Photo by Maclay Heriot

Lollapalooza: 25 Years of Music

(Feature Photo by Maclay Heriot)

Lollapalooza first became a part of the festival circuit 25 years ago in 1991. It began as a touring festival by Jane’s Addiction frontman, Perry Farrell, and has since developed into a world-renowned music event that provides a stage to some of the most influential musicians of our time. It has taken place in different countries around the world but its current and most notable home is at Grant Park in Chicago. In honor of 25 years, Farrell added a fourth day to festival and was set to take place from July 28 – 31, 2016.

As music festival enthusiasts, Lily and I, knew we had to attend.  We had never been to Lollapalooza and it was definitely on our music festival bucket list. This year’s musical acts, the 25-year anniversary, and the added fourth day provided us with more motivation for us to attend – and off we went to Chicago.

Location and Layout of Lollapalooza        
This year, an estimated 400k people were in attendance. With such a huge quantity of people, festival organizers needed a large, widespread venue like Grant Park.  This iconic Chicago park is filled with grassy fields, a majestic water fountain, iconic monuments and borders Lake Michigan.

28701212505_ac8a4cc7f2_z
Photo by Maclay Heriot

There were 3 blocks of the park that were sectioned off for the music festival. The area was occupied with 8 different stages, various vendors, and VIP sections. The stages were strategically placed so that there was enough space in between stages to avoid sound clashing. However, in two areas there were two stages that occupied a space, one major stage and one minor stage. In this case strategic artists scheduling for set times was required to avoid any sound issues.

28595663751_24613df8cb_z
Photo by Charles Reagan Hackleman

List of new songs debuted at Lollapalooza (that we saw)
Flosstradamus, FKi 1st & graves – Came Up feat. Post Malone & KEY!
Radiohead – new songs off their brand new album A Moon Shaped Pool
Vic Mensa – two new songs off his upcoming LP, one featuring Joey Purp
Die Antwoord – Shit Just Got Real featuring Sen Dog and DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill plus a cover of Insane in the Brain

28033669714_06aa67f2a2_z
Photo by Cambria Harkey

28595660001_368010ef19_z
Photo by Greg Noire

28083899194_945f2c946c_z
Photo by Roger Ho

Favorite Set
There were many amazing sets from the weekend, which is to be expected from a momentous music event like Lollapalooza.  One of my favorite sets from the weekend was from a mainstream artist that I did not plan on seeing but decided to check out last minute.  That artist was J.Cole.  It was my first time seeing him live and to be honest, I only knew his songs that were played on mainstream radio. When we walked over to the stage and you heard his voice in the distance, you could hear the passion and feel his energy.  The tone of his voice acted as an emotional guide as it led you into the right mindset of the next song. He truly opened himself up not only as a musician but also as a human being.

28523110602_97d5715cf0_z
Photo by Greg Noire

Most Common Theme of Lolla – Peace and Unity
Of the select sets that we were able to make our way to, there seemed to be a common theme amongst many of them. J.Cole, Major Lazer, Vic Mensa, and Die Antwoord all discussed the topic of unity amongst people no matter their race, gender, religion, or age.  They each made it a point to say that peace is the ultimate goal and that we all need to make an effort to help reach this goal.  I found this very important and touching because part of being an artist is creating but the other part is about having something important to say.  In today’s world, this message has never been more important.

28366397930_d9a8918c66_zPhoto by Roger Ho

Favorite Attendee
Lollapalooza is an all ages event.  You have a wide array of groups from only young adults to families to only groups of parents.  Of all the people that I saw at the event, one person stood out to me the most.  During Future’s set on Friday, there was a little boy on top of his dad’s shoulders and was most likely around 4 to 6 years old.  At first, I thought the dad wanted to see Future but since they were so close to the front, he put his son on his shoulders so that the boy could see and also avoid being trampled.  As I watched the pair, I knew that wasn’t the case.  This little boy knew EVERY SINGLE WORD to Future’s set. He was dancing and raising his hands. This little boy could not have been happier.  There is something about seeing the enthusiasm on a young child’s face that I just love.

Favorite Chow Town Stand – Momofuku Milk Bar
I have heard many great things about Momofuku Milk Bar over the years. I have never been able to try it due to the fact that they are located in New York, Washington DC and Toronto. When I saw that they would be a part of Chow Town at Lollapalooza I had to check it out. Momofuku is known for its cakes, shakes and baked treats created by James Beard Foundation award winning chef Christina Tosi. At the Lolla stand they offered a variety of cookies and crack pie. We decided to try the crack pie and a cornflake-chocolate-chip-marshmallow cookie. Both were delicious but the crack pie was like nothing else I’ve tried before. I am not a fan of fruit pies. This is totally different. It is a cold gooey cookie pie with a butter filling and a toasted oat crust. If you have a sweet tooth, I highly recommend giving it a try. Luckily for those of us who live on the West Coast, Milk Bar announced they will be opening a location in Las Vegas at the Cosmopolitan in the near future.

Favorite Random Moment – Chalk Art
While walking through the event grounds on day 3, we came across a random group of people who brought chalk into the festival. We aren’t sure if they were permitted by the festival or not, but there they were, drawing on the ground. A giant rainbow that encompassed “Lolla Love,” was the primary focal point along with a colorful heart.  This random piece of art on the floor seemed to brighten up the festival that much more. Anyone who walked by smiled at the sight of it.

IMG_5949

Least Favorite Part of Lollapalooza – 1-Hour Entry Wait Period
No matter what festival you attend, there will be issues. It is practically unavoidable at any large-scale event. The main issue for us at Lollapalooza was the entry period, especially on Saturday.  There were only two entry points for the festival for 400,000 people. The event did try to alleviate some of the crowd through the CitiPass and VIP entries, but it was not enough. Those who did not have a Citibank account or VIP passes had to suffer in the heat and humidity with other sweaty bodies touching theirs.  Luckily, we were in the Mid-West and not in LA. If this happened in LA, I know everyone would push and mob to the front.  Since everyone is nice in the Mid-West, that didn’t happen. I did have a brief flashback to my time in Germany for the last Love Parade.  The festival organizers only had one giant entryway. There was a mass panic, which ultimately led to a stampede, many people dying, and the end of the festival.  All I kept thinking to myself was, “this better not be a repeat of Germany.” The limited entries led to a massive crowd, which led to an hour-long wait. I could deal with a massive crowd or a long wait but not both at the same time.

28572104391_d01ce19cf6_z
Photo by Charles Reagan Hackleman

HELPFUL HINT: If you ever find yourself in the situation mentioned above, you need to be smart and aware of the potential dangers.  There can be a mass panic or some people may push through to the front. Either situation can lead to you being trampled.  To avoid this potential danger, stand closest to the side that provides a way for you remove your body from the crowd as quick as possible.  In the case of Lollapalooza, we stood by the side with the fence barricade. We could simply climb over it if we found ourselves in a dangerous situation.

Post Lolla Grub Spot – Shake Shack
Every night, after the festival was over, we had to regain our energy before we could continue.  Our favorite spot – was Shake Shack! Lily had been there before and told me I had to go. Since I had never been and was already craving a burger, we decided to go. Even though we had to wait in line for about 30 minutes or so and the two girls behind me kept coming a little too close into my personal space, it was still worth it. All I have to say is, if you have never been to Shake Shack, you really should go because it is absolutely delicious! It is now one of my favorite post music festival meals.

Post Lolla Bar – Buddy Guy’s Legends Bar
There were many after party shows with artists that played at Lollapalooza but unfortunately the shows we wanted to attend were sold out.  As a result, after eating we headed out to the bars near Grant Park.  First on our list was Buddy Guy’s Legends.  Buddy Guy is one of my favorite blues guitarists and I have had the honor of seeing him perform in Hollywood.  I wanted to check out his blues bar and it sure lived up to the hype.  It was one giant room with 2 bars, one on each end, and reserved table seating in the middle.  The main act for the night was the Nikki Hill band and she sure rocked the house. At the end, I was able to score a free shirt and I also bought one for my dad because he is the one that introduced me to Buddy Guy in the first place.

28595666491_94585e6690_z
Photo by Charles Reagan Hackleman

Lollapalooza was a fun experience especially since it was our first big music festival experience in the Mid-West.  There was even something beautiful to be seen when the event ended.  All you could see was the youth of Chicago taking over the streets for blocks in every direction.  As people tried to find their way home or to their hotels, you walked by people trying to hustle, street drummers that started a dance mob, and people just singing on the street.  After all, that’s what a music festival does, it breathes life into the people that attend and they breathe it back into the city.

Flosstradamus Talks Soundclash EP, Helicopters and Their HDYNATION Take Over

During Coachella Weekend 2, Josh Young (J2K) and Curt Cameruci (Autobot) of Flosstradamus sat downand spoke with Ms. Indigo Jones and WOLFshoes about their new Soundclash EP, HDYNation tour, helicopters, and vitamins.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You’re releasing your Soundclash EP on 4/20. What can we expect from the EP?

Josh: “The whole concept behind the EP is just collaborations. So we’ve done that a lot in the past with other artists and stuff but this was something where we set out to put together a whole collection of music, because a lot of times we release songs individually, like one song at a time. We put together a whole 6 song EP that’s built off of collaborating with other artists and taking the strengths from us as well as other people and putting them together. So it’s truthfully a sound clash and mixing of different types of styles and different types of sounds.

HDYFest will be your Soundclash EP release party. Is there a specific reason why you chose Austin, Texas as the location for the event and will it differ from the HDYNation tour?

Josh: “Yeah it’s going to differ from HDYNation tour in a sense that HDYNation Tour was a really big, massive stage set up, kind of the biggest production that we’ve done so far. This is going to be something a little more scaled back and more fun, kind of just on a block party vibe. So we’re just really trying to do something that mimics the feel that you get when you’re just hanging out and listening to music with friends and just kind of turning up in the back yard of Stub’s BBQ. The reason we chose Austin is because we love Austin. We haven’t played there in ages. We missed SXSW this year because we were on tour in Australia so we thought it would be a really good place to do it. It’s 4/20 so it’ll be nice to hang out in one of the best music cities in the world and smoke some weed.”

What’s it been like teaming up with Virgil Abloh to create the interactive set design for your HDYNation tour?

Curtis: “It’s good man, all the stuff we do with him, we design everything so we do the clothing, set design, music, everything you know. We’re hands on. He toured with us the year before on our IRL tour and so we were always just shooting ideas back and forth. When it came to do this tour, it was kind of the same thing. We just got on a few calls. He had done the Yeezus tour and designed all of that, and he also designed Travi$ Scott’s tour and a lot of other people’s so he was just spitballing with us and we just kind of came together and created it all. It was all-natural. He’s from Chicago as well so it was just second nature to do it with him.”

If you were given an unlimited budget, no laws applied, just free range to do whatever you would like at a show/ tour, what would you like to do?

Josh: “There’s a lot of ideas we’ve had over the past few years that have been shut down for several reasons. Whether it’d be illegal, or too expensive but most of them involve helicopters, so I’m going to say that if we had unlimited budget and no rules applied we would probably do something involving lots of helicopters.”

Do you have any touring rituals?

Josh: “Absolutely, this guy,” pointing to Curtis, “is more on the ritual side of things so you can shed some light on that.”

Curtis: “Yeah, yeah, I take vitamins wherever I go and I just keep myself regular because we’re in different time zones and all over the place. Then every morning I get coffee, like I have to have a coffee whenever we travel. It’s actually kind of a cool way to explore cities and stuff too because you have to go hunt for this coffee shop by a cool park or something on the way, so that’s definitely part of being on the road, touring. As for show rituals, nah, I mean I like to be really prepared right until the last minute before we go on. It’s just my thing.”

Josh: “Yeah, he’ll definitely work on the set until the last minute. Even if he doesn’t have to, he’ll just kind of get in that zone because that gets him, I think, in the headspace to work on it. It freshens his memory. I like to do the opposite. I like to just get away from it for a minute and just get my energy up, and start to try and get myself hyped up and get myself emotionally ready to go on stage.”

In a billboard article, David Guetta mentioned that you were his favorite act at Coachella. He also mentioned that after seeing your set and the energy you evoked from your fans, he altered his set list to incorporate more hip-hop. How does it make you feel when you hear things like that?

Curtis: “It’s an honor.”

Josh: “Yeah it makes us feel awesome. It’s good to know that the set is being well received and that also, it’s influencing people that are some of the most influential musicians in the world right now. For us, every time we go out, we always try to do the best to bring the most energy that we possibly can to any stage and it’s always good to see people that are attracted to it who we wouldn’t expect in a million years to be attracted to it. I feel like David Guetta falls within those lines, where it’s like, we would never really imagine that he would be a fan of this but it’s cool to see it can even reach him and affect him in that way.”

What’s it like collaborating with ’47 brand to develop your own clothing line?

Curtis: “That’s been really good. ’47 Brand pretty much gave us free range to do anything we wanted, which was cool. We had a lot of ideas we wanted to do with our own thing, because we have our own clothing line that we do anyway but ’47 Brand was able to give us the higher quality materials, better production, and a lot more freedom that way. It was a good thing. We were able to make better quality stuff for our fans so it’s a good look.”

Josh: “It’s the first time we’ve collaborated it with a company on an entire line of clothing. Like we’ve done an item, like a one off item but it was cool because we did a one off item with them last year, like a couple hats. They came back this year and gave us free reign to do an entire line so that was pretty awesome. It felt like a little validation as a fashion entity outside of just music.”

You DJ’d the first Mad Decent Boat Party and will be part of the second. What was your favorite moment about Mad Decent Boat Party?

Curtis: “My favorite part was, not to be selfish, but it was our set. We played inside of the auditorium. Honestly we saw other sets that whole weekend, but something about that, the energy, like us and everyone on stage, the fans and just being contained in that bubble of that room, it didn’t feel like anything else that whole weekend, for me personally. So that was my personal favorite. Personal, personal favorite, to be able to turn down on the beach the next day was pretty good. Like to actually go to a beach and put my feet in some water.”

Josh: “Yeah that beach was awesome.”

When you first formed Flosstradamus, what were your original goals and how do they compare to where you are now?

Curtis: “Original goals when we first formed were just to throw a party and yeah just do a party in Chicago. That was the initial, very, very first thing. We were young kids trying to hook up with girls and just do the typical DJ thing when we were teenagers. Then we started to grow away from that- more opportunities came. We were able to travel. We had to quit our jobs. It kept snowballing and it got to the point where we had to take it a little more seriously and realized that this could be a really good career if we could work our asses off. Honestly, we’re still not where we need to be. There’s so much more I think we can achieve as Flosstradamus. It’s cool though to go along the whole ride and experience it.”

Do you have any advice for producers just starting out?

Josh: “Yeah, there’s a lot of trends to follow and it’s not to say that you don’t have to like ignore popular music but you have to try and carve your own path. That’s something we did for a long time, which was kind of like keep up with our contemporaries and play catch up with the music that was around us. It was when we decided to go in our own direction and literally make our own lane that was when things really turned around for us. We started to see sort of a different side of music.”

Flosstradamus Avalon 12/2012
Flosstradamus @ Avalon 12/2012. Photo taken by Lily Colovic.