Lollapalooza, the new kid on the block looks here to stay
Almost exactly 50 years ago a dairy farm near White Lake in Bethel, New York
State play host to what would become the mother of all music festivals, Woodstock. Jimi Hendrix et alwould provide the blueprint for what has today become a multi-million-dollar industry and for many a defining part of growing up.
It was worth bearing in mind just how much has changed from those chaotic days as fans milled around the enormous field in Gärdet, central Stockholm in readiness for the premiere of the American traveling festival, Lollapalooza. It may be 30-something these days, but the franchise’s first foray on Scandinavian shores certainly did enough to suggest that it won’t be the last, thanks, surely to the kids. Anecdotally, the average age of the crowd was one of the lowest seen for many years at a major Scandinavian festival.
Stockholmers, especially the younger ones, need a good festival. Festivals have become a rite of passage for teens the world over in recent years, but in the Swedish capital, since the ignominious scrapping of Bråvallen a few years ago, the opportunity was there to be filled.
With Live Nation at the helm, a good line up was a given – as it had to be, to justify a ticket price certainly in the upper reaches. To their credit, the organizers provided a fine bill, blending huge international acts and headline staples such as the Foo Fighters and Lana Del Ray, with others aimed squarely at attracting the younger audience, not least Billie Eilish and Travis Scott to name but two.
The success of Way Out West in Sweden’s second city hasn’t gone unnoticed in the capital, and although in some ways a festival where you don’t camp rather dilutes the “experience” it may well point to a way forwards, with regard to the problems that would ultimately put paid to the aforementioned Bråvalla event. Lollapalooza, in contrast, felt like a smoothly run, safe, perhaps almost sanitized experience (Woodstock it most certainly wasn’t), but if it is to become a regular part of the calendar a problem-free debut was essential – in this respect once again, it more than delivered.
The fact that the audience in the most part was so young lent the entire weekend an almost celebratory feel. Three days of sunshine certainly helped as well, but what of the future? Initial reports immediately after the wrap suggest that “Lolla” is a given for next year at least in Stockholm. To justify the weighty ticket prices, Live Nation is aware that another A-list bill will be a prerequisite, but what Sweden’s first ever Lollapalooza did prove, was that the appetite from the fans is there. And crucially, if the premiere was anything to go by, a new generation of festival lovers is ready to lap it up once more.
Published: September 2, 2019