Covering this past weekend™s newly constituted Lollapalooza weekender in Chicago, the New York Times™ Jon Pareles wonders what™s up with the lack of big name hip hop acts, correctly assuming that locals like Kayne West or Common wouldn™t have been musically inappropriate nor unhelpful in selling tickets.
A similar question could be posed of this September™s Austin City Limits festival, an event coincidently booked by the same firm, Austin™s CSE.
First of all, I don™t think any large scale musical event is obliged to encompass anything other than what the organizer™s choose to showcase. Neither Lollapalooza nor ACL are Hip Hop fests, nor have either claimed to represent every genre. Though given the likely musical tastes of those attending both festivals, the omission of hip hop is a little curious.
Without knowing the facts behind either instance, I’d guess that this has less to do with the booker’s musical sensibilities and more to do with licensing, insurance, security paranoia that would surely come into play — perhaps unfairly — were a well known hip hop artist given a prominent spot on the bill. Saul Williams might escape the radar, but Common would be another issue entirely.