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My Top Ten Festival Tips from Lollapalooza 2014

27 Aug

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A few weeks ago I experienced my first big music festival, Lollapalooza. Being one of the biggest music events in the Mid-West, the festival features 3 days of concerts from both main stream and off-the-chart artists in Grant Park, Chicago. Below are my top ten festival tips I collected while attempting Lolla for the first time!


TIP #1:  It’s hot. Really think through your outfits and prepare to stay hydrated. Luckily there are free water filling stationsblog lola1 sponsored by CamelBak. A lot of festival goers had fancy little water backpacks with a spout over their shoulder (see photo on the right). I just packed an empty water bottle in my cross body bag to fill once I got there. Either way, make sure you are drinking water between all those beers! Light fabrics and comfy shoes are a must. At the end of the day nobody cares how cute your outfit is, just that you can last 10 hours of standing in it.

TIP #2: Create a plan of action. Print out the festival line-up and highlight where each artist is you want to see. The festival is about a mile long with 8 stages. You’ll want to arrive 45 min early to a concert if possible to get a decent spot within viewing distance of the stage. If artists are playing back to back, we skipped the last song or two to head to the next stage. It’s packed and takes longer than you might think.

TIP #3: Take the time to explore all the great things Lolla has to offer. They had everything from a Farmer’s Market, to a free artist-signing booth, to Beer and Wine Gardens for a chance to relax. We saw some great festival clothes lined up in tents, and made a point to enjoy a craft beer between shows where we played corn hole and got our hair braided by one of the sponsor tents. So fun!

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TIP #5: Bring a portable phone charger. If you are like me, you want to capture all those special festival moments as they are happening. This means a lot of camera phone, videos, Instagram, and texting. I brought a portable charger small enough to fit in my bag and recharge at lunch between concerts. Also a good thing to keep in mind if you meet some cool people and want to meet up later before your phone dies!

TIP #6: Be sure to check out some of the after parties. It just takes some research and a little bit more money for tickets to enjoy a great after show. It’s a chance to get a little more intimate with your favorite artists verses the huge festival shows. The sooner you research options the better, the shows all sell out pretty fast.

TIP #7: Be sure to try some of the great food that’s offered at Chow Town, a collection of tents in the middle of the festival. We had anything from authentic Chicago pizza to a delicious root beer float to quench our sweet tooth and thirst. Everything looked great and there are many different options ranging from American to Vegan dishes. Everything was pretty quick, especially with the “tap to pay” option with our wristbands.

TIP #8: People suck. You are going to be pushed, shoved, spilled on, yelled at, laughed at, and insulted. There wasn’t one concert where we weren’t cut in front of for a worse view of the performers. This takes a little time to get used to, but once you get over it you’ll enjoy yourself 10x more. It’s going to happen, so all you can do is go with the flow.

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TIP #9: Über was a lifesaver and a big promotion at Lollapalooza this year. We were hesitant at first to try the personal taxi service, but it turned out extremely well. Cabs never took longer than 15 minutes, and only once were we forced to wait that long. Getting to and from the festival was a breeze and the promo gave each of us one free ride. I urge people to take advantage of the app. I was pretty impressed by how well it worked with so many people in the park each night.

TIP #10: Don’t be afraid to let loose and truly enjoy the concerts. There were moments where I was the only one dancing around and jamming to my favorite song, and they were some of my best memories of the weekend! When you let yourself go and vibe the music with the thousands of people around you, it is truly a magical moment.

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