It’s been a wild ride for Lollapalooza — believe it or not, the music fest that started it all is turning 25 years old this year.
While it hasn’t always been entirely smooth sailing — it’s been brought back from the dead on more than one occasion — the fest is going stronger than ever these days, with 170 bands set to play over a four (yes, four!) day period, which began one day early today.
It’s a big change from the nine bands Jane’s Addiction frontman and founder Perry Farrell started playing with in 1991, when he created the fest as a traveling farewell tour complete with sideshow acts. Now it has a stable home in Chicago, where it’s set up permanent shop since 2005, if you don’t count the internationally expanded fests in Berlin, São Paolo, Buenos Aires and Santiago. In honor of the fest’s transformation, here’s what you can expect to see at the big anniversary celebration:
1. More shows. Typically billed as a two- or three-day festival, this is the first time in the fest’s history that it will run as a four-day showing. “It’s our 25th anniversary and we really wanted to do something special and different for our fans,” Perry said. “There [was] a lot of really great music coming out in 2016 [and] we got to thinking, ‘How are we going to fit all those great artists in one weekend?’ So we put together an entire additional day of music to celebrate our milestone year,” he explained. And as for those that normally work on Friday? Hey, as he puts it, “When the party can’t wait for the weekend, the movers and shakers make it happen on Thursday!” Fair enough, Perry. (Photo via Theo Wargo/Getty)
2. Branded merchandise. There will be puh-lenty of merch on hand to mark the special occasion: The fest has collaborated with everyone from jewelry heavyweights Alex & Ani to create a special Lollapalooza Charm Bangle ($28) to Bucketfeet with their Chi-Line Sneakers ($39) to Budweiser to make a special Bud Light can (!). Serious collectors can get their fill at the official LollaShop (set up near Buckingham Fountain), chock full of tees, hats, fanny packs, skateboards, signed Perry posters and exclusive headliner merch from Radiohead and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. (Photo via Alex & Ani)
3. Special fest features. The fest itself will have a few new additions this year in honor of its big 2-5: namely, a “Time Warp” monument that will highlight performers from shows past for all you nostalgics out there. Also new this year? The addition of “bodegas,” which will house all things necessary for a successful fest, from that Chapstick you left in your other purse to the (likely needed!) poncho when it starts to rain. It will also house snacks like trail mix, so that you might skip the lines over at Chow Town when you just need to snag something light. (Photo via Roger Kisby/Getty)
4. Familiar faces. In a wave of nostalgia, the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be making fest history when they hit the stage as headliners for their fourth time, becoming the most frequent performer Lollapalooza has ever seen. Radiohead is also returning to the fest, having played it in 2008, as are Halsey (2015), Silversun Pickups (2007, 2009) and Jane’s Addiction (1991, 2003, 2009). Our ‘90s favorites Third Eye Blind will be on hand, as well as top acts like Lana del Rey, Ellie Goulding, HAIM and more. (Photo via Larry Busacca/Getty)
5. Lots of mud. With thunderstorms on the forecast for several of the lineup’s four days, it’s shaping up to be one drizzly, muddy event. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! (Photo via Theo Wargo/Getty)
Are you excited to celebrate 25 years of Lolla? Tag us in your posts @BritandCo.
(Photo via Theo Wargo/Getty)