As Chicago prepares for the 20th edition of Lollapalooza next weekend, here are 10 notes about music festivals:
1 Creedence Clearwater Revival was the first big-name band lined up for Woodstock, the mother of all rock music festivals. The group's signing encouraged others to appear at the 1969 event, but Creedence ended up with a lousy time slot: about 1:30 a.m., after the Grateful Dead. Said Creedence frontman John Fogerty: "Wow, we got to follow the band that put a half a million people to sleep."
2 The name of the Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tenn., came from Dr. John's album "Desitively Bonnaroo," a title based on New Orleans slang. "Desitively" is a combination of "definitely" and "positively"; bonnaroo is an amalgam of two French words, "bon" and "rue," meaning the best on the streets.
3 The end of the Franco-Prussian War was celebrated with a music fest in Boston, of all places. Officials built a special coliseum for the World's Peace Jubilee and International Musical Festival of 1872, where composer Johann Strauss conducted about 17,000 singers and an orchestra of 1,500.
4 Kris Kristofferson's 1969 appearance at the Newport Folk Festival, one of his first breaks as a performer, was arranged by the late country legend Johnny Cash. Kristofferson made an impression on Cash by landing a helicopter on his lawn and handing him a demo tape.
5 Live Aid begat Farm Aid. Bob Dylan was performing at the Philadelphia portion of the huge 1985 festival, which was intended to benefit the starving peoples of Ethiopia, when he said he hoped some of the money could go to help the American farmer. Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof was furious and said Dylan's plea "was crass, stupid and nationalistic." Just two months later, the first Farm Aid concert took place in Champaign.
6 U2's legendary performance at Live Aid is widely credited with launching the Irish band to super stardom. But at the time, it was a disaster. After Bono left the stage for more than two minutes during an unplanned 13-minute rendition of "Bad" and danced with fans, U2 didn't have time to play their third song. The rest of the band was so angry they asked Bono to quit. "I thought I'd made a big mistake," Bono said. "I went out and drove for days. … And when I got back, I found people were saying the bit they remembered was U2."
7 Supermodel Kate Moss booted up the popularity of Hunter Wellies when she sported the rugged footwear at the muddy Glastonbury music festival in Britain in 2005. Fashionistas interviewed by Canada's Globe and Mail say this summer's fest faves include feathers, scarves and floppy hats, such as the one worn recently by Rihanna at the annual music festival Coachella in California.
8 Our nomination for best fest name: Blistered Fingers, a bluegrass event in Maine. Possibly the worst-named: a Kansas festival called Kanrocksas.
9 Milwaukee's Summerfest, which bills itself as the world's largest music festival, was nearly silenced on opening day in 2006. An electrocuted falcon caused a three-hour power failure, rendering numerous electric guitars useless. That didn't stop the University of Wisconsin-Madison marching band, which didn't need artificial amplification. The students played an impromptu show that included "Roll Out the Barrel."
10 Britain's tallest teen girl, Jessica Pardoe, who was described by the Sunday Mirror as "6 foot 9 inches in bare feet," told the newspaper earlier this month: "I love going to music festivals, and it's great to be able to see over everyone's heads."
Mark Jacob is a deputy metro editor at the Tribune; Stephan Benzkofer is the paper's weekend editor.
Sources: "Music of the Gilded Age" by John Ogasapian and N. Lee Orr; "Woodstock: Three Days That Rocked the World" by Mike Evans and Paul Kingsbury; "Alternative Rock" by Dave Thompson; "Back to the Garden: The Story of Woodstock and How It Changed a Generation" by Pete Fornatale; "Hollywood Songsters, Volume 2" by James Robert Parish and Michael R. Pitts; "Chicago Neighborhoods and Suburbs" by Ann Durkin Keating; New York Times; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Sunday Mirror; Globe and Mail; newportfolkfest.net
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