A Survival Guide to Lollapalooza

on Aug4

4 August 2017 | 4:05 pm

It’s officially August and Chicago’s summer festival season is in full swing.  And what Chicago festival is bigger than Lollapalooza? Following last year’s extension from three days to four for its 25th anniversary, Lolla is celebrating with another four-day music festival this year from August 3 – 6 at Grant Park.  Although many have become seasoned veterans over the years, here are some pro-tips for those who are new to the festival.

1.  Stay Hydrated

The most important thing is to drink water and then drink some more water.  It may seem silly to remind people to stay hydrated, but heat exhaustion is a real thing and when you get caught up in the music, dancing and drinking (alcohol), it’s easy to forget.  You can bring empty water bottles (just not glass) and Camelbaks with you into the fest.  You may also bring in two sealed water bottles to stay

hydrated.  Free water-filling stations will be available around the festival as well, so take advantage.

2.  Protect Yourself From the Sun

Make sure to come to the festival wearing sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat if you see fit.  Know that you can bring sunscreen into the fest, just not the aerosol spray kind.  If you happen to forget yours at home, there’s a Lolla Bodega where you can purchase items you may have left behind.  Also, make sure you give yourself breaks throughout the day.  It can get very hot in the summer sun, so make sure to bring a blanket and sit down to cool off in the heat.  Trust me, I get you want to make the most of the fest and go, go, go, but you have to take care of your body first.  Also, keep a lookout for CTA cooling buses where you can sit in some air conditioning to cool down on those especially hot days.

3.  Prepare Your Route

Be prepared for high volumes of traffic everywhere.  Traffic will be heavy on the roads, on the trains, on the Metra and everywhere in between.  So make sure you plan your routes, try not to avoid high-traffic times, be prepared to get very cozy with your neighbors and practice some patience.

4. Skip the Bag, Skip the Line

This year Lolla is enforcing stricter bag-size limitations and is no longer allowing any bags larger than roughly 10x10x10 into the fest.  That being said, if you pass on bringing your bag to the festival you can get in the express lines that don’t require bag checks and get through security faster.  If you do bring a bag or oth

er valuables you don’t want to lug around, locker rentals are available inside the park.

5. Download the App and Register Wristband

Download the Lolla app to your phone to get full-lineup schedules, park map and emergency notifications.  Trust me it’s almost inevitable that one of the four days there will be heavy rain (happens every year) and having the app will keep you updated with schedule changes and evacuation notices if it comes down to it.  Another great feature of your wristband, which doubles as your entrance pass, is that you can register it online to link to a debit or credit card.  This can save you the hassle of bringing cash or cards along with you to the festival and leave worrying about losing them behind.

With so many acts to see, who’s worth the hype? There are a lot of throwbacks and a lot of artists that are hyped up to perform, but to me these are the acts worth seeing.  

1. Chance the Rapper

I mean Chance’s set is going to be out of control.  The Chicago native and youth advocate is one of the biggest acts to come out of Chicago.  He only plays a concert in Chicago once a year and this year he’s doing it big by headlining Lolla.  Following his Grammy wins last year, be prepared for a HUGE crowd here and lots of special guest artists.  Chance has plenty of feature tracks and has been known to bring all his friends out for his shows.

Listen to “No Problem” or “All Night” to catch his vibe.  

Chance The Rapper

2. Muse

Another headlining act (sorry so obvious), but I’ve been a fan of Muse since their 2006 album “Black Holes and Revelations,” so they’re kind of a big deal to me.  I’ll never forget the mirrored guitar lead singer and guitarist Matt Bellamy used during a 2007 performance in Las Vegas.  The way he used the guitar to shine light across the stage and crowd was memorable to say the least.  So with over 20 years of experience as a band touring, Muse will be certainly be an entertaining show to see.

Listen to “Uprising” or “Supermassive Black Hole” to catch their vibe.


3. Crystal Castles

If you’re looking for a high-energy, oh-my-gosh what’s happening experience at Lolla, look no further than Crystal Castles.  Lead singer Alice Glass is as unpredictable as they come.  Crowd surfing on a whim, climbing up stage towers and pretty much doing whatever she pleases are her style.  Their music is loud and inc

ites large sweaty dance parties, so if you don’t want to get down and dirty, they might not be your thing.

Listen to “Baptism” or “Untrust Us” to catch their vibe.

Crystal Castles

4. Phantogram

An electro rock, dream pop duo that immediately takes over your body and lifts your spirit.  If you’ve never seen them and you’re going to Lolla, you have to see them this weekend.  They always deliver a performance with great energy and leave you smiling.

Listen to “As Far as I Can See” or “Don’t Move” to catch their vibe.  

5. Run the Jewels

A hip-hop duo that gets the crowd hyped.  Run the Jewels contains many explicit lyrics in their songs, but the way they get the crowd moving and the energy flowing equal an amazing live performance.  A word to the wise, they are very loud, so if you want to protect your ears, bring some earbuds or purchase them at the Lolla Bodega.

Listen to “Lie, Cheat, Steal” or “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry” to catch their vibe. 

This is nowhere near a full list of bands to see – there are so many great acts this weekend, these are just a few of my diverse favorites.  So get out there, see some great music, take care of yourself and be kind to others.


By Lauren Stevens


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