Sunday, August 06, 2006

Lollapalooza in the Omniculture

The Lollapalooza festival of "alternative" music is drawing huge crowds in Chicago this weekend. Reuters reports:

Thousands of concert-goers, mostly in their 20s, returned to Chicago's lakefront Grant Park on Saturday as the three-day music festival Lollapalooza resumed after drawing more than 50,000 people on Friday night.

Billed as one of the city's largest music events ever, the festival is expected to draw about 150,000 people by the time it ends on Sunday.

I put quotes around the word alternative because the very popularity of the music indicates that it is a mainstream part of the culture, no longer—if it ever was—some sort of fringe phenomenon. Scheduled performers such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kanye West, the Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth, and Manu Chao are anything but obscue, and 130 music acts in total are scheduled to perform at the festival.

It's a great example of what happens in what I call the Omniculture, where the counterculture continuously becomes the culture. If you want to know what is going to surround you tomorrow in American culture, look at what is on the fringes today.

From Karnick on Culture.

1 comment:

Kathy Hutchins said...

A long time ago, my savvy California husband pointed out to me that the adjective "alternative" when applied to music simply means "what the angst-driven white high school kids in AP classes are listening to." In the 15 years since he said this, I've seen no contradictory evidence.