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Bio : Perry Farrell
Over the past three decades, Perry Farrell has made his name as a cutting-edge singer and songwriter (inspiring an entire generation of bands, including Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, and Nine Inch Nails, with the Grammy-nominated Jane’s Addiction), an electronic music artist and producer, a visual artist, and an environmental and social activist. He is also well-known as the larger-than-life founder, curator, and self- proclaimed host of the groundbreaking music and lifestyle festival Lollapalooza, which has established him not only as the most culturally impactful music icon of his era but also a business savvy sharp-shooter, albeit not a typical one.
Farrell’s mind doesn’t focus solely on the money, but realizes a project’s artistic success first, secondly, if it draws people’s attention, then the money will follow to plow it back into something even bigger and better.
The only major promoter who is actually a prominent musician, Farrell has always had a golden ear. An early adopter of everything from punk rock to electronic dance music, his flawless taste and ability to detect shifts in youth culture have transformed Lollapalooza from its years as a chaotic traveling circus (which gave huge national exposure to such alternative acts as Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, Hole, and Green Day) into the best-attended stand-alone music and lifestyle event in the country, paving the way for such niched tours as Ozzfest, Lilith Fair, H.O.R.D.E., and the Warped Tour, followed by Bonnaroo and Coachella (where Farrell performs in some musical incarnation each year).
Now in its 25th year, and eleventh in downtown Chicago’s Grant Park (its home since becoming a threeday weekend event in 2005), Lollapalooza draws more than 270,000 fans and 130 artists to its eight stages (including a massively popular 20,000-capacity electronic music tent where festival-goers can take in the latest in cutting-edge dance artists and marquee-name DJ’s), as well as art galleries and gourmet food. Through attention to detail, Farrell and his partner, independent concert promotion company C3 Presents, have revolutionized the festival industry.
Farrell innovated ideas that have now become a standard part of the festival-going experience. Lollapalooza was not only the first to bring together artists from a wide range of musical genres on one bill, it was also the first to travel, the first to expand to multiple days, the first to introduce a second stage, the first to accept sponsorship (enabling it to add more acts), the first to blend art and activism (Rock the Vote, Surfrider, and Greenpeace all enjoyed early national platforms thanks to Lolla), the first to offset its carbon emissions, the first to put electronic dance music artists on the main stage, the first to create offshoots (such as the family-friendly Kidzapalooza), and the first to expand internationally. Lollapalooza Chile, which launched in 2011, attracted 100,000 people over two days at the end of March 2012, while the inaugural Lollapalooza Brazil hosted more than 140,000 over its two days this past April.
Lollapalooza is also the first music festival to make its home in an urban city center. C3 Presents estimates that the festival’s economic impact on the city is well over $100 million each year, thanks to hotel bookings, restaurant and bar traffic, and temporary and full-time employment for thousands of local residents. Partnering with the city has allowed Farrell and his team to create programs that benefit Chicago in a myriad of ways, including the improvement and beautification of the city’s parks through a partnership with the Chicago Park District, as well as generating extra revenue for local nightspots through officially sanctioned after-parties.
Farrell’s efforts and accomplishments were recognized by Billboard magazine when they presented Farrell with its inaugural Apple Award, which is given to “a visionary artist or touring professional who goes the extra mile in making sure fans enjoy an exemplary concert experience.” The award was created in honor of the late concert promoter Bill Graham, whom Farrell considered a mentor and who was an early personal and financial supporter of Lollapalooza.
In 2012, Farrell founded and launched Immersive Artistry, serving as Partner and Chief Visionary. Immersive Artistry is an innovative location based entertainment business that transports audiences in worlds, time periods, and unique environments, adding the ability to fully explore using all of their senses.