Lollapalooza 2014 is right around the corner, and while you were busy finalizing your festival strategy (Sunday is a tricky one!), we were working on putting together 10 tips for getting the most out of your Lolla experience. We're not going to tell you whether to see Kings of Leon or Skrillex, but we will encourage you to be prepared for whatever adventures might come your way. After all, you never know what may happen at these multi-day music fests, be it the weather, a dead cellphone, or a Porta-Potty sans toilet paper. Taste in music may be subjective, but these are tips that everyone can appreciate.
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We can't stress it enough folks: proper footwear. While it's tempting to sport open-toed shoes this time of the year, Lolla's not the best place for cute sandals. The dusty — and potentially muddy — grounds will leave you with some dirty tootsies. Not only will this potentially ruin your festival look, you'll be uncomfortable to boot. We suggest breaking out the booties, boots, and cool canvas kicks versus those oh-so-cute wedges you've been dying to show off. Your feet will thank you later.
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You need to be prepared to battle the elements at Lolla, and by elements, we mean the sun, the sweatiness, and, yes, the Porta-Potties. Our advice? Ditch the clutch (as cute as it may look in a street-style snap) and bring a crossbody bag or cool backpack. Make sure it's stocked with festival essentials like Kleenex (again, Porta-Potties), hand sanitizer, sunscreen, and a poncho — because we all remember what it was like two years ago when the grounds were evacuated due to an epic storm.
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If you're planning on eating at the fest, there's Chow Town, curated by celeb chef Graham Elliot, which offers fare from a group of excellent Chicago restaurants like Bar Toma, County Barbeque, and Peeled Juice Bar. But, if you're looking to avoid the lines and escape the heat for a bit, we suggest temporarily exiting the festival grounds to sit down and enjoy a decent meal at a table — not on a curb. Just stroll down Michigan Avenue, or a few blocks further west into the Loop, and you'll find spots like The Gage, The Berghoff, Pizano's, and Pastoral.
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We're not gonna lie: At this stage in the game, a lot of these shows are already sold out — but there's still a chance to win free tickets, so there's no reason why you can't toss your hat in the ring for an opportunity to party into the night with Chvrches and Grouplove.
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Our opinion on Lolla lodging is very similar to how we feel about all vacation lodging. While you don't want to drop a lot of coin on a room you won't be spending a lot of time in, you still want a nice place to come back to at the end of a long day. So, to avoid being hit with ridiculously high rates so close to the fest, we suggest you check out the options on our fave, Airbnb. Who knows? It just might be the best room with a view you've ever had.
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Fact: You're going to spend a little dough over the course of the weekend, so it's worth hitting up the ATM at your own bank before heading in so you can avoid those hefty fees. Even better, don't bring cash at all. No, we're not encouraging you to mooch off your pals. New to the fest this year, Lolla Cashless allows you to register your wristband (for free!) with the credit card of your choice, so that you can simply "tap" all of your purchases. The only drawback? It's harder to be accountable for all those brewskies.
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While the phone reception inside of the fest is notoriously rotten, your device will still be used to snap selfies and maybe a few of those stage shots that you'll probably never look at again. Either way, make sure you juice up your phone ahead of time so you don't miss out on any photo opportunities. And, don't forget to bring your charger: You can rent one of these secure lockers with a built-in charging station.
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Hey, we like a libation and a concert just as much as the next person — but start too early in the day (in the heat no less), and you'll wind up feeling like death by the time the headliners hit the stage in the evening. We've all seen the drunk person about to hurl. Let's avoid following suit, shall we?