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'Lolla: The Story of Lollapalooza' Docuseries to Premiere on Paramount+

The film traces the festival's history from the 1990s to the present day.

Source: Paramount+

'Sick of Corporate': New doc looks back at Lolla's anti-mainstream roots.

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After a premiere at the Subdance Film Festival earlier this year, the multi-part docuseries, Lolla: The Story of Lollapalooza will begin streaming on Paramount+ starting in the U.S. and Canada on Tuesday, May 21 and on Wednesday, May 22 in the UK, Australia, Latin America, Brazil, France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The film also received an official trailer on May 6 -- check it out below.

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Lolla: The Story of Lollapalooza | Official Trailer | Paramount+

These days, Lollapalooza is one of the "big three" key dates on the U.S. festival calendar, touching down in Chicago for three days each summer. Yet its origins in the 1990s were far scrappier. In fact, the whole thing began with a breakup.

Conceived by Perry Farrell as a sort-of farewell to his band Jane's Addiction in 1991, Lollapalooza (named so by Farrell after discovering its antiquated definition as "an extraordinary or unusual thing, person, or event" or possibly a lollipop) went forth with collecting about 100 names ("May the best manager win!" said Farrell, not jokingly) to play a circus carnival music traveling showcase in the summer of 1991. As evidenced from several media outlet reports at the time – namely MTV – the festival start in Phoenix, Arizona was highlighted by the artist-cursing 100 degree plus temperature and the diversity of acts, including Siouxsie and the Banshees, Nine Inch Nails, Living Colour, Butthole Surfers, Rollins Band and Ice-T & Body Count.

Farrell also brought in the Jim Rose Circus Side Show, an alternative freak show, and Shaolin monks from China, alongside environmental and political groups who could provide activism and awareness.

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Source: © MTV UK/YouTube

MTV Attend The First Lollapalooza Festival in 1991 | MTV Vault

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By advancing what Farrell labeled the "Alternative Nation," the 21-date tour became an unexpected commercial success. And with that success came increased branding, higher ticket prices, and bookings of increasingly big-name bands. Nirvana, scheduled to play in 1994, famously opted out of headlining the tour when Kurt Cobain turned down the proposed $10 million offer. Farrell began to withdraw from festival operations in 1996 when he left to focus on his electronic music festival called ENIT. That year's booking of Metallica as a headliner seemed to many as a step away from the festival's initial premise. Farrell quit the whole thing in protest and Lollapalooza died an unglamorous death in 1998.

Source: PYMCAUIG / Universal Images Group/Newscom/The Mega Agency

The man behind the mayhem: Perry Farrell, 1991.

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Despite failed attempts to resuscitate Lolla in 2003 and 2004, it was the introduction to stage a revamped festival in Grant Park in Chicago for 2005 for two days in August that saw the event come back to life. Since then, Lollapalooza has kept a permanent home there, with more acreage, more variety and stages and maybe reluctantly for those original attendees, blockbuster names to perform: Lady Gaga, Green Day, Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish and the expansion into multiple countries including India, Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Germany.

Source: ℗ © Universal Music Corp., Last Frontier, Drup/Billie Eilish/YouTube

Billie Eilish - Billie Bossa Nova (Live from Lollapalooza Brazil 2023)

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"When a car is going real, real fast, it gets harder to jump out," Farrell says in the trailer.

Lolla: The Story of Lollapalooza features commentary from Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello, Metallica's Lars Ulrich, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea, Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor, Ice-T, Jessica Hopper, Chance the Rapper, and more.


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