As I’m sure many of you know, this past weekend was Lollapalooza. For the past two years, I highly anticipated going to Lolla and every summer I always promised myself that the first summer I had an apartment in the city, I would attend. Granted, I would have loved nothing more than to leave Lolla every night and walk to the Congress Hotel across the street and fall asleep on a bed within 20 minutes but the extra travel costs are out of this world pricey.
Sooo a few months back, the second I found out Lolla tickets were going on sale, I asked one of my best friends (Grace) from home if she’d go with me. During one of my morning classes this past semester, I called my mom up and begged her to try to buy two 3 day passes (while I tried at the same time of course). She ended up nailing the tickets before I did and when they finally arrived two weeks ago, I could not WAIT. Something as silly as a music festival had been my dream to go to for so long and now it was finally going to happen! My excitement building up monthly was out of this world.
Through the 3 twelve-hour days at Grant Park I learned many things, experienced a WHOLE lot, met some very interesting people in the dozens of crowds I peddled through, shared tons of laughs and delicious eats and took a TON of photos. Getting one bar of service was as impossible as staying clean and sweat-free the whole day. The first day I couldn’t take it that I wasn’t able to send a single text to a friend or family member telling them about my experience but by Saturday, I realized how lucky I was to be somewhere with no worries and no phone data for once in my life.
I’m always complaining about how I wish I had a break from technology and finally I got that break, while seeing some bands and performers I never could have imagined seeing live. Especially Florence and the Machine while the Chicago skyline was illuminated behind me with heat lightning. #ohyes
Like I said before, I had the chance to enjoy the weekend with one of my best and oldest friends, Grace. The last time she came in Chicago was the first time ever for both of us in the city, we were 17 and total tourists. Now 3 years later, I got to show her around a bit in my (now) home.
We started Friday morning off with breakfast in the West Loop at my favorite breakfast go-to spot, The Allis. If you are a Chicago dweller and haven’t popped down to the West Loop, it is the best place (and pretty affordable) for a quick and healthy nom. It’s located inside of the Soho House, a members only club featuring a pizza restaurant and a chicken shop (which non-members are welcome to).
The egg options at The Allis blow me out of the water. From boiled on multigrain to an egg white crepe and they even sell Blue Bottle Coffee (originally from California). It is the creamiest, richest espresso I think I’ve ever laid my mouth on and kind of tastes like chocolate… mmm. Check out that swirl! Gotta love the additional almond milk.
We ended up ordering the grain bowl (a blend of quinoa, cacao nibs, blueberries, goji berries and coconut), multigrain toast with almond butter and whole flaxseed and the lean sandwich (egg white, tomato, jalapeño, almond aioli, tomato and avocado). Grace ordered it on gluten-free bread for those of you who need the GF option, it’s available!
While Lollapalooza sure is loaded with your fair share of deep dish pizza, lobster corn dogs (my first time ever hearing of such a thing) and bratwursts, there were a few healthy options in between all of the Chicago tourist food. We stopped at Owen + Alchemy, a cold-pressed juice shop originally located in Logan Square, to get 12oz. juices the first day. Mine was a blueberry basil lemonade. I think I’m addicted to blue juices now… move over kale!
I’d like to add how much of a dork I am for great packaging (my marketing minor kicking into gear), I love how Owen + Alchemy has this quote by Hippocrates on their bottles. It used to be in my Instagram bio so it hits my heart happily.
Other snackage involved nut butter packs we snuck into the festival and local apples we bought at a stand called Seedling (where we also ended up buying mixed berry + apple cider smoothies Sunday… very simple and tasty!). We ate these while we watched Sylvan Esso. She was just as good as she is on Spotify/iTunes. Highly recommend seeing her live if you ever get the chance! One of the many acts we had more fun standing around the crowd rather than in it, dancing in circles.
Among my favorite performers I saw were The Weeknd, Coasts, alt-J, Ryn Weaver, Kid Cudi, Banks, Charli XCX, Florence and the Machine and my all time favorite… Twenty One Pilots.
Two bands I was really disappointed in? Misterwives and Walk The Moon. Misterwives talked too much during their set, while Walk The Moon had the worst audio problems and were so difficult to hear from afar. After hearing their hit ‘Tightrope’ we left to lay down on the ground to take a break. I’d love to know your thoughts on either if you attended Lolla/have seen these two previously!
Despite an hour evacuation and “tornado watch”, I finally ended up seeing Twenty One Pilots early Sunday night. I remember watching them perform at the APMA’s last year and thought the day I saw them it would probably be the best live show ever. I was right.
They are one of those bands that engages so much with the crowd that it’s hard not to have a good time, even if you barely know their music. Going into the show I didn’t expect to know as many songs as I did but as the hour-long set went on I was stunned with each one. They played all of their popular hits, Tyler (the lead singer) ran into the crowd and stood on a ladder a few feet away from me, Josh (the drummer) played his drums ON TOP of the crowd and they ended their set with ‘Trees’, which is pretty much on repeat on every music playing device and app I own. They’re so unique.
Despite the wonderful acts I saw and the weekend I had, I learned a few things during my first time experience…
1. You can never have enough sunscreen on. I applied this Alba Botanica sunscreen every day on my shoulders and neck (the two parts of my body that fry that easiest) at least twice a day and to my surprise, I did not burn at ALL. I guess that’s what you get with SPF 45 right? This was my first time at a festival where I didn’t burn and boy was I happy (and proud!)
2. Good luck keeping your hair straightened or your makeup in tact. Lollapalooza got VERY hot this weekend. Mid to high 80s and low 90s and with the countless fields of dust combined with Chicago’s wind, your hair will get pretty sweaty and dirty within a few hours. The last day I couldn’t find a hair tie anywhere and let me tell ya, it was misery. I knew my hair wouldn’t look cute an hour into the festival so I went for the natural look every day and it really worked.
3. If you don’t like walking… you probably shouldn’t attend Lollapalooza. You know that little health app that the new iPhones have? It tracks your steps and how many miles a day you walk? Every day Grace and I would check it just out of curiosity and believe it or not, we walked at least 8 miles every. day. On Friday we apparently walked 11 MILES! I was blown away. I love exercise but MAN, by the time we got home every night around 11:30-12am, showered and collapsed asleep, we would wake up in the morning exhausted and sore. But of course, we were always ready for another day of activities.
4. You will go into Lollapalooza with a whole schedule of every band you want to see but good luck seeing them all. When you’re with a group of people and they don’t want to leave a certain band’s set, you’re too tired to go early to Lolla because #sleep or set times conflict (the biggest issue) – you just won’t see all you hoped for. Bands I missed that I really wished I’d seen included Angus and Julia Stone, Halsey, James Bay, The Wombats, G-Eazy, more of Kid Cudi’s set, Odesza and Kygo.
5. Staying hydrated is key at a music festival, especially when you don’t know the next time you will eat or if the band you are seeing next will have a set right underneath the sun. If you can bring in 5 empty water bottles and fill ’em all, you should! Grace and I did this Saturday and Sunday and boy did it help. Those water re-fill lines were no joke.
After a few lessons learned, I truly and honestly had one of the best experiences of my life attending Lollapalooza for the first time. As cliché it sounds, it made me realize if you want something bad enough (a vacation or travel experience) you can make it happen in due time. Next goal? Coachella! Maybe I can meet a celebrity then… even though there are probably tens of thousands of people floating around Lollapalooza that it was impossible to even keep track of my own friends.
Until next year, I’ll just continue listening to my Lollapalooza playlists and Twenty One Pilots’ albums on repeat. Reminiscing on how beautiful of a weekend I had.