCHS, Broken Bells, The Kooks, Arctic Monkeys, Wildcat! Wildcat!, Temper Trap, Fitz and the Tantrums, Manchester Orchestra, Foster the People, Head and the Heart, Outkast, Trombone Shorty, RAC, and 1975. Woah! That’s what a 3-day pass will get you.
It will also get you never-ending lines to porta potties without toilet paper, depressing encounters with drunk pre-teens, food stands that sell out before the day is over, “craft” beer that isn’t craft at all– it’s all Anheuser Busch in disguise, and verrrrrrry muddy Nikes.
Now you tell me, is it worth it?
(photos above taken with diy camera filters and a few disposable cameras)