Lollapalooza, the modern age’s answer to Woodstock, took Chicago by storm 14 years ago.
Now, 160,000 music fans descend on Grant Park the first weekend in August to see headliners like Kings of Leon, Skrillex, and OutKast.
If you’re one of the many planning on a Lolla roadtrip, here’s how to survive three big days of heat, beats, food, and fun.
1. PACK IT UP
• If past years have been any indication, prepare to fry. The sun usually beats down on Grant Park all three days, creating a sea of sunburned folks. Slather on the sunscreen, wear light cotton clothing and brimmed hats, and bring a small backpack to stash souvenirs in.
• Also essential? Comfy footwear for miles of walking and hours of dancing.
2. PLAN AHEAD
• As a rule, musicians don’t exactly spring out of bed, which is why Lolla stages don’t start rolling until 11am each day.
• Beyond a five- to six-hour drive from Northern Michigan, there are eight stages, Green Street, Chow Town, and a mile between the two main stages to navigate.
• Grab a pocket-sized festival map/ schedule at Grant Park or – to really strategize – print out both a schedule and a map from the Lolla website.
3. PICK YOUR BANDS
• Figuring out which bands to see can get tricky: The two main stages host the biggest bands each evening, and the Lolla folk generally pit two major headliners against each other.
• On Friday, it’s the Arctic Monkeys vs. Eminem. Saturday, it’s OutKast vs. Calvin Harris. And Sunday, it’s Skrillex vs. Kings of Leon.
• Daytime, it’s a different story. The acts are staggered, with the smaller stages alternating genres. The daylight hours are when Lorde, Chromeo, Foster the People, Spoon, Chvrches, AFI, and The Kooks all get the chance to fill up your dance card.
4. PROTEIN AND WATER
• Between the sun, the dust from stages on Grant Park’s baseball fields, and running back and forth, water is essential. There are free water bottle refill stations set up all over the park, in addition to the sodas and juices available for purchase. Fill and drink often.
• Healthy snacks are a close second to hydrating. Proteins and carbs will help you avoid becoming one of those hapless, exhausted Lollapaloozers passed out underneath a tree somewhere, missing all of the bands that they paid big bucks to see.
• Part of the fun of Lolla is diving into all of its eclectic moments. In addition to listening to music and watching bands, there are plenty of other activities not to be missed.
• Visit Chow Town, where loads of Chicago’s gourmet purveyors show up with a fantastic list of choices, or head over to the Farmers Market for even more fresh food.
• Learn more about environmental causes on Green Street. Check out all of the art that always dots the grounds each year. Sign up at Rock the Vote. And most of all, don’t forget to dance.
6. PACE YOURSELF
• Once the frantic rush to get there and get in has passed, it’s time to settle down. Don’t rush the festival experience.
• While Lolla is chock-full of everything, getting sick, heatstroke, or ticked off won’t improve a single minute of the fest.
• So take the time to enjoy, drink water, lather on sunscreen, and snap a few selfies. Your feet will thank you, your body will feel good, and Lolla will soon become an epic summer music memory.
Lollapalooza runs Aug 1-3 in Chicago’s Grant Park, just south of downtown. For this year’s full lineup and all the details, visit lollapalooza.com.