Lollapalooza survival guide

This weekend is arguably the biggest event in Chicago’s summer festival line-up. Lollapalooza is back, and with this year’s list of artists, it’ll be three days to remember. But for how incredible it is, Lolla can also be huge, exhausting and a little bit daunting. Ensuring that you enjoy and make the most of it is an art form.

The first thing you’ll probably notice as you enter Grant Park (other than the blow-up Lollapalooza sign) is the blistering August heat. Over the course of the weekend, don’t underestimate the importance of staying hydrated. Bring an empty water bottle to fill up at one of many water stations scattered around the park, and hydration will be free and easy.

While you’re enjoying the free water, don’t forget to scope out the wide array of food vendors that the festival offers. However, be careful what you put in your stomach. Too much sugar will make you crash, and too much dairy could end in a mess. So no matter how awesome three ice cream cones sound…don’t do it.

But food and water isn’t the reason anyone goes to Lollapalooza. Throughout the entire weekend, Grant Park will be filled with bands you’re dying to see and even more that you have yet to discover. Unfortunately, you can’t be in five places at once, so hitting the right stages at the right times takes some organization and careful planning.

The first and easiest thing to figure out is which headliners you’ll see (provided you’re interested in any of them). It’s possible to hit more than one in the same night. However, your spot for the artist you see second is going to be less than desirable-especially because they’ll be at opposite ends of the park. Fortunately, the only major headliner clash this year is Friday with The Black Keys and Black Sabbath.

However, there are about nine hours of amazing music before the final act of the night. This is when you wish you had a few extra clones handy. If you have an iPhone or a phone that runs Android, the Lolla app is really handy. It has the line-up listed, a place for you to personalize your schedule and a map-plus a few more fun things. If you can’t get the app, never fear. They usually hand out schedule brochures at the beginning of the day.

Now for the big decisions-who do you go see when? It’s easy enough if everyone you want to see is playing at different times, but that isn’t always the case. When two bands you love have the same or overlapping sets, it can be worth it to split up the time and see both. However, if the stages are across the park from each other or if one is in a convenient location, it might be better to stick with easier one. It’s all a matter of preference, and, in some cases, how much you want to walk.

If you have some down time, Perry’s is a good place to sit and get some shade. The music is almost constantly flowing, so you won’t be bored.

But just because you don’t have anyone in particular on your list at 3 p.m. doesn’t mean there isn’t anyone worthwhile playing somewhere. One of the best things about Lolla is easy access to new music you can fall in love with. Branch out and give someone you’ve never heard of a chance. And if you do anything at Lollapalooza this weekend, make sure you have fun and enjoy the experience.