It seems that Chicago magazines (the Reader, Time Out Chicago, the Red Eye) are very fond of making "what to bring" and "what not to bring" suggestions for Lollapalooza. These, I quickly discovered, are not complete lists, as they cater to out-of-towners ready to sacrifice a good time for looking good. Not good enough for me! THUS, I present to you:
GUIDE TO MUSIC FESTIVALS
-No nice clothing. Nothing nice, actually. Nothing that you wouldn't mind losing, i.e. no fancy earrings, necklaces, etc. Things can get ugly, by which I mean awesome. By which I mean: keep your precious jewels at home and stop complaining.
-Hydration. I spent last summer's Lolla chronically starving and dehydrated because I was so obsessed with seeing as many bands as I possibly could. Not healthy. I ended quite sick, very disgusting-feeling, and barely able to handle the ridiculous moshpit of 19-year old girls that was last year's Passion Pit show. Bring sealed bottled water. You'll need it.
-NO umbrellas. All music festival guides discuss this issue. But let's be honest here. If you're going to get wet, you're going to get wet. A flimsy piece of plastic isn't much with the occasional torrential rainstorm. Concerts happen rain or shine, so no use hiding in the back and crouching under an umbrella when you can be one of the few front row and center, being deliriously miserable and having a great time.
-Short shorts. Generally, being clothed enough to be decent, but just barely, is good for hot, muggy days.
-No nice (read: workplace appropriate, "designer," etc) purses. They'll get screwed up in the heat and rain, and ruin other concertgoers' experiences if you continuously nudge up against them with a huge leather bag. A small messenger bag is key, or small backpack. Or nothing, if you've got pockets to spare.
-NO SKIRTS. They'll ride up while you're dancing, and unless you're the chill-in-back-with-a-beer type, you WILL have at least a few people seeing your underpants by the end of the night. Not cool.
-(probably) no flip flops. (painful? people stepping on you? losing them in a crowd? all possibilities.) Unless you're six feet tall. In which case, you deserve to get stepped on by myriad combat boots for your ridiculous luck. Us vertically challenged types can only HOPE to sneak a single peek at the hem of Lady Gaga's skirt, and even then it would be on a ten-foot screen.
-some sort of ridiculosity (I know that isn't a word. Something to draw you apart from the crowd, since cell phones often stop working at music festivals, especially one like Lolla, with over 240,000 people in a single small park.
-If you're going to look at merchandise, start early. Things sell out faster than you might think. Last year I waited until the third day to find a t-shirt and only the smaller bands had any merchandise left, and I believe it was all kids sizes. Fantastic. Explore the booths early, before the hordes arrive.
-Perry's, where all the DJs go, is a hilarious and awesome time-killer between big bands. It's like a mini-club within Lolla grounds, except instead of judging you on your lack of high heels and shorts skirts it's full of incredibly stoned people giving you glowsticks and passing around their crappy band's LPs.
-What did I forget? Oh yes. HATS! No fashionable black fedoras, stick to straw and summery. Or bandannas. You know, like the cool kids wear.
T-10 hours til Lollapalooza! Lady Gaga, Yeasayer, Dirty Projectors, Metric, Black Keys, Edward Sharpe, Gogol Bordello, Green Day, Arcade Fire, and MGMT here we come!