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Your Lollapalooza Cheat Sheet And Survival Guide

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 29, 2015 8:45PM

These people are having a great time because they read our guide! Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

We’ve been going to Lollapalooza since its first year when what was essentially Jane’s Addiction’s farewell tour swung through Tinley Park. So we’ve learned a thing or two over the years. And since it’s made Chicago its home in the U.S., we’ve got making it through three days in Grant Park down to a science. Here are a couple of the most important things to keep in mind to make certain your Lollaplooza experience is memorable for being fun, and not a disaster.

Bring a poncho. Even if the weather doesn’t call for rain (though this weekend's forecast does), it will rain. Trust us.

Make a game plan with friends BEFORE heading to the fest. Do not go to Grant Park and expect to text your pals and plan out where to go and what to do when you get there. Why? Because there will be no cellphone signal. We’ve seen people spend half of the day literally running around the park trying to find a strong enough signal. Texts, when they come through, will cascade in as every attempt at communication over the previous three hours will finally all land in your phone at the same time. Need help picking a headliner? Try our guide.

Hand sanitizer. It can get pretty sketchy around the bathroom lines, and we don’t think you want to suffer self-inflicted illness by eating delicious Chowtown grub with dirty hands, so sanitizer comes in handy. Also, use liberally if you’re giving out lots of high-fives at Perry’s stage.

Wear sensible shoes. We know it’s hot and we know you want to wear flip-flops, but you’re also going to be hiking a couple miles each day traveling from stage to stage. On top of that, if it rains (see our first recommendation) you probably don’t want mud squishing around your toes. Also, when watching the bands, someone will step on those toes. So protect yourself.

Lots of water. Bring a container and keep it filled. The last thing you want to be telling your kids is about the year you went to Lolla and spent the afternoon passed out with heatstroke, or worse.

Koozies. We always buy some when we’re there. After drinking all that water you should reward yourself with an ice cold beer that stays cold.

Wine. If beer isn’t your thing, the huge “water bottles” of wine are the best bang for your booze buck at Lollapalooza.

Download the Lollapalooza app AND grab a physical schedule upon arrival. The app is the best way to plan out your schedule and get updates from festival organizers throughout the weekend. The paper schedule is for easy reference so that when crowds block the way to the stage you’re trying to get to, you can make a snap decision on who else to see that’s within close proximity.

Get on down to Chow Town. Unlike most large festivals, Lollapalooza’s food choices are actually pretty great. Graham Elliot curates the food selections, so there are plenty of local restaurants and the quality is pretty top-notch. Dig in.

Get through the lines fast, leave the selfie stick at home. Check out the list of allowed and prohibited items ahead of time and avoid arguing with the security staff—and holding up the whole line behind you—because you’re upset you can’t bring something in.

Perry’s stage. There are things that you can’t unsee at Perry’s stage. Glorious, mind-blowing things. Lose your inhibitions, at least for a few minutes, and just let it all sink in.

This is the map, make it your friend. And don’t stay in one place all day. You’ve just paid hundreds or thousands of dollars for this experience. Make the most of it.


Don't have tickets? You don't have to miss the fest. There's still VIP passes left if you have a spare couple of grand lying around. If not, RedBull TV is streaming most of the acts so you can watch the music from the comfort of your own home. Slap a beer in a koozie and it's almost like you're there in person!