At a time when large-scale music festivals were a rarity in the U.S., an event that featured lesser-known acts in a carnival-like atmosphere was a radical development. “People in the industry didn’t really have confidence in it,” Gibby Haynes, frontman of Lollapalooza ’91 performers Butthole Surfers, told Spin. “Perry knew it would work out.”
Farrell’s confidence proved to be well placed; Lollapalooza quickly became a cultural institution, touring across the U.S. each summer. The event grew to encompass multiple stages, welcomed established bands like Metallica and the Smashing Pumpkins and introduced under-the-radar (at the time) acts like Rage Against the Machine, Sonic Youth and Pearl Jam to audiences across the nation.
By the time Lollapalooza went on an extended hiatus after its 1997 tour, it had laid the groundwork for America’s impending music fest boom by making a case for the festival as an experience. “It’s not just about one asshole who wants you to idolize him,” Farrell says. “It’s about a movement. It’s about the sound of a generation.”