Kidzapalooza: Young fans dance and make music at a little Lolla of their own

One mom appreciates the reprieve from the insanity of the grown-up Lollapalooza stages.

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Welcome to Kidzapalooza, the family-friendly area of Lollapalooza near the Buckingham Fountain.

Emma Oxnevad/Sun-Times

At Lollapalooza, a majority of attendees are college-aged young adults. But every so often, you might notice a young child in their midst.

They aren’t headed to Perry’s Stage. They’ll likely be spending the day at Kidzapalooza, a segment of the festival designed for families and young children.

Located near the Buckingham Fountain, Kidzapalooza is something of a mini-festival, with acts and activities catered to younger attendees.

The energy at Kidzapalooza on Friday was decidedly calmer than the main festival, with children occupying themselves with crafts, large hammocks and interactive games like Rock Band.


Tables for crafts are among the offerings at Kidzapalooza.

Emma Oxvenad/Sun-Times

Many of the kids in attendance ran around with mohawks and spray-dyed hair, courtesy of the “Punk Hairdooz” station.

Some of the more popular events were musically inclined, like the Drum Zone, in which attendees partook in a high-energy drum circle.

The young attendees took to the dance floor later in the afternoon, with an announcer shouting out dance moves to kid-friendly songs like the “Little Einsteins” theme.


Families cut loose on the dance floor at Kidzapalooza.

Emma Oxvenad/Sun-Times

One of the most popular activities was a station where children could make their own hip-hop tracks. The station was operated by, a children’s party and event service.

“The kids are really excited,” said Clayton Stamper, the founder of the company. “They seem to really, really enjoy being engaged and having the opportunity to DJ on the rig and to rap with us. The energy is really, really fun.”

Stamper said the kid-centric activities serve as a nice introduction to music for children.

“Musical experience for kids is incredible, and I think allowing [children] to be exposed to different types of music at [an early age] is really important to see just how diverse, not only the music is, but the world is,” Stamper said.

Carolyn Jacob, a 49-year-old Chicago resident, has brought her twin 6-year-old daughters and 4-year-old son for “as long as they’ve been alive.”


Sonia De Los Santos performs Friday on the stage at Kidzapalooza.

Emma Oxvenad/Sun-Times

“We love music, and we want our kids to be exposed to music. They’ve got so many fun activities for the kids that involve music and the arts that it’s just an amazing experience for them, and they come back every year.”

When asked if she had any apprehension about bringing her children to Lollapalooza, Jacob replied, “Absolutely not.” She cited Kidzapalooza’s distance from the festival’s main events as a reassuring factor, as well as the Tag-A-Kid program, in which children get their own unique wristbands.

Jacob said she was looking forward to the School of Rock Allstars’ set later in the afternoon. She said she hoped the teen musicians’ performance inspire her children to play music as they get older.

Patrick and Christine Konicki have brought their three children — ages 4, 2 and 7 months — to Lollapalooza the last four years. They said they appreciated the kid-centric activities in what could be a hectic weekend.

“It’s oddly, you wouldn’t think so, but it’s honestly peaceful back here,” Christine said. “It’s kind of a little reprieve from the craziness that Lollapalooza can be.”

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