No, folks, I am not having a mid-life crisis! I am simply helping maintain what has become a long-standing family tradition, arguably as significant to us as traditional national holidays like the 4th of July and Thanksgiving! The Sarchets have been enjoying Lollapalooza for over 10 years. My sons, ages 24 and 18 have grown up attending concerts by such performers as Green Day, The Black Keys, Eminem, Foo Fighters, Common, Kanye West, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queens of the Stone Age, Metallica and Paul McCartney, just to name a few.
If I held any pre-conceived notions of what the well-branded festival experience would entail, they were quickly dispelled by the realization that the "Lolla" crowd is extremely diverse, intelligent, and shares a common priority: music is important. Attendees eagerly pay top dollar to satisfy their thirst for new and adventurous musical experiences.
Lollapalooza is notable for its many large performance areas, plus a "Kidzapalooza" stage. There are games, hammocks in the shade, picnic tables, comfy seating areas, boutique vendors, and tents with free trinkets (think bracelets, fans, refrigerator magnets, selfies being broadcast immediately on social media). Even the Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Bulls maintain a presence.
This exciting and vibrant three-day festival runs from 11am-10pm each day; a temporary escape from daily routine that carries with it a freedom of expression in dress and music that harkens back to the late Sixties. The Lollapalooza experience can be quite an endurance marathon if one spends the entire time soaking up the atmosphere. There are in/out privileges, so a break at the Palmer House lobby, Starbucks, Pizano’s or the Art Institute (a Lollapalooza partner), is a welcome respite for non-millennials. One can also purchase VIP and all-access passes that allow you to sit onstage during performances and socialize in air-conditioned sponsored tents, a more lavish experience.
From the promoter and sponsor standpoint, the success of Lollapalooza lies in the fact that young adults will spend every disposable dollar they can on contemporary music, a passion which carries on from generation to generation. “Lolla” fans LOVE music, and they love experiencing NEW things. Is it too big of a stretch to imagine a Lyric Opera presence at Lollapalooza, leading these voracious music fans on their life-long journey of discovery from popular music to jazz, classical, opera, and beyond? From my perspective as a “Lolla” lover and working musician it might just be worth the gamble!