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When it comes to music festivals, my "Old Crankypants" alter-ego tends to come out. The April arrival of the two-weekend Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival is essentially the start of festival season here in the U.S., and for the most part, the most high-profile fest in the country holds little interest for me. Sure, they score a few sweet headliners like GUNS 'N ROSES this year, and the mighty FAITH NO MORE a few years back, but the running joke of the dozens of bands slapped on the poster in an increasingly smaller font is just that - a joke. Then we have Lollapalooza here in Chicago, a fest I still haven't attended since it planted its flag on Illinois soil for a permanent run - preferring to remember it as a traveling carnival of awesome from the 90s. In fact, the only fest locally that I've been known to support 100% is RIOT FEST, but I will say that the upcoming Chicago Open Air has my attention (needs some Product of Hate, though). Cranky business in lineups aside, the amount of press releases that I receive each year about the culture surrounding Coachella is fascinating. There's usually two things being pitched - "VIP" packages that would be unaffordable for most ($25K-$50K), and fashion. A lot of fashion. On the latter note, I really have no gripes, which is why it's actually sort of cool to see that MGA Entertainment has issued a new series of "Music Festival Vibes" BRATZ dolls... though "Old Crankypants" does come back when it comes to BRATZ.

When July/August rolls around each year, I send out dozens of reply emails that have a variation on "No, I won't be attending Lollapalooza"/"I'm not covering Lollapalooza." Despite living in Chicago's Northern Suburbs, Lollapalooza for me is not the true Lollapalooza - the traveling festival that I was lucky enough to attend in the 1990s. In fact, Lollapalooza '93 was my first paid gig as a photographer, so there's a connection there. As a permanent, Chicago-based event, Lollapalooza just has not come up with a lineup compelling enough for me to attend. Sure, they drop in a handful of bands that I dig each year, but I'd never drop the money or deal with the hassle of attending the fest as it stands right now. Eventually, they might "wow" me, but for now, I'm in the RIOT FEST camp. Want to see a lineup that I can fully get behind? Look at RIOT FEST Chicago's schedule... not THAT is a lineup! As for Lollapalooza, there's highlights online every year from bands that I would dig seeing, and METALLICA is an example. Here's their highlight reel from Lollapalooza 2015 - complete with performances of "Wherever I May Roam" and "Am I Evil?" -- Old Crankypants

Published in Music News

KidzapaloozaIf you're heading out to Lollapalooza this weekend in Chicago and you have little ones along for the ride, the Kidzapalooza stage has some fine, family-friendly music from the likes of BRADY RYMER AND THE LITTLE BAND THAT COULD, PLAY DATE, SCHOOL OF ROCK and more. But this year, something special is happening - performances by the Chicago Kindie All-Stars on Friday (1:30pm) and Saturday (12:30pm) featuring some of the Windy City's best family music stars performing alongside THE HEARTBEATS, best-known as LAURA DOHERTY's backing band. How many All-Stars you ask? Six.

Published in Family Music

"It was my 27th birthday and my wife, Rebecca, had a wonderful little surprise for me that day. We had 'pulled the goalie' for about a month, so we were definitely trying to get pregnant," explains DANNY ADAMSON, rhythm guitarist and vocalist for Seattle's THE NOT-ITS!, while discussing the day he found out that he'd soon become a father for the first time. "She went and bought a little onesie or unisex baby outfit and wrapped it up like a birthday gift for me - I think she may have even included the pee test she took! It was a wonderful surprise - I was pretty excited when I found out." With THE NOT-ITS! gearing-up to release their fifth full-length album, RAISE YOUR HAND, on July 15, Adamson took some time to discuss his life as a "Rock Father" ahead of #RockFathersDay 2014.

Published in Rock Father's Day

"They’re part of the subject matter, have helped with songs and song titles and are my best critics," says POOCHAMUNGAS frontman JOHN JOYCE about his 9-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. The self-proclaimed "stay-at-home Firefighter Dad" wears many hats, flipping between his duties as a "Rock Father" and those of the Chicago Fire Department, where he's worked for nearly two decades. Now, ahead of Rock Father's Day 2014, it's just been announced that John is preparing to take the stage at Lollapalooza, a newly-minted member of the "Chicago Kindie All Stars," who will perform on the growing Kidzapalooza bill.

Published in Rock Father's Day

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