There have been many events in the course of music history that has shaped how what becomes popular and what is deemed “proper” in terms of music we should be consuming. In 1991, Lollapalooza, a multi city touring festival in the United States, highlighting alternative culture changed how music was consumed from there on forward. With the popularity of the festival and the highlighting of the alternative culture it represented the music industry took note, not long after the festival and explosion of alternative music hit mainstream music culture. New bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots and bands who had been around awhile but had a smaller marginalized audiences such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers found mainstream success in a post Lollapalooza music environment. The affects of these bands are still resonating through the music that is listened to today, and without Lollapalooza there would have not been the event that signalled to the decision makers in the music industry that this kind of music could be popular to the masses.
This paper will discuss alternative music culture and Lollapalooza in a context of cultural analysis, drawing on the works of Raymond Williams, and Martha Gever . This paper will first explore what alternative music culture is, secondly this paper will discuss the importance of Lollapalooza to the alternative music culture movement, the second half of the paper will apply the concepts of the aforementioned authors to alternative music culture and Lollapalooza. Though this analysis this paper will unpack how alterative music culture can be used to illustrate how previously marginalized groups of people, such as those who were in the alternative music culture, can have their culture legitimized by the masses, but will also address the problems this legitimization can pose.
For the purposes of this paper, alternative music culture while has a wide definition will be focused on the music culture that was evident in Los Angeles between about 1985 until it became more mainstream in 1991. This centre of the culture in LA is important because most of the important record companies were and still are, based out of LA, since there was this centre of culture decision makers it’s not surprising that the city became a hot spot for musicians who wanted to become recognized. Also important is the sheer size of LA itself, any time you get a city as large as it is you get a wide variety of people living in a smaller area, communities come together and form various subgroups. One subgroup evident in LA at this time was those who fell outside the dominate music groups of the time, mainly, new-wave, hip-hop and hair metal (Mullen 2005). This subgroup was as varied as those who did not fall under the alternative heading, musically they could prescribe to anything from the funk roots of the Red Hot Chili Peppers to the 70’s influenced rock of Jane’s Addiction.
More importantly the people who...