Lollapalooza Brazil gets off to a bad start. What is Perry Farrell upto?

By 25 November, 2011

Rule Number One of a new festival is surely, don’t upset the locals. Well that’s exactly what Perry Farrell has done. In a recent interview with Folha de Sao Paulo – Brazilian’s biggest newspaper – he was quoted as saying that Brazilians are “uneducated about music.” Farrell claims he was misquoted, and may well be right, but he still said many other things in that interview which suggests that Lollapalooza and Brazil are not going to be the happiest of combinations.

First then, the quote in Folha de Sao Paulo. It was only three words but saying that Brazilians are “uneducated about music” really pissed a lot of people off, many of whom went to their Twitter accounts in frustration. Farrell’s comments appeared in after pre-sale ticketing for Lollapalooza had turned into a fiasco. The festival’s website crashed within minutes and hackers published personal information of ticket buyer’s online. Farrell supposedly blamed the incident on the country’s lack of experience with large music festivals.

Following that Farrell responded on Twitter saying he was misquoted. “Brazil, I NEVER SAID you were not educated in music! I called her this morning to confront her [the journalist behind the story]. I love and respect your culture and country,” he wrote, adding, “Unfortunately that writer took liberty & put words in my month. Invented things that I DID NOT say in order to cause a sensation.”

But, that is not all that Farrell should be worried about. Of more concern is the line-up for Lollapalooza Brazil. Alongside international acts like Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys and Bjork are a non-existent selection of local acts. Out of the local acts listed only O Rappa, Blubell and Sivuca seem of any worth to us. So, where are all the national acts?

One artist who was invited to perform was Lobão, a seasoned and hugely popular performed. He was ready to accept but then found he was getting pushed down the bill, being told by the organiser’s that all national acts would perform between 10am and 3pm and that only international acts would be on after 3pm, in the prime slots. Frustrated by being knocked down the bill he decided not to perform.

This decision by the festival’s organisers to only allow international acts to perform in anything approaching a decent time, and therefore essentially making Brazil’s best performers into warm-up acts for their international compatriots, is just one of the actions that have made Perry Farrell and Lollapalooza Brazil look very stupid.

In the same interview with Folha de Sao Paulo Farrell said “I am understand about Brazilian musicians now, like you’re all understanding about the international bands”, before then saying that he wasn’t aware of what the music of O Rappa sounded like, but did now that their singer was sexy. He then said “I hope that Lollapalooza brings the culture of festivals and international shows to Latin America. Oops, I mean to Brazil.”

All of these comments sound hollow, as if he is bringing international artists to an audience who have never experienced top artists from around the world before, who need to be educated in music from outside of their country. This is not the case. Plus, he really doesn’t seem to know the first thing about Brazil, and has made very little effort to understand it before coming to the country.

It is quite clear why Perry Farrell and Lollapalooza are coming to Brazil. It’s to come to a country with a burgeoning economy, where people have more money than they’ve had for a long time, and to try and dazzle them with a line-up of big hitters. Which is a real shame. If you take one look at the line-up for Lollapalooza Chile you’ll see an assortment of good Chilean artists and bands. Why can’t they show the same respect in Brazil?

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