Honoring 25 Years of Lollapalooza
Lollapalooza celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016. With an eclectic mix of artists, cuisine and overall experience, it’s a festival that has had a lasting impact — worthy of a celebration.
Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction, has pioneered the festival since 1991. It’s an idea that came to him a year earlier when thinking of ways to produce a farewell tour for Jane’s Addiction. Along with Bill Graham, Ted Gardner, Marc Geiger, and Don Muller, Farrell came up with the term “Lollapalooza.” What made this different than the typical U.S. festivals like Woodstock or Gathering of the Tribes, was that Lollapalooza would be a touring show. It would contain diverse lineup with multiple stages, often resulting in an all-day event.
The inaugural Lollapalooza in 1991 featured— Jane’s Addiction, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Living Colour, Nine Inch Nails, Fishbone, Ice T & Body Count, Butthole Surfers, Rollins Band and EBN. It would then go on for seven years strong, changing linups each year before coming upon a hiatus. The first five years of Lollapalooza would prove to be pivotal in the careers and take-off’s of major rock acts such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Rage Against the Machine and Smashing Pumpkins
Farrell resurrected Lollapaolooza in 2003, upon brining Janes Addiction back together. Ultimately, Farrell would reshape the event and partner with what is now C3 Presents (Live Nation) to create a destination style festival in Chicago. This would allow for an even larger lineup with 70 bands and five stages. It’s a format that has stayed intact ever since.
Furthermore, Lollapalooza was groundbreaking in terms of bringing the festival circuit to the U.S. As a result, the blueprint was in place for future events to be born; ultimately creating what is now a fruitful festival lineup across North America.
At the Silver Anniversary mark, we are now seeing Lollpalooza have a global impact around the world as it has expanded to become an event taking place in five different countries. The festival launched in Chile in 2011, Brazil in 2012, Argentina in 2014 and Germany in 2015.
In the spirit of recognizing 25 years, I collaborated with numerous artists to share their Lollapalooza memories.
Corey Glover — Living Colour (Lollpalooza 1991)
Lollapalooza was a fever dream. We had some strange gigs in our time, but this was one weird and amazing show after another. It was important for us being with like-minded folks on and off stage. We made new friends and played shows that will never be duplicated. We made an impact. Lollapalooza was the first Euro style festival in North America. Without it there’d be no Coachella or Bonaroo or Burning Man.
Angelo Moore — Fishbone (Lollapalooza 1991)
Lollapalooza was a time in my formative years as a musician in Fishbone. We were actually able to play our music in front of a wide audience and put it out full tilt. We were finally able to fully express ourselves as much as we could and with as much passion as we could. Those were some magical moments. There was always a sea of people and so much energy. We really go to extend out there and see how good our music was. It was a great time in Fishbone’s musical history.
That was also when I did my best crowd surfing. I remember seeing some of the biggest mosh pits I’ve ever seen. Nobody really ever got hurt. People took care of each other. It was always a happy ending at Lollapalooza. People enjoyed themselves as much as they could
That was also when I released my first poetry book, Dr. Madd Vibes, out there on the Lollapalooza ground in 1993.
Seeing and mixing with Dinosaur Jr. Rage Against the Machine, Butthole Surfers and Perry Farrell was pretty amazing as well.
Lollapalooza was the festival the inspired so many others. It was the beginning of a whole subculture of music that enabled a lot of bands to get themselves on the map.
Jimmy Chamberlain — Smashing Pumpkins (Lollapalooza 1994)
Favorite memories include simply the camaraderie, hanging and talking with other artists, golfing with Mike D, meeting fans, creating lasting friendships with people. Highlight of the while tour was hanging with Nick Cave and watching the Bad Seeds.
What makes Lolla unique is that is still representative of the initial thought that Perry had, which is simply bringing cool and talented people together and seeing what is possible. I just went to the 25th anniversary Lolla and the feel backstage was very similar to the very first one — (where I was able to sit and talk to Henry Rollins). I saw so many old friends — this business really is built on relationships and respect. There is no doubt that the community of artists makes the music stronger. Lollapalooza — the brand- has grown bigger than any one band that takes the stage. This allows very little ego which is great. I felt like everyone was accountable to the whole and was really intent on delivering for the crowds — very cool as you could feel that, because of that, the crowd seemed more spiritually connected to the music.
Brad Wilk — Rage Against the Machine (Lollapalooza 1992, 1993, 1996, 2008)
Lollapalooza was an amazing experience. It was basically like a traveling circus, and it was incredible. It was just such a different time, it felt like it was so much about the music, and connecting with the bands, there was a camaraderie that was happening at the time. Everyone felt like they were a part of a movement in music. That was an amazing feeling to be a part of that. There were so many great bands that played. Us and Tool were two bands that rose up from Los Angeles, to actually be on that tour together was an amazing time. It was definitely the most memorable time of my career that I will never forget. Via Alternative Nation
Nick Hexum — 311 (Lollapalooza Chile 2011)
It was quite a thrill to play for a sea of people in our first Lolla experience. I remember they sang along with not just the words, but also they sang the guitar parts! Then to watch Jane’s Addiction from the side of the stage capped off a day to remember. Seeing Perry toast the crowd in Spanish at an iconic festival that he had founded so long ago brought it all full circle