CHICAGO -- "They don't grow groups like they used to," Lollapalooza co-founder and creative mastermind Perry Farrell told us backstage on Saturday about the current musical climate. Kings of Leon may be a new-found exception, but Farrell said we’re stuck in a period where musical acts never seem to make it to the coveted headliner status, which makes his job all that much harder every summer. Luckily, for him, he’s got plenty of big name trailblazers to choose from, including his own Jane’s Addiction, who will return to the fest with their original lineup on Sunday night for the first time since the inaugural fest way back in 1991.
With scenes built around niche music the latest trend - how does Lollapalooza's head-honcho program a festival in today’s environment?
"You have to be thinking in the future, thinking in the past and thinking in the present,” he said, standing in front of a giant inflatable jumpy set up outside his trailer for his kids. “We have to mix in new groups with the classic groups. It's more important today to be (more) widespread on your musical taste than ever before … you have to go back deep into your treasure chest of knowledge and musical vocabulary.”
Whether fans are on-site for older acts like Depeche Mode and Jane’s Addiction or they're here for the "future of music" as Farrell would put it, he said this year's Lolla-goers are assured a smartly programmed festival that has a lot of time and energy poured into it's execution.
The counter-programming of the "Perry's" stage serves as a great example. "We have such a good line-up over there", Perry said of the mix of DJs, hip-hop acts and techno stars. And each night, it serves as the perfect counter-balance to the dueling past and present status of the headlining acts on the main stages. When you're not happy with your choice between Depeche Mode and Kings of Leon, why not go see Simian Mobile Disco and Kid Cudi play instead? The Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Tool? Ehhh... how about Diplo and Bassnectar? "The dance crowd is such a specific crowd … inebriation, experimentation, expansion of the mind," Farrell said of the scene at the Perry's Stage, and our view on the ground supported that statement; fans were partying like the end of the world in the leafy dance refuge.
So our hats are off to you Perry - and lucky for us, Lolla will call Chicago it's home for some time. “We have a deal with Chicago for another ten years, and so as long as we live through Armageddon - we'll be here til 2018."
Let's hope we make it … or at the very least have a Perry's stage nearby to party at while it's all ending.
Be sure to take a listen to the Jane's front-man breakdown each of the festival's headliners and acts and how it all fits together so perfectly.