Corporate Sponsors May Be Key To Lollapalooza's Return

Organizers hope funds will help secure A-list acts for possible summer 2003 trek.

After five years in limbo, the Lollapalooza festival hopes to hit the concert trail this summer.

Organizers have posted a message on their Web site that features the event logo and the message, "Are you playin' with me?," and a source close to the organizing committee said it's in talks with bands and promoters.

Last April, Lollapalooza planned to lift off but stalled because organizers didn't leave enough time to secure a worthwhile lineup. This year they're considering seeking corporate sponsorship in order to afford the high rates charged by many A-list bands.

Between its 1991 launch and 1997, Lollapalooza was an annual affair that exposed fans to a range of artistic performances and cultural expression. In addition to showcasing top names in alternative rock, metal, industrial, rap, funk and rock, the tour featured booths that promoted counter-culture and political awareness.

The event was based on eclectic European music festivals like the ones in Reading and Glastonbury, England, which offer several days of entertainment on different stages. But instead of booking it as a single event, organizers wanted to take Lollapalooza across the country like a traveling circus.

Lollapalooza was the blueprint for package tours such as Warped, Ozzfest and Lilith Fair and established Jane's Addiction and Lollapalooza co-founder Perry Farrell as a generational spokesperson. It also became a part of the pop culture. "The Simpsons" paid tribute in one episode with a festival called Homerpalooza, and when Moby's Area One tour was launched two years ago it was jokingly referred to as "Moby-palooza."

The debut Lollapalooza was headlined by Jane's Addiction and included Nine Inch Nails, Butthole Surfers, Living Colour, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Ice-T's Body Count. Successive years featured a who's who of talent including Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, Primus, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hole, Cypress Hill and the Beastie Boys.

In 1997, the tour's final year, the lineup included Tool, Korn, Snoop Dogg, Tricky, Orbital, Eels and James (see "Lollapalooza Launches In Florida").