Much has changed about Lollapalooza since eccentric Jane's Addiction visionary Perry Farrell founded the festival in 1991. It used to be that the fest came to the fans, in the form of a coast-to-coast rock 'n' roll road revue. Now it's a three-day, one-location affair in Chicago's Grant Park (Lollapalooza is taking place there this weekend, starting Friday August 1st).
But here, I'll let Perry explain in this backstage interview--as only he can, in his uniquely colorful manner--how Lolla has evolved:
Something else has changed about Lollapalooza: Logically, many of the original Lollapaloozers, who were rocking out to Lolla headliners like Soundgarden and Hole back in the early '90s, have grown up and subsequently sired little music-loving kiddies of their own. So Perry has considerately set up a "fun-sized" Lollapalooza area, Kidzapalooza. This way, thirtysomething parents can come see Nine Inch Nails and Rage Against The Machine (both old-school Lolla back from back in the day, incidentally) while their accompanying tykes can spend a day developing an early, and likely lifelong, love of rock 'n' roll.
The valuable message here: You're never too young, or too old, to rock!
Perry's concert program guide promised that Kidzapalooza would be "every bit as fun as the 'grown-up' festival"--but honestly, it was almost more fun. Along with breakdancing lessons, an arts & crafts section where kids could make their own musical instruments out of recycled materials and design their own CD covers, a double-Dutch jump-roping area, a mobile recording studio in which up-and-coming Ricky Rubins could create their own original MP3s, and "Shred Seminars" at which aspiring guitar gods could jam with pro musicians, this little rockers' playground paradise (the most shaded area of Grant Park) also came equipped with...
...a Paul Frank-branded temporary-tattoo parlor:
...a hip-hop workshop where lil' MCs could rock the mic, learn to beatbox, and give shoutouts to their mommies:
...hands-on music-lessons at the "School Of Rock Petting Zoo" with Paul Green from the rockumentary Rock School:
...a punk-rock kiddie "hairdooz" salon:
...and even a "press tent" where budding music journalists could practice their interview techniques (gulp--for that day when they come gunning for my job):
Some grown-up rockers got in on the act, too. Jeff Tweedy from Saturday headlining band Wilco played a kid-friendly set that was so crowded with fans from ages 4 to 40, it might have been the most difficult-to-see Friday gig apart from Radiohead's. (Don't worry, concerned parents: Jeff switched up the lyrics of Wilco's "Heavy Metal Drummer" to make it G-rated.)
And the Bowie-sanctioned, hipster-friendly tween indie-rock duo Tiny Masters Of Today (aka 14-year-old Ivan and his 12-year-old sister, Ada) served as role models for all the not-that-much-younger kids in the audience. And the kiddos all shouted along to Lolla-appropriate Tiny Masters lyrics like "Music makes me feel so fine/music makes me lose my mind!"
But the kids really jumped around when TMON covered House Of Pain's "Jump Around":
So awesome to see, at any age.
You know, I wish Kidzapalooza had existed back when I was a young and impressionable rock fan, back when all gigs seemed to be frustratingly 18-and-over and my parents never wanted to take me to concerts. But that's OK. Because years later--my childhood far behind me, but my love of rock 'n' roll still as fresh and unjaded as it was when I was in 6th grade--I still found myself having so much fun at Kidzapalooza, I wanted to stay there all afternoon.
Then I saw this sign:
Oh well, what can I say? I'm still a rock 'n' roll kid at heart.