Offering four days of some of the best musical talent there is today, Lollapalooza is Chicago’s biggest summer festival. If you’re attending this epic 4-day music and arts festival, congratulations–you’re in for an unforgettable experience!
Now that you’ve started planning your music-filled weekend experience, it’s time to get serious about what to pack into the festival. Before you can begin having fun, it’s important to think through the logistics of attending a music festival.
If you’re looking for guidance on what to pack for Lollapalooza, this post is most definitely for you.
Continue reading for your essential Lollapalooza festival packing list to grant you the most fun and comfort from your 4-day experience!
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WHAT IS LOLLAPALOOZA?
Music. Art. Food. Interactive experiences. A beautiful, green setting. These are all the lovely things that Lollapalooza promises, and there is unlike any other festival like it out there today!
Chicago’s biggest summer music festival (and one of the country’s most popular) is held at Grant Park every year, playing host to as many as 100,000 attendees each day.
Lollapalooza, being one of the most anticipated music festivals of the summer, features top-notch bands and artists, local food vendors, and more. With 9 stages, and 170+ bands/artists/talent from all over the world, every Lolla lineup is going to please the crowds.
Previous headliners include Doja Cat, Dua Lipa, Kygo, Mumford & Sons, The Killers, The National, Post Malone, Odesza, Bruno Mars, and more.
Now let’s talk about the food! Lolla goes above and beyond with the food. The festival offers so much more than the typical “carnival” type foods, with an emphasis on fresh, reasonably priced options from the Chicago area.
There is no shortage of impressive food vendors, including a variety of Chicago faves such as Billy Goat Tavern, Kuma’s Corner, and Tallboy Taco.
All in all, Lollapalooza is more than a music festival. It’s an entire experience!
Before we dive into the packing list, I wanted to share with you some festival survival tips! Knowing these will help you understand how to pack a little bit better.
Lollapalooza will take place July 28 – July 31, 2022 at Grant Park in Chicago, IL. More up-to-date information on the event can be found here.
LOLLAPALOOZA MUSIC FESTIVAL: ESSENTIAL TIPS
- Since the festival is outdoors, preparing for the weather is one of the most important things to consider. Summer in Chicago means sun, heat, humidity, and even rain. Be sure to check the weather ahead of time and come prepared for all types of conditions.
- Daytime temps can range from low to high 80’s, some years even mid-90’s. The evenings are usually just right, not quite jacket weather, but it does cool down nicely to provide a rest from the heat experienced in the day. If you run cold, bring a light packable jacket.
- Prepare for any potential rain or mud. Have a lightweight raincoat on standby, but more importantly, if there is any rain in the forecast (even the night before), wear boots or expendable sneakers. Don’t be a victim to the mud!
- There will most definitely be crowds at Lollapalooza. If you like seeing the artists up close, you may want to make your way to the stages early in order to get a good spot.
- Because of how many people attend the festival, you might have a hard time finding cell service. Download the festival schedule ahead of time and discuss your game plan with friends–where and when to meet if anyone gets lost or wants to separate from the group for a bit.
- If you plan to bring a larger bag to the festival, get yourself a clear bag with minimal pockets. CamelBaks are allowed into the festival, but they must be empty upon entry, and they must allow for the bladder to be removed from the bag for a visual inspection by security.
- Bring a refillable water bottle to take advantage of the complimentary water refill stations. Not only will this save you money, but not needing to buy plastic bottles means it’s better for the environment too!
- You can pack in small amounts of snacks and smaller food items. Think Clif bars, bananas, trail mix, etc. Just don’t go overboard, because “outside food” is technically not allowed.
- If you like standing within the crowds during the show, use the restrooms before the headliners come on. Otherwise, it can be really hard to squeeze out of the packed-in crowds in the middle of a headliner’s performance.
- Arrive early at least one day during the festival. Even if you’re not interested in any of the performances that take place earlier in the day, there are still things you could busy yourself with! You could walk around collecting some of the freebies offered throughout the festival, try the food vendors, and more!
- Lollapalooza has some really delicious food options worthy of your time. Take some time to try a few food vendors out during the day!
- If you plan on sitting on the ground, bring a blanket or sheet to sit on. The grounds can be dirty and covered in trash or food, so with a blanket, you can keep your clothes clean. Simply throw the blanket in the wash after the festival!
- To avoid the crazy train crowds, plan to leave the festival 30 min before it officially ends. The trains become a total zoo, as tens of thousands of people aim to get home for the night.
- Planning to rideshare your way back to your hotel? I’d recommend walking several blocks away from the park before calling an Uber/Lyft. Otherwise, you’ll be either 1) waiting forever for a car to get to you, or 2) stuck in traffic for a very long time.
So now that you know a little bit about what to expect at the festival, let’s dive into what you should pack for your music festival experience.
LOLLAPALOOZA ESSENTIAL PACKING LIST
1. Hydration Pack
It’s going to be hot in Chicago this time of year, meaning staying hydrated is crucial. A dedicated hydration pack can actually save you a ton of money inside the festival!
There will be water stations all throughout the festival, meaning you can refill your water for free all day long. CamelBak backpacks are our favorite–these backpacks usually will have secure zippered pockets too, perfect for keys, phone, or other essentials.
Alternatively, you can also buy water at many food and alcohol stands. The drawback of this: not only will you have to wait in line, but you’ll also have to spend money on water, of all things!
This is a great investment because CamelBaks aren’t just great for Lolla, they’re great for other festivals, outdoor events, traveling, and even hiking adventures.
Note: Lollapolooza policy as of 2021 – Backpacks and bags with multiple pockets are prohibited. Hydration packs are allowed but must be emptied of all liquid and have no more than two pockets in addition to the one holding the water reservoir.
80 to 90+ degree weather and the hot sun–sunburns are calling your name. Protect your skin with both body sunscreen and face sunscreen.
For the face, we are absolutely obsessed with the magical Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen. No white-cast, no greasy film!
Note: As of the 2021 policy, aerosol containers, including sunscreen and personal beauty products are NOT allowed. Sunscreen in non-aerosol containers is allowed in the size of 3.4 ounces or less.
3. Fanny Packs
I love using fanny packs at music festivals because of how hands-free they are. They won’t weigh you down at all and because you wear them in the front, it’s a lot harder for thieves to get to.
These fanny packs by Clearworld were literally made for music festivals–they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but because they are all clear, you should have no issues bringing them into Lolla and other music festivals!
If fanny packs are not your thing, good alternatives to the fanny pack are:
Note: Per the Lollapolooza bag policy, bags will be restricted to small purses, totes, drawstring bags, and bags made up of clear plastic, vinyl, or pvc, and no larger than 12″ x 12″ x 6″.
4. Neck pouch / wallet
If you’re a savvy festival goer, then you already know that music festivals are a pickpocketer’s wonderland. Hundreds if not thousands of people get their stuff stolen all the time at festivals. You don’t want to be that person.
If you think any of the above bags are too risky to keep your important possessions in (money, ID, credit cards), get yourself a neck pouch. These can be easily tucked and concealed under your shirt so even if your main bag gets stolen for any reason, you’ll still have your most important items with you.
We recommend Zero Grid’s Travel Neck Wallet because it also has RFID blocking which is crucial to protect against unwanted credit card scans and personal information theft.
5. Portable phone charger
Lots of people’s phones fighting for cellular service means your phone will inevitably be drained out of battery at some point during the night.
You don’t want to get lost and/or deal with a dead phone while trying to find your friends, so consider a portable phone charger an absolute essential and bring one along with you!
Anker’s ultra-light, ultra-portable power bank is tried and true by so many campers, festival-goers, and travelers alike!
6. Sunhat / Sun Visor
Sun protection is absolutely key for Lolla. If sunglasses are more your thing, bring those too, but we still recommend wearing a hat! Sunglasses won’t protect your skin from UV rays, but hats will.
7. Blanket or tapestries for sitting on
As stated above, bringing tapestries or light blankets are nice to have if you plan on doing any ground sitting. Scarves, bedsheets, and blankets from home will be your most affordable option, while colorful tapestries can be an affordable and really fun way to spice up the aesthetic of your little sitting area! Especially if you or your group plan to sit for the majority of the festival.
Consider some of these unique patterns/designs, or explore the expansive tapestry options here:
For something more compact, go with this extremely packable pocket outdoor blanket.
Earplugs are good to bring to music festivals because the music can be LOUD. Muffling out some of the abrasive sounds with earplugs means less damage to your ears.
These earplugs by Mack’s are my absolute favorite.
9. Reusable Water Bottle
There will be lots of water refill stations inside the festival. Take advantage of them!
For something more durable that keeps your water cold for hours upon hours, Hydroflasks are my favorite for everyday use. These will probably be your best option because you will most definitely crave ice-cold water!
10. Baby wipes / body wipes
Baby wipes will come in handy for a lot of reasons. First, they are great for wiping excess dust/grime off your body at the end of each festival night.
Secondly, they can be used during the festival itself to clean your hands before touching your food, mouth, or face.
11. Hand sanitizer
At music festivals, it’s nearly impossible to find a sink with real soap and clean running water. Even at the portapotties, there can be bottles of hand sanitizers in place of portable sinks.
And have you been to a porta-potty late in the night? Those things start looking real scary.
Bring some of your own so you can sanitize even when you’re not by a toilet. Since you’ll be using hand sanitizer so much, it’s best to get a non-drying natural hand sanitizer to prevent flaky, dried-up hands. We love the following:
Pro Tip: At some point, you may run into the porta-potty with no toilet paper dilemma. You may want to consider bringing some form of backup with you. Tissue or napkins will do just fine.
12. Electrolyte Packets
Emergen-C packets or Liquid I.V. Hydration Packets are a must for Lollapalooza. These are a great way to support your immune system and overall health before, during, and after a festival. They are light, take up no space, and are very easy to pack!
Adding Pedialyte or Liquid I.V. powder packets to a water bottle will keep you hydrated and replace your body with electrolytes. Especially if you plan on drinking a lot.
If you don’t plan to bring this to the festival, be sure to at least have some on hand to drink after every festival day ends.
13. Festival tickets / wristbands
DO NOT forget these before you leave the house for Lolla!
14. Cooling towels
Cooling towels are amazing if you’re looking for relief from the festival heat. I love them because they can be used in so many ways–as a neck cooler, as a cooling bandana, or a chilled headband.
They work so well because the towel regulates the water inside to ensure water retention, acting almost like an air-conditioner. And just like sweat on your skin, when water evaporates, it cools. It’s one of the best things you can bring with you to an outdoor festival if you can’t tolerate heat as well as others.
If you don’t want to buy an actual cooling towel, you can always bring a regular towel and soak it with cold water to get that cool towel effect (though it won’t stay cool as long as an actual cooling towel).
15. Personal neck fan
These things have saved my life at multiple festivals throughout the year. Trust me when I tell you–there are many times when a neck fan has completely saved my life in humid, breezeless settings. If you are anything like me, not one that copes well with stifling heat, pack a battery-powered portable neck fan!
16. Sunglasses with straps
Because it can get really bright during summer afternoons. For sunglasses, go with one of your cheaper pairs. The last thing you want is to lose your $300 pair of sunglasses at a crowded music festival!
While you’re at it, why not accessorize your accessories?
Pairing your sunglasses with a strap means less likelihood of your sunglasses falling off your head, getting stolen from your pocket, and whatnot. It’s also convenient for putting them on/taking them off in a jiffy.
17. Face mask or Buff
For the inevitable dust, dirt, and other gross particles in the air. There will be tens of thousands of people walking back and forth all weekend long.
A face mask can help protect your nose/mouth from breathing it all in. We like bringing our Buffs because they can be used for so many things other than as a face mask. Definitely a good investment.
18. Light long sleeve shirt / sweater
If you’re the type to run colder, you should consider bringing along a long sleeve, sweater, or flannel that can easily be tied around your waist. Lollapalooza may be stifling hot during the day, but it can cool down quite a bit at night. It just depends on the year.
I will almost always bring an extra layer to festivals with me just in case.
19. Comfortable walking shoes
I cannot stress enough the importance of having comfortable shoes for Lollapalooza. You can expect to be on your feet all day, walking miles upon miles getting between stages. Because of this, you’ll want to do it all in comfortable shoes.
And because there is a solid chance your shoes will come back in rough shape after the festival, be sure to wear shoes that you don’t really care about or can be easily washed.
20. Some sort of rain protection
During this time of year, rain is always a possibility in Chicago. If rain is in the forecast, plan to pack either a rain jacket or a pack of disposable ponchos.
I personally like ponchos because they’re cheap and lightweight, and they usually come in packs of 5+ so you can share them with your friends / fellow festival attendees!
While pretty much every vendor takes card at Lolla, I think it’s still good to carry some cash with you–for those just-in-case emergency moments.
Cash is a quicker form of payment than card, which can be clutch when you are trying to get back to your friends or to a stage for a show that’s starting soon. I recommend bringing $20-60 per day for small purchases here and there.
WHAT NOT TO BRING TO LOLLAPALOOZA
- Any bags that are NOT CLEAR bags made up of clear plastic, vinyl, or pvc, and are larger than 12″ x 12″ x 6″. Any Small clutch purses and fanny packs with more than 1 pocket. Clutch purses that are larger than 4.5″ x 5.5 (See Full Bag Policy Below)
- Aerosol containers, including sunscreen and personal beauty products. NOTE: Sunscreen in non-aerosol containers is allowed in the size of 3.4 ounces or less
- Coolers of any kind. (Exceptions may be made for medical use)
- Framed backpacks, multiple pocket back packs and any pack that is not aligned with the allowed backpacks above. (See Full Bag Policy Below)
- Any and all professional audio recording equipment
- Professional cameras and professional recording (photo, video, audio) equipment (NO large professional detachable zoom lenses, stands, monopods, tripods, attachment sticks (selfie sticks) or other commercial equipment.
- Any and all professional video equipment. No video recording will be allowed
- Drones or any other remote flying device
- Glass containers of any kind
- Illegal and Illicit substances of any kind
- Outside food or beverage (including alcohol) of any kind
- Pets (except service animals)
- Selfie sticks
- Skateboards, scooters, bicycles, wagons, carts or any personal motorized vehicles
- Tents, canopies, or shade structures of any kind
- Unauthorized/unlicensed vendors are not allowed. No unauthorized solicitation and materials including handbills, flyers, stickers, beach balls, give-aways, samples, etc.
- Weapons or explosives of any kind
- Large chains or spiked jewelry
- Bicycles inside festival grounds (free parking is available near festival entrance)
- Carts of any kind (including Red Wagons)
- Chairs of any kind
What is the bag policy at Lollapolooza?
Below is the 2021 Bag Policy per the Lollapolooza site:
- ALL bags will be searched before entry.
- Small clutch purses and fanny packs that are 4.5″ x 5.5″ or smaller do not need to be clear but can have no more than one pocket.
- All other bags must be fully clear and made up of clear plastic, vinyl, or pvc, and be no larger than 12″ x 12″ x 6″ ONLY. Bags will be restricted to small purses, totes and drawstring bags only. Backpacks and bags with multiple pockets are prohibited.
- Hydration packs are allowed and do not need to be clear but must be emptied of all liquid and have no more than two pockets in addition to the one holding the water reservoir.
How many stages are at Lollapalooza?
There are 9 stages in total at Lollapalooza.
How long does it take to walk from one end of Grant Park to the other?
Depending on the person, it can take anywhere between 15-20 minutes. A few factors include how fast you walk and how far in the crowds you are at the stage you’re leaving from.
While many festival-goers advise not to bother trying to see 2 competing sets playing at opposite ends of the park at the same time, it is doable. You’ll just need to stand near the back for the first set and leave early to catch the latter half of the second set.
Can you camp at Lollapalooza?
Camping at Lollapalooza is not allowed and also not offered. Unlike camping festivals like Bonnaroo, Coachella, and EDC, there is no camping at Lollapalooza.
Lollapalooza takes place right in the heart of downtown Chicago in Grand Park, so it’ll actually be pretty easy to find lodging. A hotel, hostel, Airbnb, or VRBO rental are all great options.
What time does Lollapalooza end?
Lolla ends each night around 10 pm, which means the night is still young! If you’re not ready to call it a night, you’re in luck because you have the rest of the evening to experience Chicago.
If you’re wondering what to do in Chicago at night, the answer is–a lot! Nearby neighborhoods like Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, and Wrigleyville are all very lively districts each with its own personality. Lakeview and Logan Square also typically have a lot going on.
For more ideas on all the fun you could have after dark, check out my post dedicated to all the fun things to do in Chicago at night.
And that wraps up our Lollapalooza packing list! We hope this has better prepared you for your ultimate music festival experience!
Stay cool, drink lots of water, make memories, and have an experience of a lifetime. Oh yeah, and don’t forget your tickets!