Guys, there’s something you need to remember about Lollapalooza: This is a four-day music festival. It’s the longest and largest of all the Chicago festivals happening this summer. So if you want to get the most out of it, maximize the live music you see, and make it through all four days of the partying, concerts, and summer heat, you’ve got to take care of yourself! It also helps to know what to pack and how to prepare for all that fun festival action. We’re here to help! Here’s our Lollapalooza Survival Guide for 2019!
Lolla attracts all kinds and all ages. After all, you’re never too old for live music. If you’re not sure if you’re the “festival type” but you’ll be in Chicago anyway, give it a whirl!
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When & Where
Lollapalooza takes place on August 1st – 4th at Grant Park in Chicago, right near the Lake Michigan waterfront. It can be hot and humid, with average temps in the 70s and 80s. Streets surrounding the park will be closed during Lolla, so be ready for the chaos. Columbus Drive acts as the pedestrian thoroughfare or “main street” through the festival.
Our advice on logistics? Crash with a friend, find a deal on a hotel or Airbnb, and then walk or take public transit to the fest. Be aware that many hotels will be charging nearly 80% more during Lollapalooza… because they can.
Festival grounds are open from 11AM until 10PM. That’s when the music ends due to city laws, so don’t think that your favorite band is going to do an encore if you scream loud enough. (But if you’re an absolute party animal, there are plenty of Lolla aftershows late into the Chicago nights.)
As for getting there, arrive early or choose an off-peak time, as wait times to get in the festival can be long. If you can avoid bringing a bag, you’ll be able to skip the longest “bag search” lines, but alas, lots of us have stuff we’re gonna need for a whole day out partying (see below). However, the north entrance is rumored to be a little quicker than the main entrance.
You’re allowed to leave and re-enter the festival grounds three times with a scan of your Lolla wristband. Just be aware that you’ll be searched each time you re-enter, so you’ll need to decide whether or not it’s worth the hassle.
Stuff to Bring to Lollapalooza
Look, the weather is usually great in Chicago in August, but it has rained in the past. (Usually not all day though!) Bring yourself a poncho or raincoat. No umbrellas are allowed inside.
And just so you’re prepared, make sure to bring a hat and sunscreen.
We’d recommend bringing a towel or sarong to sit on. The ground may be wet, damp, or dirty, but at some point you’ll be tired of standing up all day! Trust us.
Comfortable clothing and shoes. Try to find the perfect combination of “festival wear” and “weather appropriate.” Choose shoes that are good for walking – remember there are eight stages you’ll be bouncing between. Repeat after us: This is not the time for new shoes. Nobody will judge you for rocking sneakers!
A sealed or empty water bottle. Duh. Hydration is key over four days of outdoor live music, grooving, and drinking. Instead of paying high festival prices for bottled water, save the environment and your wallet, and fill up at the free hydration stations around the park.
Hand sanitizer for the porta-potties. More on those later.
Ear plugs, because four days of loud music can take its toll.
Your phone (obviously). Set it to low power mode or airplane mode until you must use it because you’ll be fighting for a signal with thousands of others. You want it to work when you need it!
Cash, credit/debit cards, or go cashless by adding money to your Lolla wristband! You have all these options for paying vendors – just make sure you’ve got some form of accepted currency for festival food, merch, and vendors.
If you find you’ve amassed quite a lot of stuff and you’d rather store it somewhere safe than haul it around with you, Lollapalooza offers locker rentals. You can reserve them ahead of time and they even come with charging capabilities for your (potentially) dead phone.
If you’re thinking of bringing other stuff and want to make sure it’s kosher, check out Lollapalooza’s official list of Allowed and Prohibited Items. Be sure to note there’s no cigarettes, vapes, glass, frisbees, pets, coolers, chairs, or outside food and beverages allowed.
Get Your Must-See Lineup Ready
With over 170 artists and bands performing at Lollapalooza, the lineup is massive. You’ll need to figure out which stages your favorite artists are playing on and note any conflicts in advance. Use this interactive lineup tool on Lollapalooza’s website to customize your own lineup and ensure you don’t miss any of your must-see, bucket-list favorites.
Then Get the Lay of the Land – Check out the Lolla Map
Before you get there (and when you get there), check out a festival map to view the location of the stages, food vendors, and most importantly, the bathrooms! You’ll likely be using porta-potties (so get over that part), but when you’re confident in your surroundings, you’ll be able to see where some of the less crowded bathrooms are! That can be a big time-saver.
You know the rules. Always watch your drinks, keep an eye on your belongings, and look out for your friends. Designate a meeting point in case one of you gets lost – and be specific about it. The crowds here are massive, so it’s easy to get lost (or pickpocketed) if you’re not careful! Always be aware of your surroundings – this isn’t some middle-of-nowhere music festival. Remember that Chicago is the third-largest city in the country!
Just follow the festival rules, stay hydrated, be careful with drugs, take normal precautions, and you’ll have a fabulous time!
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