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If you only go to one festival in 2019, it should be… Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza offers the best show with the best price tag out of this year’s music festivals.

Ryan Feyre



In 2018, tickets for the Lollapalooza music festival hovered around $335 (plus taxes and fees) for the entire weekend. For the average person, this can be a hefty price. But if you compare the typical Lollapalooza ticket price with a Pitchfork Festival ticket price (around $375), it’s really not that bad. 

Once again, the Lollapalooza festival will be held in Grant Park, IL, during the weekend of Aug. 1-4 in 2019. Overseas, the festival will be featured in Santiago, Chile from March 29-31, as well as Stockholm, Sweden from June 28-30. Most tickets in Sweden have already sold out for all three days.

Typically, the lineup stays the same in every location, unless an artist has to pull out for whatever reason, and Chicago usually has the biggest turnout each year for the festival (averaging around 400,000 each weekend since 2016). Since 2011, Lolla has debuted in different locations outside of the country for each of the respective years. Countries have included Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Chicago is the only constant location each year. 

The different locations are great for people outside the Untied States to witness some of these big name artists. In 2018, Bruno Mars and Tyler, the Creator assembled one of the biggest crowds in Lolla’s history. I find this unsurprising considering how relevant each of them were at the time, especially with the release of their respective albums, Flower Boy and 24K Magic.

 Lollapalooza always comes through with high profile artists from a variety of genres. In 2018, musicians included Travis Scott, Arctic Monkeys, The Weeknd, Jack White and Vampire Weekend. Three of those artists came out with new records during that year, with Astroworld hitting streaming services during the festival’s Chicago weekend. One would assume 2019’s setlist will be just as star-studded. As of right now, there is no set list yet, but released an article with predictions about who may attend. Ariana Grande, Kendrick Lamar, and Twenty One Pilots are the rumored headlines for 2019’s festival, which would be incredible considering Grande’s recent rise to superstardom, and Lamar’s stature as an A-list rapper. 

Meanwhile, for $40 or more, Pitchfork normally only holds a little over 40 artists per weekend, much less than the 170 musicians who performed at Lollapalooza in 2018. And while Pitchfork tends to show the smaller independent acts (like Tame Impala, Big Thief and Saba), their artistic output is a lot less significant than Lolla’s, and is nowhere near as prominent size-wise. 

The expansion of the enormous festival has also lead to increase in places to perform for artists. According to their website, Lolla now features eight different stages, thus allowing some room for customers to walk around and really take the experience in. It’s a large reason why they can hold so many big-name artists as well. Eight stages is currently the most Lolla has ever featured. Around 40 artists perform each day during the festival, and since the size is larger than its ever been, more people from different generations are able to enjoy an array of different musicians. 

I’m interested to see how they will balance their plethora of artists, especially since the festival has been known for selecting a diverse group of performers (as explained in this Consequence of Sound article).  What used to be an outlet for more independent acts, has now turned into a place for high profile artists like Grande and Mars.

The food is incredible in the Chicago area, and contains a variety of options for people with all kinds of diets. Lolla’s site also offers restaurant options for vegans, vegetarians, and people who can’t consume gluten. It’s a deal that can’t be beat at any other festival. Each year, Lolla showcases a signature dish. For example, the 2018 Chicago festival featured a lobster corn dog from celebrity chef, Graham Elliot. Elliot has been catering the event since the festival started in Chicago in 2005.

In all, there are 36 different restaurants tied into the festival, with Revival Food Hall, Gideon Sweet, and Gideon Kitchen making their debuts last year. I’m curious to see how each restaurant has utilized Chicago’s food history into their menu. 

 Lolla features VIP tickets, where customers are invited to different lounges with complimentary food from different Chicago restaurants. While the site doesn’t specify how long these passes have been going on for, it does contain a video highlighting the specifics. These tickets also allow certain customers to take golf carts around, and find shade, something that will be extra important in the middle of the summer. VIP tickets generally hover around $1500 on SeatGeek. 

As someone who needs to have a place to stay after it all ends, it’s comforting knowing the majority of attendees have Air BnB apartments  to stay at after all of the performances. Unlike most festivals that end late, each night at Lolla finishes at 10pm, meaning most artists who performed that night go to other venues for appearances after 10pm. In the past, Lana Del Rey, Lamar, and Death Grips have been found at the local House of Blues, Empty Bottle, or Park West.

The parking is a lot more manageable for people who hate walking (which I love since I’m from the horrid Boston area, and hate the hassle of traffic). Rather, attendees take the train, and walk a short distance to the main grounds. It’s a win-win for everyone, and customers can enjoy the full experience without the worry about getting there, and leaving afterwards. 

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Ryan is a Communications major student at Salem State University. He’s written for the pop culture websites, The Young Folks and Fansided. Currently, Ryan is working to finish his degree, and in his free time, he enjoys listening to music, going to the movies, and playing basketball.

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