AREA:ONE - MOBY
It's not a stretch to call Area: One the festival that Lollapalooza wanted to be.
When Perry Farrell launched the original Lollapalooza in 1991, his grand idea of a genre-busting alternative festival soon became just another alt-rock day out with some occasional hiphop thrown in. There was no consistent vibe to the bands, and despite its success, Farrell's concept of copying massive UK weekenders like Reading and Glastonbury never really got off the ground.
What's most interesting about Area: One is not the variety of bands playing -- fest founder Moby picked the players as he sat waiting for a plane in an airport lounge -- but how the whole thing sounds together.
Sure, hiphop and house slam into techno, rap-rock, trance and trippy dub, but none of the groups exactly come out of left field. OutKast and the Roots are as uncompromising as hiphop can get, but they also share an audience with heavy hitters Incubus, space cadets the Orb and even the bald one himself.
You've got to admire Moby's marketing acumen. This is the guy who sold every single track on his Play album for use in ads.
"The fact that people are moderately familiar with me allows me to do other things like putting on this festival and working with different charitable organizations," he modestly offers from New York. Groups setting up at Area: One include Greenpeace, LIFEbeat and a non-profit HIV/AIDS organization mobilizing the music industry to fund community-based HIV/AIDS service organizations.
Early reports from the first Area: One shows suggest that the fest's highlight is the full-band blowout by OutKast, which is bad news for Moby (he goes on after the Atlanta duo) but good news for people who have yet to see the Funkadelic-damaged crew's phenomenal Stankonia live show.
We on the eastern side of the country don't get the reformed New Order, but thankfully, Moby's done away with the crusty festival spread of temporary tattoo and body piercing booths.