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If you prepare properly, Lollapalooza is an amazing event. You just need to keep a few key things in mind as you plan for the festival.
Lollapalooza is one of the largest music festivals in the world. It is certainly the premiere festival for the midwest. And if you lean toward the alternative sound this is certainly a festival to please you.
The festival is held in Chicago's Grant Park. In the old days Lollapalooza traveled around the country and there was only one main stage provided for all of the featured bands. Now there is only one event and as of the 2011 festival there are eight stages with each stage having their own unique offering.
With a huge range of bands playing at any one time if you don't plan ahead you will probably spend most of your time walking aimlessly hoping to stumble upon a band you like. Because of the eclectic nature of the festival this can definitely be a waste of limited time for which you paid a good deal of money. Consider that in 2011 the bands Coldplay and Muse performed at the same time at opposites ends of the festival grounds.
Getting Your Lollapalooza Ticket
Early bird tickets for the 2013 Lollapalooza festival went on sale March 26th for $200 followed by regular three-day tickets for $235. Both sold out in a day. In fact, you should expect that all tickets of every type for the festival will sell out well in advance of the festival. However, tickets are always available for resale at various sites like TicketNetwork and StubHub.
Fans looking to go first class can purchase a VIP package for which went for $1050 per person in 2013. VIP Tickets include access to the Lollapalooza lounges, golf cart shuttle service between lounges, premium viewing platforms, all day beer and wine service, catered food, mini spa treatments, and restrooms with flush toilets. This last one could be worth the money alone. If you've ever had to use a portable toilet on steamy Midwestern late afternoon you understand the value.
There's also something above the VIP package called the Platinum Pass. How does it differ from the VIP pass? We did a side by side comparison and here's what we found:
And what's the price for this platinum luxury? A mere $3,600.00 a person.
Even if you don't plan on actually attending all 3 days you should strongly consider getting a 3 day pass. It's worth the peace of mind knowing you can come and go as you please and have a choice of days to attend. Reselling your pass only takes minutes on Craigslist or by standing near a festival entrance. You should easily be able to make back the remaining day or two's ticket value. In order to sell your pass be sure to keep your wristband on loose so it can be removed or just carry it in your pocket and show it to the security as you enter.
If you don't see one of the bands performing at Lollapalooza you probably won't see them for quite a while. Lollapalooza has a lock on the bands that play at the festival which prohibits artists from performing for six months before the festival and three months after it anywhere within 300 miles of Grant Park. That large area includes concert markets as far away as Milwaukee, Madison, Iowa City, Detroit and Indianapolis.
Don't Let Chicago Weather Bum You Out
The weather in Chicago is unpredictable and if you are putting all your eggs into one day you could be disappointed. Also if you only have a single day pass you will be a captive to the festival and unable to leave the grounds and return again. There is very limited indoor space which will make for a miserable experience if the weather turns nasty. Having the option to leave the festival grounds and take a break at a nice quiet air conditioned restaurant can go a long way toward re-charging you for the next round of bands.
It will probably be hot and humid so be sure to dress appropriately. You may want to carry an umbrella or poncho in your back pack in case of rain. In the event the skies are clear be sure to bring plenty of sun screen. There's precious little shade at many of the stages.
Getting to Lollapalooza
Public transportation is the way to go. It's one of the impressive benefits of having the event in downtown Chicago. Parking is extremely expensive and traffic will cause your blood pressure to rise. Even if you're coming in from out of town for the day consider parking somewhere outside of the downtown area and taking public transit into the loop.
Hotels, Bars and Restaurants
You'll be in downtown Chicago so there will be a lot of options. Walk out of the festival grounds and you'll easily find a bar or food in minutes. Yet another reason to consider the 3 day pass (see above). There are plenty of hotels in the area including a few reasonably priced locations but you should book your room weeks in advance or you'll be out of luck.
If you plan ahead you'll be ready to kick it. Lollapalooza is an event like no other and Chicago is a world class city. It's hard not to have a good time no matter what happens.