Lollapalooza, one of the biggest music festivals in the U.S., is coming up fast, following up hip-hop fest Rolling Loud Miami as one of the music festivals making their big summer comeback. While everyone has already started to pack some bags and coordinate a plan (like we’ve said before, planning is key), it doesn’t come without a hint of caution this year.
The annual fest comes after Lollapalooza postponed the 2020 event due to Covid-19, missing a year in Chicago’s Grant Park for the first time since 2005. But with an uptick of cases due to the Delta Variant and vaccine hesitancy, it’s hard to imagine Grant Park packed with nearly 100,000 attendees again this year, even after fans have scrambled to secure tickets after quarantine.
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Though Lollapalooza 2021’s still got the green light to go ahead at full-capacity, and protocols have largely remained the same, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city may change their health precautions as cases rise. We’ve got you covered, though — along with some tips we’ve shared before for how to pack for your first post-vaxx concert (from where to get a non-sweaty face mask, to festival-ready cameras), we’ve got a full guide for what you need to know to make your festival comeback at Lollapalooza as memorable (and safe) as possible.
How to Buy Tickets for Lollapalooza 2021
First things first, get your tickets in hand (or your wristband on, in this case).
While passes for Lollapalooza went on sale in May on its official site, don’t panic and go to a sketchy website or hit up your cousin who totally “knows a guy” for tickets. Vivid Seats is the place to buy Lollapalooza tickets online, with everything available from four-day passes, single-day tickets, and even Platinum and VIP passes. Vivid Seats guarantees the authenticity of its tickets or your money back.
Remember that no matter where you get it from, you must activate your wristband before heading to Grant Park for entry, but also to make cashless purchases at the fest. You can head over here to activate your wristband before the fun starts July 29.
Lollapalooza 2021 Lineup and Basic Info
So you’ve got the passes, checked that off your list — now here’s the run-down on the 2021 festival. First off, the event will be taking place over four days, from July 29 through August 1 in Grant Park, Chicago.
Foo Fighters, Post Malone and Miley Cyrus are all set to headline Lollapalooza this summer. The lineup also features Tyler, the Creator, DaBaby, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, Marshmello, Brockhampton, Journey, Playboi Carti, Young Thug, Limp Bizkit, Modest Mouse, Kaytranada, Polo G, Jack Harlow, Steve Aoki, Brittany Howard, Jimmy Eat World, Band of Horses, Lauv, All Time Low, Dominic Fike, Whitney, Freddie Gibbs, Kim Petras, Omar Apollo, Orville Peck, Princess Nokia, Flo Milli, Slowthai, Aly & AJ and more.
You can find the current map of the festival on their site, as well as information about renting exclusive Cabanas for the event, as well as VIP food and drink accommodations. The weekend lineup includes 170 performances across eight stages, and has also been officially posted here, although that may be subject to change.
Unlike other festivals (such as Rolling Loud), Lollapalooza’s health and safety guidelines require proof of full vaccination, so remember to bring a printed copy of your vaccine card of vaccine record with you in your fanny pack. Not fully vaccinated? You can always bring a negative Covid-19 test result from within the past 72 hours of attending the fest. If you are unvaccinated, you’ll also have to wear a mask throughout your time onsite.
Attendees also have to abide by a “Lollapalooza Fan Health Pledge,” which includes asks that you hold off from coming to the fest this year if you’ve tested positive or have been exposed to Covid-19 14 days prior, have had Covid-19 symptoms 48 hours prior, or have traveled anywhere internationally anywhere that requires quarantining.
Lollapalooza is essentially working on the honor system here, since they can’t sus out fake vaccination cards, and they’ll just have to trust that you’ll keep that mask secure all weekend if you are unvaccinated. But by taking the right precautions (like getting fully vaccinated before you go), you can mitigate your risk and still have a rocking time.
How to Stream Lollapalooza 2021 Online Free
This is all to say that if you aren’t ready to be shoulder to shoulder with thousands of sweaty people yet, or are still worried about the Delta variant, there’s a way to get the full Lollapalooza 2021 experience from home without missing out on any of the fun. This year, Lollapalooza has teamed up with Hulu for an exclusive livestream of the festival event.
Hulu subscribers will be able to stream the four-day festival online, with a livestream that kicks off at 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET, and wraps up at 8 PM PT / 11 PM ET. If you’re not already signed up, fans can sign up for 30-day free trial to Hulu to watch Lollapalooza online free. With your subscription, you’ll have access to all of Hulu’s other content, too. Once your trial ends, you’ll only have to pay $5.99 a month for your standard Hulu plan.
What to Bring to Lollapalooza 2021
Even with concert venues and live-music festivals across the country are slowly returning, safety measures and venue layout switch-ups may mean a few changes to what you can bring. But we’ve got you covered from bags to earplugs and everything beyond — here’s what we recommend you pack for Lollapalooza, all festival-approved in accordance with their 2021 guidelines.
1. Clear Festival Tote Bag
Festival rules about bags oftentimes widely vary from venue to venue, so it’s best to check beforehand so you don’t show up at the gates and get anything confiscated.
Lollapalooza requires that bags be made from clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC and don’t exceed 12″ x 6″ x 12.” We like this clear tote because it’s made specifically with festivals in mind. It’s more structured than a drawstring bag, so you can keep both your smaller essentials like keys, phone, and extra cash, and taller items like water bottles standing upright. Even though it’s durable, it’s lightweight and easy enough to carry that you’ll want to wear it even after the stage lights go down.
Besides tote bags, Lollapalooza will also allow small clutch purses and fanny packs with no more than one pocket (so no backpacks with secret pockets here, sorry). Empty, clear plastic hydration packs are also allowed, but little hard to find, so you can always get a hydration reservoir (or “bladder”) and put it in a see-through approved bag.
2. KN95 Face Mask
Even as major music festivals in the U.S. request or suggest that you still wear a mask, that doesn’t mean your fellow attendees will always follow social distancing and mask protocols. It’s true that Lollapalooza takes place in an open-air arena, but you should still attempt to maintain a reasonable distance of six feet from your fellow concertgoers, even while vaccinated (save the crowd surfing for another time). This doesn’t mean there’s zero risk, especially with cases on the rise, so we still suggest you pick up a good, rugged face covering that can hold up to standing outdoors in the hot summer air for hours.
One of our favorite protective face masks is this KN95 mask from BlueBear. It stands out from other disposable masks because it has four fluid-resistant layers that filter 95 percent of particles for up to 12 hours. The mask itself is lightweight and breathable, making it super gentle if you’re going to be showing up for the entire weekend-long event (although, if you want something more sustainable, Blue Bear also has great reusable masks).
3. Point-and-Shoot Camera
Nowadays, venues get pretty particular with what kind of cameras they’ll let you take in, even if the tech on your phone lets you get some pretty good shots. Lollapalooza’s rules say nothing “professional,” but what does that mean? Normally that refers to a camera with a detachable lens, or with a standard lens longer than two inches. Action cameras like GoPros aren’t necessarily banned here, but video recording isn’t allowed, so we advise not bringing yours this time. But if you don’t want to risk the memory of a lifetime getting ruined by an unintentionally grainy, blurred-out zoom picture from your phone, a point-and-shoot is your best bet.
We really like the accessibility and 4K quality of the Panasonic Lumix LX10 — if you need a portable way to capture your festival experience with the least amount of effort, this is the one you should get. The Lumix LX10 shoots in crystal-clear 4K at 30 fps (frames per second), and with DFD (Depth From Defocus) it’ll quickly establish a focus lock on faraway, moving subjects, you’ll get actual usable footage when you’re being jostled around by a raging crowd.
4. Hand Sanitizer
There’s no guarantee that you’re going to have easy access to running water and soap on-hand, and hand-sanitizing stations might be scattered around too far for you to reach in a pinch. To keep germs and viruses at bay, Lollapalooza will allow you to bring along some “personal-sized” bottles of hand sanitizer: while they don’t specific the ounces, this spray-on Hand and Surface Cleaning mist by Purophy is compact, and kills some of the most common germs without the extra goopy mess.
Suitable for both your hands and to disinfect surfaces, the mist is made with 70 percent alcohol to exceed CDC recommendations by 10 percent. It also contains all-natural aloe vera to help soothe sun-kissed skin. Stock up before you go with their six-pack, which includes three spray bottles and three mini refill bottles. If you’re worried about looking suspicious trying to bring in a bunch of mini-bottles of a clear liquid, a pack of disinfecting baby wipes will also do the trick (and are perfectly acceptable to bring).
5. Phone Juice Pack
Lollapalooza will actually have mobile charging pack rentals available near the main entrance when you get to the festival. But if you don’t want to keep making runs back to the front gates every time your battery runs out of energy, having a battery pack, or one of our top portable chargers, is a great way to ensure you won’t run out of life while in the middle of taking concert photos or trying to call your friends.
Mophie’s battery charging cases are conveniently attached to your phone at all times, so you’ll never set it down and forget it, or have to exchange it for another battery. They’re some of the most reliable power banks out there, since they can extend your phone’s battery life by up to 35 percent all day, and prevent the panic moment of forgetting your charging cable at home.
6. UV-Blocking Sunglasses
Courtesy Garrett Leight
No more squinting to see the stage with the afternoon sun beating down on you. While you can pick up sunglasses from any corner store on your way there, if you’re going to spend a lot of time in the sun, you’ll want lenses that can protect your eyes the same way a good sunblock would for your skin. Wearing sunglasses are also an easy way to get you to stop rubbing your eyes, something that can spread germs to your face.
These Garrett Leight Navarre Sunglasses recently made our top Summer Essentials guide, thanks to their anti-reflective, UV-blocking lenses and built-in nose pads for long-wearing style. With three different color ways and a gently rounded design, these glasses will go along with any festival-ready outfit that we know you’ve been planning weeks in advance.
7. Water Bottle
Hydration is a must, full-stop, no questions asked. While some festivals might make you suffer through sipping warm water all day from plastic bottles, Lollapalooza is letting you bring in one empty, aluminum reusable water bottle per person. You’ll get the day-long, icy-cold crisp water from this Hydro Flask, and since there’s no volume limit, you can fill up at the water stations with a hearty amount to keep you well-hydrated.
This double-walled, vacuum-insulated bottle’s proprietary TempShield technology means your beverage will stay cold for 24 hours under the hot festival sun. A worthy concert companion, you can either get a quiet sport cap for one-handed drinking or the standard twist-off flex cap. It comes in a wide-mouth option as well as a variety of colors, bonus: it’s also BPA and phthalate-free.
If you want to vibe out to Lollapalooza’s lineup without suffering from that ringing in your ears for days afterward, protecting your hearing is as important as packing the best sunscreen.
Consider springing for these high-fidelity earplugs from Vibes, which are designed with live music in mind. These earplugs reduce damaging decibel levels in noisy areas without hurting sound quality, so you won’t have to sit through a muffled version of your favorite songs. Made of form-fitting silicone, these are also more comfortable (and less bulky) than typical earplugs.
Blankets, sheets, towels — good news for you, cause Lollapalooza allows them all. Of course, you’ll want to be comfortable no matter where you park it at an outdoor festival, but you also don’t want to look like you just grabbed your bathroom towel before heading out the door. Slowtide’s Haven Blanket is the answer, especially for this music fest.
The two-person blanket is made with microfiber, so you won’t get to sweat spills, and there’s a bottom DWR layer for laying down on everything from grassy patches, to slightly muddy hills. But Slowtide is a real festival winner because of its storage capabilities: you can easily fit your phone, keys, or sunblock (non-canned, 3.4 ounces, according to the rules) within the blanket’s corner pockets. The Haven also comes with a convenient carry bag for travel.
Since this is a music festival after all, you can also flex some of the greats with their collection of blanket collaborations, such as the oversized Beatles throw blanket, or the stylish Grateful Dead collection.
What not to bring: Lollapalooza has an extensive list of what’s banned from the fest on their website, but some notable exclusions are canned sunblocks, backpacks with multiple pockets, chairs, coolers, umbrellas, glass containers, large chains or spiked jewelry, outside food or beverages, tents, and selfie sticks.
How to Stay Safe at Lollapalooza
You might be anxious getting back to being sweaty around thousands of strangers for the first time, and your concern would not be unfounded. According to CovidActNow, though the Chicago Metro Area currently has a 65.9 percent vaccination rate (of at least one dose), the Covid-19 risk level is classified as being “high” right now. That being said, if you’re currently vaccinated, you have a much higher protection level than someone unvaccinated. Travel is explicitly discouraged unless you are vaccinated.
Harm reduction is the name of the game here, and there are steps you can take to make sure that you lower your risk. First thing’s first, you should make sure it’s been two weeks since your second dose of the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine before traveling to Lollapalooza.
The CDC just announced new guidelines that even if you’re vaccinated, you should still be wearing a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. Continue masking up if you’re going to be tightly packed in next to others for a long time, like an artist’s full set. Try to maintain your distance while you’re walking the grounds, since the rate of infection is lower when you’re outside and moving around.
But Covid-19 isn’t the only health concern with going to a big festival, since you might have to contend with the usual incidents that come along, like sunburns, heat exhaustion, cuts, burns, food poisoning, etc. Lollapalooza will have trained medical staff, paramedics, and EMTs at six medical tents on site, including additional support at the Soberside tent and Hope For The Day.
You can also grab a mask, available for free at the entry gates, guest services and medical tents. Not only that, but increased hand sanitizer stations will be present throughout the site, and cleaning crews will do frequent cleanings in high touch areas. If you do get sick, you’re just a few miles away from some regional hospitals, including Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Lurie Children’s Hospital.
One way to give yourself some reassurance is with a little travel insurance: AXA Assistance USA is a service we like that provides coverage so you can prepare for the unexpected. Their insurance plans, depending on the tier, can include benefits such as trip cancellation, emergency medical expenses, accidental injuries and illness coverage, and baggage delays to help give you peace of mind before and during your festival excursion. You can get a quote or file a claim on their website here.
Of course it goes without saying, but if you are experiencing any severe symptoms, you should always go see a doctor or head to the nearest hospital to get checked out.
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