Just as the 21st Lollapalooza was getting started in Chicago’s Grant Park, Billboard’s Jonathan Brooks had the opportunity to sit down with festival founder and Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell.
The rock icon had a lot to say about what it takes to make the festival happen each year, and how he manages to balance running Lollapalooza on top of being a DJ and touring rock ‘n’ roll frontman — “Sometimes I don’t sleep for days at a time,” he laughed.
One of the most noticeable changes to this year’s Lollapalooza is the sheer growth of Perry’s EDM-heavy stage, where Bassnectar drew a Friday crowd that rivaled those seen at the Black Keys’ and Black Sabbath’s headliner sets. Farrell has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to dance music, and this year he brought in big names, from Avicii to Calvin Harris to Justice.
“With dance it happens really, really fast. From one year to the next, there’s an artist — not just one, there’s two, there’s three, there’s four — probably four or five artists breaking this year. Whereas in alternative rock, maybe there might be one,” he said.
Although he usually finds time to DJ a set at Perry’s stage, this year he opted to step back and let artist like Bassnectar, NERO and Calvin Harris take the stage. “I don’t want to be known as the house band or the house DJ,” he explained. Instead, Farrell is taking fans off the Lolla grounds Saturday night, for the Jane’s Addiction aftershow at Aragon Ballroom.
“I want to elevate the idea of the afterparty,” Farrell said. “We end here at 10, but the curfew in Chicago is 4 a.m. So lt’s go and let’s have these incredible, special afterparties. Sure it’d be great to see another gig, but I’m not looking to just make another gig.” The Aug. 4 aftershow will have free booze and “scantily-dressed wood nymphs,” Farrell explained.