The new Sundance documentary “Lolla: The Story of Lollapalooza” explores the origins and cultural impact of the iconic ’90s music festival Lollapalooza. But according to director Michael John Warren and Lollapalooza co-founder Perry Farrell, the film also draws important parallels between Generation X in the ’90s and Generation Z today.
“The one thing that really struck me while making this is how it almost mirrors modern day,” Warren said at TheWrap’s Sundance Portrait and Interview Studio presented by NFP. “When we were kids we were pissed about the environment, police brutality, what was going on in the Supreme Court. So much has changed but also stayed the same.”
Warren recounted how a group of Gen Z viewers approached him after the screening saying how much they connected with the film’s themes. “This is not just a Gen X nostalgia trip,” Warren said. “There’s a lot here that speaks to youth culture across 30 years and I feel, as a Gen Xer, I’m really connected to what Gen Z is going through or about to go through.”
Farrell echoed how today’s youth face similar struggles under more complex conditions. “Now they’re faced with a challenge, same challenges that we had, but they’ve now got this social media thing that is wreaking havoc,” Farrell said. “I felt it was time now to let out the story, to tell the story now. Because if we get in now to tell the story of where we came from we will have the respect of this next generation.”
The film explores how Lollapalooza was conceived by Farrell as a touring summer festival promoting counterculture art and activism, a vibe that appealed to the disenfranchised Generation X.
“They saw what we went through and they will trust us because they saw that we took on the man,” Farrell said, referring to Gen X’s rebellion against establishment and authority figures.
“I really hope Gen Z looks at what Gen X went through and takes some lessons from it. What we did good [and] what we did poorly,” Warren added. “Hopefully that helps them sort of find a path forward.”
Watch the full interview above.
Paramount+ will release “Lolla: The Story of Lollapalooza.”
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