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Lollapalooza's expansion to Israel is on hold

January 21, 2013|By Todd Martens
  • The logo for Lollapalooza Israel, taken from the site's official Facebook page. The latter has not been updated in weeks.
The logo for Lollapalooza Israel, taken from the site's official… (Screenshot of Lollapalooza…)

Lollapalooza, the former touring festival that re-established itself as a destination event after landing in Chicago in 2005, has been aggressive in recent years in expanding its brand internationally. Lollapalooza has already ventured into South America with fests in Brazil and Chile, and last summer announced plans to go to Israel.

But a proposed Middle East edition of Lollapalooza in 2013 is off, a festival spokeswoman confirmed to Pop & Hiss. Lollapalooza Israel was intended for Aug. 20-22 at Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park, and no reason was given for the cancellation.

A spokeswoman characterized it as a postponement. 

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Rumors that Lollapalooza Israel was in trouble began to surface in December. Israeli news organizations reported that organizers and promoters were running into issues recruiting top-billed artists in addition to facing financial and production setbacks in setting up the festival in Yarkon Park, according to Ynetnews, the website of the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

Earlier this month, the website for Lollapalooza Israel disappeared. It now redirects to the site for the South Lake Tahoe dance event the Snowglobe. The latter is also promoted by Lollapalooza organizer C3 Presents. 

Plug Productions Generator in Israel was to help in bringing the festival to Tel Aviv, and Lollapalooza remains listed on the Plug site, although Israel has been removed from the official Lollapalooza site.

Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell, whose band Jane's Addiction has played Israel, spoke to CNN of having grand ambitions in bringing Lollapalooza to the nation, perhaps even staging multiple events. "We got a call from Jerusalem, the Holy City, and they want Lollapalooza to be there, too," Farrell  told CNN in August. "But it's going to start in Tel Aviv, and we're going to do something in Jerusalem." 

Artists who have booked shows in the region have been subject to protests and pressure to cancel. In recent years, well-known acts such as Elvis Costello and the Pixies have called off shows in Israel, and in December Stevie Wonder canceled a fundraiser in Los Angeles for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, citing the "very delicate situation in the Middle East" in a statement sent to Reuters. 

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