So how could Farrell, who had such success launching the Lollapalooza franchise, barely get ENIT--Farrell says the name comes from lost tribesmen in South America who originated the festival long ago--off the ground? Experts say that ENIT might be too ambitious, especially for the venues organizers have chosen--places like Calaveras County Fairgrounds, about two hours outside San Francisco, which hasn't hosted a concert since Reagan was in office and whose biggest event is an annual frog-jumping contest.
As conceived by Farrell, the festival will draw concertgoers to the countryside to listen to experimental music, plant trees, eat communal meals, rave until dawn and, of course, convene with aliens. "If we're going to unify our energies," Farrell has said, "then I say let's include everybody, every realm of consciousness, and let's invite extraterrestrials to this gig, 'cause I feel it's unfair they've been only hanging out with the military and the government."
Reported slow ticket sales have not contributed to the decision to ax the shows, organizers say. But down-to-earth details--like moving sets and securing local permits--have proven to be stumbling blocks and driven up expenses. "The production costs were really astronomical," said Rick Gershon, Warner Bros. publicist for Farrell's band, Porno for Pyros. "He's trying something different," agreed Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the concert trade Pollstar. "And with an event like that, you get into all kinds of financial overhead."
Concert trackers aren't ready to bury the festival yet. Bongiovanni said that if Farrell plans better and books acts with a broader appeal, ENIT could be a hit in future summers. "Porno for Pyros has a strong following, but ENIT needs other well-known acts, too," he said.
The dusk-to-dawn bash, featuring Porno for Pyros, Love and Rockets, Meat Beat Manifesto and--who knows?--e.t.s, will open Saturday at the Garden State Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey.