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20 Years, 20 Snapshots in Lollapalooza History

on July 29, 2011, 1:30pm
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lollapalooza 260x260 20 Years, 20 Snapshots in Lollapalooza HistoryIt’s cliche to start any introduction by defining a word, but in this case it seems appropriate. After all, how many people actually know what “lollapalooza” means? Sure, by music festival standards, we know it as the annual event put on in Chicago each August by Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell. But its true definition, at least according to Merriam-Webster, is “one that is extraordinarily impressive,” and while we can’t be sure Ferrell envisioned today’s version of Lollapalooza when he first named the festival 20 years ago, its title has never proved more true.

Sure, especially recently, some criticisms are warranted. The overlapping of headliners with other festivals, weaker mid-tier acts, and overcrowding are a few that come to mind. But at the end of the day, in an era when festivals are as popular as ever, Lollapalooza continues to be among the country’s best. More than 130 acts will play Lollapalooza this year, ranging in genres from hip hop to electronica. Four of those said acts are among the biggest names in all of music, a claim few festivals on Earth could even dream of making. There will also be long sought-after reunions, as well as a slew of heralded fresh faces looking to become headliners of tomorrow.

But how’d Perry Farrell’s pet project get to be where it is today? With the festival celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer, we figured now would be the perfect time to share our favorite memories, and in the process, illustrate how Lollapalooza went from a dirty, grungy traveling festival to a three-day, stand-alone pop-tastic extravaganza.

-Alex Young
CEO, Publisher

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Anonymous
August 2, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Lollapalooza started in 1991 – hardly the 20th anniversary. Jeez guys – poor research or bad at math?

Anonymous
August 2, 2014 at 10:46 pm

Posted “ON JULY 29, 2011, 1:30PM”.

Anonymous
August 3, 2014 at 7:43 am

Just noticed that. Probably not the best idea to feature it likes it new on Facebook.

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zatzbatz
August 2, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Most major festivals on “earth” have equally popular headliners. I am not sure what you meant by that.

vargo05
August 2, 2011 at 3:41 pm

You guys caught three of my personal favorite moments.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the Billy Idol mention.  I thought his performance was great that day.  Plus, to me, the Iggy Pop and Daft Punk mentions are no brainers.  Thanks for the nostalgia.

Tyson Bressler
August 2, 2011 at 3:20 am

I was at the first one.

Rike Moffman
August 1, 2011 at 6:26 am

Why put up the Broken Social Scene moment when they didn’t play against Red Hot Chili Peppers when you could’ve put up the Band of Horses moment when they actually did come back on stage and play against Perry himself after long chants of “Fuck Lou Reed” before them? That was the single best moment of the past 3 lollapaloozas.

Michael Roffman
August 1, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Personally, I was actually pissed off by the “Fuck Lou Reed” chants. Why? Band of Horses, at least at the time, performed almost every other month in Chicago. Lou Reed hardly hits the stage. Ever. So, it was slightly irritating hearing the several dozen drunks angrily toss bottles in the air and scream obscenities. But that’s just my opinion.

vargo05
August 2, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Regardless of how often Lou Reed plays, his set was one of the worst sets I have heard at Lolla.  I know he’s a “legend”, but that doesn’t entitle him to playing 20 minutes over his set time because he felt like running feedback and other useless noise thru the speakers.  Plus it doesn’t really matter than BoH played every other month, as you claim.  People were there to see them and there were more than several dozen who stood there quietly, but still irritated, while the band they came to see was being delayed by someone who’s ego is clearly more important than putting on a quality show. BoH put on a great show that night that made Lou Reed’s performance look amateurish.

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July 30, 2011 at 7:52 am

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Kelly Quintanilla
July 30, 2011 at 1:33 am

Nice nostalgic article, guys. Michael or Alex, one of you needs to add a predictive section for 2011 so I don’t kick myself later for missing a defining moment! 

Kelly Quintanilla
July 30, 2011 at 1:15 am

I don’t think the mid-tier acts are weak this year… that’s who I’m going to see! I could do without most of the headliners, but I’m pumped for Local Natives, Two Door Cinema Club, The Naked and Famous, Foster the People, Lykke Li, Grace Potter, Cage, Manchester (are the last few even considered mid-tier?), et al. I skipped last year… has the expansion of the fest area helped or hurt the overcrowding issue?

Anonymous
July 30, 2011 at 5:32 am

I would say the expansion has helped movement immensely, it’s so much easier to go from stage to stage. Problem is, there’s so many more people at those stages, if you don’t get to a stage early enough for a decent spot, you can be so far back you can’t see or hear anything.

Road Cat
July 29, 2011 at 8:35 pm

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Sam
July 29, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Why didn’t you include RATM taking the stage naked with duct tape on their mouths in 1993? 

Michael Roffman
July 29, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Plenty of great moments, but when it came to RATM, I think the fence toppling over in 08 was a mandatory inclusion.

Brett
July 29, 2011 at 7:02 pm

It’s often forgotten that Lolla “got” the biggest headliners the year before for the past couple of years. Arcade Fire was EVERYWHERE this year but Lolla had them last year. Same with The Strokes coming back. The same will certainly be true of Coldplay and Muse.

It’s only because they come later in the year then everyone else.

Joshua Simonds
July 29, 2011 at 6:55 pm

 Thanks for posting this, but the title should be…My Morning Jacket and Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (2007), not “the children’s choir”

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