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Lollapalooza’s got lotsa music in store for kids, too

Northbrook Garage will perform two days Kidzapaloozthis year’s LollapaloozGrant Park.

Northbrook Garage will perform on two days of Kidzapalooza at this year’s Lollapalooza in Grant Park.

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 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 5-7

 Grant Park, Lake Shore Drive and Balbo (closest intersection to Kidzapalooza stage)

 Admission: Kids 10 and younger are admitted free when accompanied by ticket-holding adult (no limit on number of kids per adult within discretion of front-gate staff); all Kidzapalooza music and activities are free


Updated: August 4, 2011 8:51PM

Going to the sold-out Lollapalooza? Don’t forget to bring the kids because Lolla ticketholders can bring children age 10 and younger into Grant Park free, thereby gaining entry to Kidzapalooza. The family-friendly sideshow to the main event offers a plethora of family-oriented concerts and activities — all free — from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 5-7 in the area of the park near Lake Shore Drive and Balbo.

“We’ve always looked at [Kidzapalooza] as a festival within a festival,” said festival producer Tor Hyams. “I designed it for families so they could have their own kind of Lollapalooza experience.”

The brainchild of musician/producer/songwriter Hyams and Lolla founder/organizer/rocker Perry Farrell, Kidzapalooza is celebrating its seventh year. This year, it could well be called Chicagopalooza because six of the 12 scheduled performers are local acts or have Chicago-area ties: Ralph’s World, Brady Rymer, Northbrook Garage, Q Brothers, Kate Diaz and Happiness Club.

Highlights include bluegrass musician Keller Williams (Aug. 7), Ralph’s World (Aug. 6-7) and Rymer (Aug. 5-6) along with Hyams, who performs with guitarist Peter DiStefano (Aug. 7), and Farrell (Jane’s Addiction and Porno for Pyros) on Aug. 7.

Like many musicians who are parents, Williams has a family-oriented album called “Keller Williams Kids.”

“What’s so great about this record,” Hyams said, “[is] he didn’t dumb it down, he didn’t change his ways or his style, he wrote an album that he thought families would like, but in his style. He didn’t compromise anything.”

Williams plans to sit in with Hyams and DiStefano, who cover classic rock and operate with two rules: They never rehearse and they always bring kids onstage for one song every set.

Hyams believes it’s also important to have bands composed of kids in the lineup, what he calls “alt-tween rock.”

“As I’ve been trying to since year two or three, I always try to identify acts that hopefully are kids,” he said. “I found two acts, both Chicago acts, funny enough. … One was this band Northbrook Garage, and they are kind of like a teen rock band. But their music is very family-friendly.”

Composed of 14-year-old Sam Harkey, 14-year-old Eric von Holst, 14-year-old Eric Doar and 12-year-old Elenna Sindler (and joined onstage by 11-year-old Ben Harkey), Northbrook Garage performs covers and original tunes described as soulful and rootsy. The group got its start in grammar school and took off after adding Elenna to the mix following a junior high talent show. They’ve played Northbrook Days and other Chicago-area festivals along with being the only under-age act in the 2010 St. Louis Beat ’n’ Soul Festival. Kidzapalooza is their biggest “name gig” to date.

“It’s pretty crazy and really exciting,” Elenna said of the band’s Aug. 5 and 6 performances. She described the band’s original music as “kind of like a mix of rhythm and blues and some rock and pop and soul, jazz.”

The other local teen act is 14-year-old Chicagoan Kate Diaz (performing Aug. 5 and 7), who has been playing guitar and writing songs since second grade. When she’s not making music, she’s playing soccer.

“She’s one of the better songwriters I’ve heard in a long time,” Hyams said. “She’s like a pretty well-rounded, well-adjusted kid who’s from Chicago and just loves to play music. It’s empowering … if you’re a kid and you see someone near your age playing like that … it’s amazing. That’s pretty inspiring.”

Free Kidzapalooza activities include T-shirt and tote bag silk screening, hip-hop dance workshops with Happiness Club, double-dutch jump rope workshops, Q Brothers’ hip-hop workshops, a drum zone, tattoos and funky hairdos, photo shoots with Time Out Kids magazine, rock star yoga and creating your own concert song to take home.


 The Wizard of Oz blows into Morton Arboretum weekends in August. The Theatre-Hikes production is offered at 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 28. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for kids ages 2-17. The arboretum is at 4100 Illinois 53 in Lisle. Call (630) 725-2066 or visit

Kids 11 and younger will be admitted to Brookfield Zoo free Aug. 8-10 during Meijer free kids days. Admission for adults is $13.50 and parking is $9. The zoo is at 31st Street and First Avenue in Brookfield. Call (708) 688-8000 or visit

 The Hilton Chicago/Indian Lakes Resort, 250 W. Schick Road in Bloomingdale, hosts its sixth annual Pretty Princess weekend Aug. 13-14. Princess crafts, makeovers, a tea party and a grand ball are part of the fun. The cost is $149 for four guests ($25 for additional kids). Call (630) 529-0200 or visit

 Singer-songwriter-instrumentalist My Brightest Diamond takes the stage with the Chicago Symphony Youth Orchestra at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph. Admission is free. Call (312) 742-1168 or visit

Jennifer Burklow is a local free-lance writer.

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