How To Survive and Thrive at Lolla 2015


We’ve written a few posts about this year’s edition of Lollapalooza, but have no fear, here’s your comprehensive guide to the weekend. Introducing: WIUX’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Lollapalooza (volume one)


Perhaps the most important part of Lollapalooza is surviving. No scratch that, surviving is the most important part. In order to survive, you will need three basic things:

  1. Food
  2. Water
  3. Shelter


Luckily, the food options at Lolla are quite plentiful. Although you aren’t allowed to bring in a PB&J sandwich, you can eat some food from a variety of local vendors that are selling everything from Caramel Coated Bacon on a Stick to a Lobster Corndog. (I’m just as intrigued by the logistics of that as you are). If you’re more of a Chicago food purist, there will be hot dogs with an unnecessary amount of toppings and Lou Malnati’s pizza, with an unnecessary amount of crust. (Sorry, #eastcoast) If these options don’t fit your vegan/gluten-free/vegetarian/don’t want to have diabetes by 35 lifestyle, no fear THERE ARE MORE FOOD OPTIONS! (Are you sure this is strictly a music festival?) The Lollapalooza farmer’s market features “locally-sourced” food from the lush fields of Lakeshore Drive and the suburbs where every IU kid that claims they live in “Chicago” is actually from. The farmer’s market will sell foods that don’t sound like foods like “Fire Roasted Hatch Chile Queijo de Coalho With Drizzled Hot Pepper Jelly.” Say that five times fast. If that doesn’t satisfy your craving for some good food to go along with the good music, perhaps you would like to indulge in “Puffs of Doom,” which contrary to their name will not kill you, at least not right away. Choose either a sweet of savory puff (flavors include salted caramel chocolate and bacon ranch mac ‘n cheese, respectively) or suck on a boozy lollipop, if you’re above the legal boozy lollipop sucking age. If you need some fruit to keep going from The Wombats to Florence + The Machine on Sunday, no worries, you can purchase an apple for $1.


Yes, water is very important to survive. It’s going to be hot this weekend, magnified by the dancing and the music and the dancing to the music and the dancing to the music while surrounded by a million gazillion people. According to the ~official rules~ you are allowed to bring an empty Camelback water bottle (Lollapalooza specifically named Camelback, but I’m sure you can bring your Nalgene. If it gets taken away I take no responsibility) or no more than 2 “factory-sealed” water bottles. In interest of our slowly dying planet and diminishing clean water supplies and the drying of California, I would bring a reusable water bottle (I’ll be bringing my empty Camelback), which you can fill at the water stations located around the festival. Drink water! As someone who frequently considers themselves invincible yet has passed out in the middle of field hockey practice in high school due to dehydration, I sometimes forget to drink water, even when it’s super hot out. But drink water! Not only does it suck to be thirsty, but it would also suck to pass out in the middle of the Alabama Shakes set because you were too lazy to fill up your water bottle before heading to the show.


Hopefully you’ve figured this one out already. Since Lollapalooza takes place in the middle (I guess geographically more to the side) of a major U.S. metropolitan city, this is not a camping festival. Don’t bring a tent. Instead, hopefully you can stay in a hotel or a friend’s house or your own house or even maybe Airbnb it!

Those are the Lolla survival basics. Also some things to consider: sunscreen (but not the spray kind in cans, that isn’t allowed per Lolla rules), portable phone charger, sunglasses, a hat, comfortable shoes

Things not to bring: selfie sticks (really, they’re banned), flower headbands (they should be banned), your fears of being in close contact with hundreds of sweaty, smelly strangers.

And with that, we move on to part two.


Congrats, you’re surviving Lolla! That means you get to thrive! Here’s how to do that:

  1. Make a schedule in advance
  2. Prepare to be disappointed
  3. Don’t go to shows just cause your friends are and you’re afraid of being alone


This is easy! On the official Lollapalooza website, you can personalize your schedule and choose each band that you want to see over the weekend. Click on a band and you can listen to a song and read a short bio. Chances are, you’re going to be overwhelmed, and it’s a good idea to have somewhat of an idea of who’s on when and where so you don’t accidentally miss Father John Misty after listening to nothing but I Love You, Honeybear since the album came out. That being said, don’t leave a set just because you decided to see another band that starts across the festival in 15 minutes. If you’re really digging Toro Y Moi’s performance, there’s no reason to split early and run around to make it to Walk the Moon on time, unless I guess you’re the biggest fan. That’s what the festival is all about, enjoying music in a pretty awesome environment and hearing something new. One trick that I’ll share with you is I used to use this website all the time before I would go to Jack’s Mannequin concerts (lol) to see what the band had been playing on its tour. Recently, I’ve been using it to get a good idea of what the band’s set list will sound like at Lolla. It’s especially helpful when there’s two shows right after one another where you’ll have to decide to miss the first few songs of one band of the last few songs of another. On Friday, I’ll be running from Tame Impala to hear Brand New and I checked the website to see the average set list of both bands from their tours this summer. Turns out Brand New has been opening with their newest song, so I’ll be sticking til the end of Tame Impala’s set so I can make it to Brand New just in time to hear some of the emo classics.


It might rain. You might miss your favorite song because the line for  Caramel Crusted Bacon on a Stick was so long. You will have to pee in a smelly porta potty. You will be stuck behind a super tall, super sweaty, super middle-aged dude during Sir Paul. You will definitely spend a stupid amount of money on a stupid t-shirt or a stupid “artisanal” sandwich. But that’s all a part of the ~experience~ right? Prepare for it, don’t get upset about it. And if you do get upset about it, look around at, listen to the sounds, try not to smell all the smells, and you’ll be happy again in no time.


Go see whoever you want to see! Going to shows alone is fun, your friends can’t laugh at you for dancing like a dad or singing every word in your horrible voice! Or maybe you’re a great dancer and a great singer and you’ll meet a cutie to dance and sing with! Either way, there’s no reason to skip out on seeing a band you want to see just cause none of your friends want to see them. And guess what? You won’t be alone. You will literally be surrounded by people who are just as passionate about the music as you are.


Yup, that’s pretty much how to survive and thrive at Lollapalooza. Keep up with WIUX at Lolla by following us on both Twitter and Instagram and keep an eye out for articles throughout the week highlighting some of the most highly-anticipated acts.