If you thought you were good at music festivals, think again: Lollapalooza is here to indiscriminately kick all of our butts. With 140 bands spread across 115 acres and 100,000 fans a day, the event is far and away Chicago’s least manageable festival. Whether it’s an evacuation or a no-show, something will go wrong. Keep your headaches unavoidable with this guide to the T. rex of music fests.
So. Where is Lolla?
Grant Park, of course: 337 E. Randolph, with a main gate on Michigan Ave. between Jackson and Balbo and another at Monroe & Columbus. The box office, guest list, and will call booth is on the northeast corner of Michigan and Van Buren, and is open Wednesday and Thursday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
When is Lolla?
This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
How should I get there?
Take the Brown, Pink, Green, Orange, or Purple lines to Adams & Wabash, the Red Line to Monroe & State, or the Blue line to Dearborn & State. The CTA hasn’t posted bus reroutes yet (check back Friday), but last year the #2, #6, #7, #10, #J14, #26, #126, #142, and #147 were all rerouted around Grant Park.
For cyclists, there’s bike parking at the main gate and about a hundred Divvy stations within walking distance of the park. Bike and Roll Chicago is also offering 65% off bike rentals from the McDonald’s Cycle Center (239 E. Randolph), which, if you’ve ever shared a train with a hundred drunk Lollapaloozers, you know you should take them up on.
Driving is also a thing. There are three fully accessible parking garages near Grant Park (the Millennium Park Garage on Columbus between Monroe & Randolph, the East Monroe Underground Garage at Monroe & Columbus, and the Grant Park Underground Garage’s Michigan & Madison and Michigan & Randolph entrances). Prepaid parking at Soldier Field’s North Garage is also currently open, as are a handful of discounted spaces from SpotHero.
What can I bring to the festival?
In addition to your party pants, all of this:
- A “school sized” backpack, satchel, purse, or fanny pack
- Blankets, sheets, towels
- Handheld umbrellas (no bigger than 42” opened)
- Empty CamelBaks, canteens, and plastic/aluminum water bottles
- Two sealed bottles of water
- Non-professional cameras and recorders
- Binoculars (not an illegitimate concern)
- Non-professional walkie-talkies. (Don’t discount this, as cell service will be terrible.)
Got it. What can’t I bring?
- Framed hiking backpacks
- Aerosol cans (double-check your sunscreen bottle)
- Glass or metal containers of any kind
- Tents, canopies, shade structures
- Chairs of any kind
- Skateboards, scooters, bikes, wagons, carts, personal motorized vehicles
- Professional photo, video, and audio equipment
- GoPro attachments (sticks, monopods)
- Professional walkie-talkies (CPD needs those radiowaves)
- Weapons, fireworks, explosives
- Pets (except service animals)
- Outside food and beverages (other than your sealed bottles of water)
- Promotional handbills, flyers, stickers, beach balls, give-aways, samples, solicitations, samizdats, etc. The vendor deadline has passed.
- New this year: coolers of any kind (except for medical use)
- New this year: selfie sticks
- New this year: drones (seriously). (Somebody got in trouble for this.)
- New this year: hammocks
- New this year: large chains or spiked jewelry
Will there be lockers?
Yes, of the 11"x13.5"x18” denomination, and with unlimited cell phone charging. Reserve one for $15/day or $40/weekend here (weekend renters can store stuff overnight).
What if I lose something?
The lost and found is in the info tent at Columbus & Congress.
Got any pro tips?
- Do drink a lot of water and carbo-load freely. It’s going to be 90° all weekend, and the two main stages are separated by nearly a mile.
- Don’t be obnoxious on your way to and from the festival; people do actually live in the Loop.
- Do bring your own TP (some portajohns will run out).
- Don’t litter, especially outside the park.
- Do bring a raincoat and do stick your phone in a Ziploc baggie. It’s supposed to storm Sunday.
- Don’t lock your bike to anybody’s property—there will be parking at the main gate.
- Do hit an ATM before the festival.
- Don’t post flyers around Grant Park.
- Do follow Chicago magazine staff on Twitter for updates and witticisms: @carrieschedler, @ChicagoMag, @Elly33, @mattypollock, @TomiObaro.
- That said, don’t rely on your phone; data will clog by mid-afternoon daily. Set a meeting spot with your friends.
- Do download Lolla’s digital schedule. Then take a screenshot on your phone and set it as your lock screen. Again, you probably won’t be able to access Internet at the festival
- Don’t jump between sets too much. At Lolla especially, you’ll end up too far back to hear a band’s proper mix (let alone see them). For $100-plus a day, you owe it to yourself to stand in line with the sound booth.
- Do leave the festival all together, if you want; pass holders are allowed re-entry three times a day.