How to Survive Lollapalooza (And Have Fun Too)

Written by: Sofia Wheelock – Photo by: Ashley Osborn

Lollapalooza is a music festival known far and wide by Chicagoans and non-midwesterners alike. This legendary celebration of live music has been attended by millions and has hosted a multitude of beloved musicians. Since 1991, it has brought old favorites and up-and-coming artists into the heart of the city to perform for thousands of fans.

And although it is renowned as one of the best live music festivals in the country, Lollapalooza can be a nightmare if you aren’t prepared. Here are some tips, tricks, and recommendations on how to have the best experience possible at this event.

Schedule out your day(s)

Whether you plan on attending Lollapalooza for a day or for the whole festival, you are going to want to take a look at the lineup and figure out which artists you want to see the most. Making a list of everyone that you want to see and then making a second list of “priority artists” can be extremely helpful in planning out your time there.

The whole festival is four days so by selecting the days that you will be attending and then making your lists based on those lineups, you will be able to organize your time there with ease.

For example, if Beach Bunny and Charli XCX are both on your list for day four BUT they’re performing at the same time, you will want to make sure that you either prioritize who you would like to see more or split up your time by making a schedule of when to switch stages.

The Lollapalooza website features the entire lineup for all four days and includes a timed schedule that shows when each artist will be performing on their respective days. I would recommend checking this out and making a plan before heading on over!

Dress for comfort (as best you can)

Trust me when I say that once you’ve spent a few hours out in the dry summer heat, you will be happy that you wore your comfortable sneakers rather than those adorable yet painful platform sandals. It will be hot. It will be uncomfortable. You will be standing and walking for most of the day and there will be thousands of people all around you. There are a ton of factors to consider when dressing for Lollapalooza.

On Instagram, you will see influencers wearing extravagant outfits. They may look like they’re perfectly fine and having a good time, but that photo does not show how sweaty, hot, and uncomfortable they were when it was taken.

When it comes to outdoor music festivals, comfort will always be more important than style. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t dress up! Just make sure that you are sporting comfortable and durable shoes as well as making sure that you are able to move around with ease in whatever you decide to wear. You will thank me when you’re strolling around the grounds without having to worry about your outfit all day!

Stay Hydrated and Remember Sunscreen

When you’re outside for long periods of time, there are two things that everyone needs the most: plenty of water and protection from the sun. If you’re like me and you burn quickly, you’re going to want to apply sunscreen often when attending Lollapalooza. You will be so grateful when you get home and realize that you don’t have to rub aloe all over your tomato-red burns.

Staying hydrated throughout the day is extremely important as well, especially when you’re standing in dense crowds for hours at a time. Passing out from heat exhaustion and dehydration is extremely common and dangerous. Make sure to drink lots of fluids to keep yourself happy and healthy! Taking care of your body is a huge part of making your experience at the festival more enjoyable.

Keep Track of Your Group 

If you are attending Lollapalooza with another person or group of people, make sure to keep in contact with them. Losing each other in the crowds is super easy and can make for a stressful day if you don’t have a game plan of what to do if that happens. Other than contacting them on your phone, another good idea is to designate a meeting place if anyone gets separated. For example, you could meet by a certain stage or by the main entrance. Making sure that each member of your party is safe is very important so make sure that everyone is accounted for!

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Kamehachi by Taylor Regulski for Lollapalooza

Plan your meals

Depending on how long you stay on each day, you will want to make a plan for your meals. The food court at Lollapalooza, also known as “Chow Town”, has dozens of Chicago favorites selling snacks and drinks throughout the festival. This year, Lollapalooza has over thirty restaurants and local businesses setting up stands on the grounds. Some of these favorites include Kamehachi, Lou Malnati’s, Broken English Taco Pub, Wao Bao, Billy Goat Tavern, Dark Matter Coffee, and many more.

Each day will last from 12pm-10pm so if you stay for the whole time, you’ll probably want to set aside two separate times to refuel and recharge. Making sure that you have some nutrients in your body is important, especially when you are using energy almost every minute of the day. Even if it’s something small like a slice of deep dish or a pastry, having some sort of fuel in your body will make all the difference.

Music festivals can be a bit stressful at times, what with all of the scheduling and planning, but ultimately, you’re going to Lollapalooza to have fun. You are attending to see some incredible live music and to have a unique experience at one of the biggest music festivals in the country. So, I hope that these tips will help you to make sure that your experience there is a positive one.

And be sure to check out the Lollapalooza website for the lineup, schedules, and more!

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About Lollapalooza:

Launched by founder Perry Farrell in 1991 as a touring festival, Lollapalooza remains an innovator in festival culture over 30 years later.

Lollapalooza was the first festival to bring together artists from a wide range of musical genres on one bill, it was also the first to travel, the first to expand to multiple days, the first to introduce a second stage, the first to blend art and activism, the first to offset its carbon emissions, the first to put electronic dance music artists on the main stage, the first to create family friendly programming, the first to make its home in an urban city center and the first to expand internationally.

Lollapalooza has grown into an annual world-class festival in Chicago (2005), as well as culturally rich countries including Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Germany and France. Lollapalooza is one of the premier destinations both for music fans in the United States and abroad. The festival expanded to four days in 2016 in celebration of 25 years and continues to bring fans four full days of music and over 180 bands on 8 stages. In 2017 Lollapalooza brought in over 245 million dollars in local economic impact and has brought in over 1.2 billion dollars in total locally, since 2010.

Lollapalooza is produced by Perry Farrell, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, and C3 Presents.