For years, Perry Farrell has championed electronic music at Lollapalooza, whether it was booking Nine Inch Nails at the very first Lolla, Orbital and Prodigy on the ill-fated ’97 trek, or any number of DJs he’s nabbed to appear on his Perry’s Stage when the fest returned to Chicago (to say nothing of his short-lived ENIT fest, which basically was one giant electro party … 15 years too early).
But this year, in a move that reflects the burgeoning appeal of EDM here in the states, electronic acts finally make the leap to the main stage, as both Justice and Avicii have been booked alongside headliners the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack White, Black Sabbath and the Black Keys. And, of course, Perry’s Stage will be back, too … only this year, it’s understandably bigger than ever before.
“Well, dance music is a passion of Lollapalooza,” Farrell told MTV News. “We have a stage called Perry’s that became a tent, and I told them ‘Don’t put a tent on that thing, it’s going to burst at the seams’ … and sure enough it has. We don’t have a Perry’s tent anymore; Perry’s area, however, is in the wide open, under the stars and the moon and you can dance amongst the trees.”
And in a lot of ways, that seems to reflect Farrell’s purest desire for Lollapalooza. Ever since it began, he’s envisioned it as a sort of free-flowing, communal Utopia, with minds being expanded and consciences lifted to the strains of electronic music. And it’s just one of the things he’s most proud of with Lolla ’12, which reflects the fest’s expansion to South America and its growing presence on the international stage. Of course, none of that would mean anything if he didn’t succeed in putting together a world-class festival, and this year, he feels he’s definitely accomplished that.
“When I go to speak to [festival] producers around the world, I say to them ‘Our ambition is to bring international lifestyle and music to your country; are you in, or are you out?’ And no one has said no, so far,” he explained. “But I end up finding out that, as we go in there, thinking that we know everything, we find these beautiful discoveries. For example, in Brazil, we find O Rappa, which is a group that are as badass as NWA. We find in Chile, a group like Los Jaivas, who are as deep and soulful as Black Sabbath [both bands are on the Lolla ’12 bill]. So we all are teaching each other and learning from each other … and I feel like the world is becoming one big musical family.”