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Steve Sartori

Syracuse University music history professor Theo Cateforis shows off some favorite album covers in his office.

The Arts


BMAC presents online talk on history of Lollapalooza

BRATTLEBORO—The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) presents “Lollapalooza Nation: The Rise of Alternative Rock in the 1990s,” a free online talk by music historian Theo Cateforis, on Thursday, Sept. 16, at 7:30 p.m. Register at

Painter John Newsom, who curated the current BMAC exhibit “Expedition,” has cited Lollapalooza as one source of inspiration for the group shows he organizes.

The groundbreaking festival transformed the music scene in the 1990s, when Newsom was a student at Rhode Island School of Design.

“When Perry Farrell made the announcement that he was forming Lollapalooza, he said his main motivation was to get a bunch of his friends’ bands together and rock out! Including his own. It was a new model for a festival,” Newsom said in a news release.

“The energy was different,” he continued. “This wasn’t an events manager from a record label putting a market-driven lineup together. It was the lead singer of one of the wildest rock bands out there jamming with his friends.”

“Because Farrell came to the project as a participant as much as an organizer, I dare say it added a certain level of authenticity to the whole dynamic,” Newsom said. “That made a huge impression on me, and it’s the model I use when I organize group shows.”

Cateforis is the author of the 2011 book Are We Not New Wave?: Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s and editor of the 2019 volume The Rock History Reader. He will discuss the forces that gave rise to Lollapalooza, and he will examine its lasting legacy a quarter of a century later.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #629 (Wednesday, September 8, 2021). This story appeared on page B3.

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