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Ditching out early from a work conference in Kansas City, my early-morning trip to the airport was troubled by massive road construction/detour and massive bowel-blowout-in-the-woods brought on by $1 hotdogs at the previous night’s Royals game. I still get to the Buckingham Fountain (in ’05 outside the fest) for gates opening. The only disappointment: the misleading 24oz iced-tea (really 16 in a big cup with ice). The Redwalls start off. Later Perry, with Pete D. play on the Kids stage, including “100 Ways” and “Pets”. A quick snooze in between the trees re-invigorates the day while participating in the text message scavenger hunt – Lolla certainly on the forefront of using technology. The Black Keys, Primus, and The Pixies among the best of the day. After Saturday, the wander around downtown brought me in the classy theater with “Wicked” so I could sneak in a urination before heading to House of Blues for Sound Tribe Sector 9 and more late night wandering in the Belmont area before a dawn nap in Grant Park, taking advantage of the smaller festival footprint. Wonderful Sunday with Kasabian, the Drive-bys, STS9, Ben Kweller, Widespread…. Met up with some artist who sneaked in a side exit with her bike; and hangouts w/ other random folk. (It’s so great going to the festival solo!) Perry does it again, with first major gig of Satellite Party. Fantastic! Had my first “smartwater” at first-aid tent while there for some Tums… Cab driver ripped me off on way to a cheap motel to recover from the weekend before Midway flight back home to D.C. Wonderful kickoff to Lollapalooza’s Chicago future easily transcended all worries.
With the waning popularity of traveling showcases and the success of more compact, weekend festivals, Lollapalooza daringly reinvented itself in 2005, bringing on Austin, TX’s Capital Sports and Entertainment (now C3 Presents) to help reengineer the flagship festival for a new generation of music lovers. Revisiting the diversity and excitement that were hallmarks of Lollapalooza’s original incarnation, great pains were taken to bring onboard up-and-coming talent from a variety of genres. Specifically, independent acts gaining mainstream momentum - such as The Arcade Fire and Death Cab For Cutie - were recruited, along with major label draws such as Weezer and The Killers.
Leaving behind the “touring” model that had propelled its success through the 1990s, Lollapalooza became a “destination festival”, redefined and revved up for the 2000s. The debut of the reboot featured over 60 artists playing on six stages across three days in Chicago’s Grant Park, one of the most famous and beloved civic green spaces in the country. The selection of Chicago provided a connection to the deep musical heritage of one of America’s largest and most storied metropolitan areas, further invigorating the festival.
Scoring high marks from fans and critics alike for its lineup choices, Lollapalooza de-emphasized the subculture-based themes of its early days. Lollapalooza 2.0 strove to be more inclusive. In addition to its changes in musical format, this focus was evident in Lolla’s rejuvenated emphasis on art, food, fun and community, as well as ongoing efforts to create an environmentally sound production from the ground up. Finally, a family-friendly aspect was incorporated with the inclusion of a “Kidapalooza” stage where performances by kid-friendly artists, including organizer Farrell himself would keep the little ones as entertained as the adults.
Light showers replaced scorching heat when Billy Idol took the stage for his fist clinching set. He delivered his chart topping classics “Rebel Yell” and “White Wedding” to a crop of new young fans, while the older ones sang along.