Perry Farrell isn’t afraid to walk away from success. With the same abruptness with which, in 1991, he pulled the plug on his band Jane’s Addiction, the mercurial singer recently disassociated himself from Lollapalooza, the alternative-rock festival he cofounded in 1991. ”People have pointed out that I tend to build things and move on,” says Farrell, 37. ”It’s cause and effect. When I start to feel like something I’ve created is becoming a problem, I opt to become a cause again.”
Although he still has a sizable stake in Lollapalooza, Farrell has organized a new, nocturnal summer music-fest called ENIT. Described as ”a multi-media musical, sensory, and communal touring experience,” the all-night affair is set to open Aug. 14 in Cleveland and will touch down in seven American cities in 10 days. ENIT’s lineup includes, among others, Love and Rockets, Black Grape, Buju Banton, Meat Beat Manifesto, Orb, and Farrell’s own band, Porno for Pyros. The festival will also boast such nonmusical activities as a tree-planting ceremony, a communal meal (included in the cost of the ticket), and other surprises — including, Farrell says, the services of ”a gentleman who says he can, through throwing a certain light pattern at you, open your third eye.”
Farrell, whose interest in crypto-mysticism is well known, says he got the idea for ENIT (not an acronym) from an obscure book of ”cosmophilosophy” by Ludwig Pallmann called Cancer Planet Mission, which describes a festival in which youth of different worlds gather together in a celebration of music and sexuality. ”When I think of the name, I think of an ecstatic knitting of energy, like the weaving of lives together.”
Less rock oriented than Lollapalooza, ENIT’s dance-friendly lineup reflects its founder’s changing musical tastes. Alluding to the metallic cast of this summer’s Lollapalooza, Farrell says he’s ”tired of ‘The world sucks’ music. I’m not going to get encouragement from negative, bombastic, highly static sounds. It’s only going to further confuse me, and that’s the last thing I need.” Farrell believes that the audience for his new festival will be more spiritually attuned than that of Lollapalooza.
Still, spirituality will get you just so far. Discussing his vision of ENIT, Farrell drops tantalizing phrases like ”electric bonding” and ”youth sexuality” into the conversation and allows that he ”would love to see orgies take place.” But concertgoers expecting a full-scale free-love event may come away disappointed. ”I’m not offering up orgy rooms or anything like that because I know the laws would keep us from doing that,” says Farrell. ”But I’m planting a seed.” The question is, will it grow?