July 27th, 2015
It’s that time of year again – time to relive my misspent youth by seeing 100+ bands in one weekend at Lollapalooza. This is my attempt to shamelessly recruit more friends to join me this year by posting “Five Misconceptions People Over 40 May Have About Going to Lollapalooza” Here goes…
1. “It’s a mosh pit.” Well, that can certainly be true if you choose to rush the stage or hang out at Perry’s, the electric synthesized music stage for people with short attention spans where all your kids will be hanging out.
But to be honest, Grant Park is absolutely gorgeous and huge, one mile from end to end. There are eight stages spread out along the edges, and the inside of the park is filled with flowers, trees, lawns, Buckingham Fountain, and nice shady spots to relax and chill. My favorite spot is the WXRT area. It’s a great place to regroup, with Adirondack chairs, shade, a craft beer station nearby, and is centrally located in the park.
2. “I’ll be too exhausted for a three-day festival.” Do you actually think you’ll have more energy next year? You can do it! It’s all about pacing. Because the park is one mile from end to end, you can become completely exhausted if all you’re doing is walking from one end to the other all day. Be smart about it. On both ends of the park are two stages that face each other. Pick a good spot in the middle to “camp” and hear two bands back to back without ever moving. And you’ll make lots of new friends.
3. “Weather.” Yes, there will be weather. We are on Earth, after all. It can be hot, but there are water stations everywhere. Bring a camelback or some plastic water bottles and you can fill up endlessly and for free. And it may rain (which brings the tremendous entertainment of watching the drunk, stupid people create slip and slides in the mud). It’s always a good idea to bring a small plastic tarp to either sit on or sit under in case of rain.
4. “There won’t be anything good to eat or drink.” If you enjoy watery, light beer, this festival, like all others, has got you covered. But there are two craft beer stations on site, and a wine bar set up in the middle of the park where you can sit on comfy couches and sip whatever you want. By Sunday night, this is usually where I am. From this spot, you can lounge and hear the live music from the biggest stage while watching it on a giant screen.
For the ultimate in convenience, you can connect your wristband to your credit card and never have to worry about whether you have enough money. (This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Last year, I bought a round of drinks for a table of new friends from around the world. Go big or go home, right?)
And because you’re in Chicago, the food is actually great. Billie Goat’s, Lou Malnati’s pizza, MBurgers, Kamehachi’s, Cheesie’s grilled cheese, salads, pasta and new this year, an organic farmer’s market. Even vegans eat well at this festival.
5. “I’ve never heard of these bands.” Of course you haven’t, because most of us are busy working, managing careers, spouses and children and too busy to keep up with the latest. But that’s the beauty of going – discovering new music.
I’m partial to the BMI stage, the smallest stage where the really new bands appear. The ones who do well come back to play on the larger stages in future years. Last year, Houndmouth played on the BMI stage, and went on to appear on Letterman, release a fantastic record, and are going on tour this fall. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know. Run with it.
One other thing you should know: Cell phone signals are completely sketchy and unreliable in the park, so don’t rely on them to be able to connect with your friends and / or kids. Make plans in advance.
Have I convinced you to come? I hope so! If you need tickets, I would suggest buying from someone you know or through a broker like Stub Hub or Ticket City. Every year, there are a fair number of fake tickets sold through fake eBay and Craigslist. A 1-day pass should be $100+, and a 3-day pass should be $300+. If they’re cheaper, they’re likely fake.
With a great lineup and the Chicago skyline as a backdrop, it should be a beautiful weekend! Hope to see you there!