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The Complete Lollapalooza 2014 Survival Guide

The dos and don’ts, what (and what not) to bring, plus the basic info you need to know to get in and out of the festival in one piece.

A gaggle of well-prepared fans at Lollapalooza 2013.   Photo: Ray Whitehouse

The wait is nearly over. After months of lineup speculation, racing for tickets, and monk-like patience, Lollapalooza is just 72 hours away (sooner if you’re hitting the kickoff parties).

Though you’ve likely been planning this weekend since March, nobody thinks of everything. Here’s a list of dos, don’ts, and tips to keep a logistical slip-up from messing up your weekend.

The Basics

Where: Lollapalooza is at Grant Park, 337 E. Randolph. The main festival gates are at Michigan and Congress with an additional entrance at Columbus & Monroe. Lolla’s box office and will call is at the northeastern corner of Michigan and Van Buren, and will be open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Saturday. You can check out a festival map here.

When: Gates open at 11 a.m. daily. Expect the festival to end by 10 p.m. each night.

Getting In and Out

Trains: You can’t throw a beer and not hit an L platform within walking distance of the Lollapalooza. If you’re taking the Brown, Pink, Green, Orange, or Purple Line to the festival, get off at Adams & Wabash. For Red and Blue, hop off at Monroe & State and Monroe & Dearborn respectively and walk east.

Buses: The CTA hasn’t announced weekend service changes yet (they should be posted here by Thursday), but last year the #2, #6, #10, #J14, and #26 buses were rerouted around Grant Park. Be sure to check back Thursday if you plan on taking a bus to the festival.

Cycling: Lolla’s official cycling sponsor Specialized will offer free bike parking at Michigan & Congress. If you don’t have your own ride, Bike and Roll Chicago will be renting bicycles to Lolla attendees at 65% off all weekend. If Divvy biking is your bag, there’s a dock kitty-corner to the main gates, and about five more within a square block.

Uber: If you’ve been holding off on sipping the Uber Kool-Aid, now might be the time to start; the ridesharing service is offering free lifts to Lolla (up to $30) for first-time users. Just download the app and enter promo code LOLLA. 

Driving: Traffic won’t be pretty within a mile of the Loop, but if you do make it to Grant Park, try your luck in one of the park’s four underground garages. Alternately, you can reserve a pre-priced parking spot on SpotHero’s official Lollapalooza page.

What You Can Bring

  • A backpack, satchel, purse, or fanny pack (all subject to search). You can also pre-rent a 11"x13.5"x18” locker here ($15/day or $40/weekend plus access to cell phone charging stations).
  • Blankets, sheets, towels
  • Handheld umbrellas (no beach umbrellas)
  • Strollers
  • Soft-sided coolers
  • An empty CamelBak or other empty plastic canteen.
  • Two sealed bottles of water
  • Non-professional cameras and recorders
  • Binoculars
  • Non-professional walkie-talkies. Before disregarding this, consider: A.) Cell service will be terrible, and B.) How much fun it’ll be to walkie-talkie your friends from across Grant Park.

What You Can’t Bring

  • Large-frame hiking backpacks
  • Glass containers or metal aerosol cans (double-check your sunscreen bottle)
  • Carts, tents, or chairs of any kind
  • Hard-sided coolers
  • Skateboards, scooters, personal motorized vehicles
  • Professional photo, video, and audio equipment
  • GoPro attachments (sticks, monopods)
  • Professional walkie-talkies—stay off CPD’s channel
  • Weapons, fireworks, explosives
  • Pets
  • Outside food and beverages (other than your sealed bottles of water)
  • Drugs, drug paraphernalia, other illicit substances
  • Unauthorized handouts, samples, freebies, flyers, solicitations, etc.—the vendor deadline has long passed

Dos and Don’ts

  • Do hydrate like it’s your job.
  • Don’t plan on seeing back-to-back sets at the Bud Light and Samsung Galaxy stages—they’re just too far apart.
  • On a related note, do wear shoes with arch support—you’ll be walking a lot.
  • Don’t neglect the local stage. The people who missed Chance the Rapper last year still haven’t forgiven themselves.
  • Do consume calories from something other than beer. Lolla promises all manner of handheld foodstuffs this year, including beef baos and lobster corndogs.
  • Don’t leave the festival with plans to return later in the day—there’s no re-entry.
  • Do bring your own TP.
  • Don’t lose your wristband or cut it off to shower—it’s your three-day pass.
  • Do consider syncing your wristband with your checking account to make smooth, cash-free purchases—a new feature this year. But if you do, definitely don’t lose it.
  • Don’t post flyers in Grant Park. People came for OutKast, not your kegger.
  • Do follow us on Twitter for updates and witticisms: @carrieschedler@ChicagoMag, @Elly33, @emmetds @mattypollock, @TomiObaro.
  • That said, don’t count on cell service. With 100,000 people Instagramming Grant Park, cell service will peter out early. Set a meeting spot with your pals. Or, you know, try the walkie-talkie thing.
  • Do see at least one set at Perry’s Stage. it might be a big sweaty mess of an institution, but it’s an institution nonetheless. Check out our recommendations here.

Miscellaneous Pro Tips:

  • If you want to get close to the stage for a set, show up early—like, before the previous show ends. 100,000 other people want to be front-row for Lorde just as much as you.
  • Once you finish your two sealed bottles of water, keep the empties and fill them up later.
  • Follow your favorite Lolla bands on Twitter. Even better, make a Twitter list of them. Then add us! TwitListManager is a great resource.
  • Bring a FitBit or download Argus on your phone—you’ll be amazed at the number of steps you walk all weekend.

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