Not just for grown-ups anymore, Lollapalooza finds its family-friendly side

Call it punk-rock parenting, goo-goo for Gaga, or munchkins with mohawks.

If you go

All children under the age of 10 are admitted for free with a
ticket-holding adult. There is no limit to the number of kids one
can bring, but be warned: admission for multiple kids is granted at
the discretion of festival gate staff.

3 teachable moments at Lollapalooza

For those braving out the mainstages rather than the PG-rated
Kidzapalooza, you’re bound to field a few questions that, well,
you’d rather not amid the all-out insanity Lolla promises and
usually delivers. We thought we’d try to anticipate some of the
best, and point out a few teachable moments amid the madness.

  • “Mommy, what’s a pornographer?” A.C. Newman and his
    band of ridiculously talented bandmates take the stage Friday at 4
    p.m. While nothing about The New Pornographers’ music is actually
    pornographic — instead, its a distinct brand of indie power-pop
    that we think you’ll love — their name provides an excellent, if
    unprompted, chance to teach your children about the beauty of the
    First Amendment.

  • Just because Lady Gaga does it, doesn’t mean you can do
    it.
    This weekend is the perfect opportunity to draw for your
    child the first of many distinctions between her and a worldwide
    fabulous-if-slightly-off-her-rocker megastar. From bubble costumes to fake Spanish accents
    to statements that she’d rather faint of heatstroke than take off her
    leather
    , there are a lot of things Lady Gaga does that just
    aren’t okay for the rest of us. It’s not fair, but it’s a lesson
    she’s better learning now than later.

  • Why multiple, visible tattoos are a decision that should be
    made carefully – and sober.
    No better place than a rockfest to
    point out the decades-later results of poor tattoo decision-making.
    And for a hands-on application, take your kids over to the
    temporary tattoo tent over at the Kidzapalooza stage.

For the sixth year in a row,Lollapaloozais coming to Chicago this weekend, bringing more than 100 acts and a decidedly family-friendly approach to the craziest three days of the summer.

The fest showcases music for all tastes: nostalgia withSoundgarden,Green Day and Blues Traveler; world-dominating glory from Lady Gaga; indie pop fromThe Strokes, The New Pornographers andThe National; soul power fromErykah Badu; heavy-duty guitar business by The Black Keys, andWolfmother; and a handful of newcomers for those looking for the next big thing.

Organizers strive each year to make the event a family affair – one where today’s cool parents can enjoy themselves along with their young ones – and this year is no exception.For parents who’d prefer that their kids not jam out to Cypress Hill’s “Hits from a Bong” (we can’t imagine why not) or get a glimpse of Gaga’s sensationalistic booty, the Kidzapalooza stage is perfect.

The featured acts are tailored to appeal to both kids and adults alike. No saccharine Barney or Wiggles imitators here. Instead, the stage is booked with festival organizer/Jane’s Addiction frontmanPerry Farrell, ex-Porno for Pyrosguitarist Peter DiStefano, Nineties alterna-poppersThe Verve Pipeand Ed Kowalczyk from Live, and more performing sets designed to please kids without putting their parents to sleep.

The stage also finds kids themselves strutting their musical chops.School of Rock, the local class that introduces kids to rock performance, the Chicago Youth Symphony (performing withDan ZanesofThe Del Fuegos), and more are given equal billing amongst thebig guns- a brilliant move that serves both as a spotlight on young talent and, hopefully, as an inspiration to young music fans and musicians in the audience.

Of course, it takes more than just a stage of music to keep kids’ focus. Luckily, this is covered with kid-centric activities galore: video karaoke, painting and screenprinting areas; hip hop, skateboarding and break dancing workshops; a drum area to bang out aggression; andbody paintingand hairstyling stations where kids can get temporary tattooed and mohawked.

Just like good ol’Mom and Dad.

Lollapalooza runsAug. 6-9in Grant Park. For more details, visitwww.lollapalooza.com

A version of this article first appeared in Chicago Parent’s sister newspaper Chicago Journal.

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