An Insider's Guide To Lollapalooza

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Chicago's biggest music festival is one of the most popular city festivals in the world, and for 2016 it has been expanded to four days, with bands added to the Thursday night on top of the full weekend's schedule. Making the most of your weekend however can be difficult, as Lollapalooza has so much going on throughout the event. There are several things that you can do to try and maximise your time at the festival, and we drew on the experience of a series of Lollapalooza veterans to get you the insider's guide to the festival.


  • 01 of 12

    Plan Your Viewing Schedule

    The line-up at the festival is usually designed to split up the headliners, with different genres matching up on the different stages to try and cater to as many people as possible. While you may not be able to get all of the timings to match perfectly, try to have an idea of which stages you will need to visit and at what times, to see as many of your favorite bands or artists as possible.


  • 02 of 12

    Bring Water Bottles With You

    If the sun is shining, then Grant Park in summer can actually be quite hot so dehydration can be an issue. You can bring two one liter plastic bottles into the festival, and there are also several free water fountains where you can fill your bottles around the festival.


  • 03 of 12

    Use The Cashless Wristband To Prevent Lost Wallets

    Losing your wallet is a horrible experience at a festival, so Lollapalooza Cashless is a fantastic idea, as it links the chip on your wristband to your credit card, meaning you can shop at all the retailers, food stalls and drink stalls without needing your wallet.


  • 04 of 12

    Plan A Meeting Place With Your Friends

    There are so many people at Lollapalooza that it becomes all too easy to lose your friends, whether one of you wanders off to the loo, or you're separated in the crowds at the front. Agree on a particular store or landmark where you can meet at the end of each set if you lose one another.


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  • 05 of 12

    Know What You Can Take Into The Festival Grounds

    Before you pack your bags and head down to Grant Park, make sure you have a good look over what is and isn't allowed into the festival. Trying to smuggle in alcohol might be your first thought, but having it confiscated is just not the best way to start the party.


  • 06 of 12

    Scout Out The Lollapalooza Aftershows To Keep The Party Going

    Because of the city center location, and the fact that you have homes and offices just a short distance away, Lollapalooza's nights end fairly early. However, there are always a range of acts playing in local venues as a part of the official aftershow, so check them out if you have the energy to part some more.


  • 07 of 12

    Leave Your Bag At Home, Or Use The Lockers

    If you can travel light, then breezing past those in the lines to check bags is a great way to get in quickly and easily. For those who want to bring a few things, the lockers are a much better option than carrying a daysack around with you all day.


  • 08 of 12

    Bring A Poncho

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    One of the most regular occurences in Lollapalooza is the storms, and while Chicago in the sunshine may require sunscreen, every now and again the summer storms are heavy, so a poncho is light and easy to carry, and may be a godsend when the heavens open.


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  • 09 of 12

    Look Out For The Freebies

    Lollapalooza is a great place if you love music, but one of the traditions is that there will usually be a few companies handing out some decent freebies, which in the past has included branded gear from Toyota, and freebies from Google and Topshop too.


  • 10 of 12

    Hit The Chicago Music Exchange If You're In Town Early

    The Chicago Music Exchange is one of the most popular guitar stores in the city, and over recent years many of the performers have been spotted in the store in the days before the festival checking out the range of instruments available.


  • 11 of 12

    Keep Your Phone In Airplane Mode During The Sets

    One of the biggest problems that many people find is that Lollapalooza is not friendly on the battery of their cellphone, so keeping the phone in airplane mode during the sets will help to make sure you can still call your friends at the end of each awesome night.


  • 12 of 12

    Plan Your Way Home

      Since cell reception isn't the easiest to come by given the large crowds, have a game plan for how to get home after the festival. You can find a schedule for public transport on the CTA website and either take a screen shot on your phone, or print and bring the schedule with you for easy reference.