by Riley Kissee
Our team recently returned from a trip to Chicago to experience the best fest in the Midwest, Lollapalooza. But not only is it the best in the region, we think it might be the best period. Here are ten reasons why you should consider venturing to Chicago for your next festival excursion, instead of heading out to Indio, California for the over-hyped and overdone Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
One Weekend is Better Than Two. Coachella boasts two weekends, but the problem with this format is that you can’t recreate the same experience twice in a row. Which ultimately will lead to some kind of disappointment, when a special guest makes an appearance one weekend but not the other. Or when you attend weekend two and nothing is really a surprise. Lollapalooza is one and done, and we’re grateful to have that singular moment in time with a united crowd celebrating music, arts, food, drink and life.
More People Attend Just for the Music. With close proximity to Los Angeles, Coachella has become known for celebrity sightings and a plethora of Instagrammers taking on a free-spirited look with the ultimate goal of capturing the perfect FOMO-inducing photos of the weekend. Really there’s nothing wrong with that, but while Lollapalooza certainly has its share of fashionable attire and selfies, the primary purpose of attending the festival is to experience the music. The same can’t always be said for Coachella.
The Weather is Better. The Phoenix area and Coachella Valley have almost identical weather, so while you’re escaping to a festival experience, you’re transporting yourself from one desert city to another. However, Lollapalooza arrives mid-summer every year in the Midwest, the perfect time for Arizonans to escape the heat and likely experience something that’s unusual for desert-dwellers, a bit of rain, or at the very least, tolerable temperatures.
You Can Bring Beer (or Wine) Everywhere. Coachella has beer gardens, which prevents you from taking in the sounds of the festival and sipping on an ice-cold beverage. At Lollapalooza, stop by one of the many beer or wine stations (or experiences, such as the Mix’d Up Craft Cocktail Bar, Da Beers Garden or Uncorked Wine Lounge) and bring the drinks with you to the front of the stage.
Four Days of Festival. In it’s 25th year, Lollapalooza expanded its festival from three days to four days (which I will redundantly mention, is better than two weekends). Adding an extra day in 2016 meant almost 50 additional acts were added to the lineup. While it’s always hard to part at the end of any festival, that extra day makes it a little easier to say goodbye.
The Chicago Skyline. Coachella is held in the middle of a hot, grassy polo field with shaded areas scattered sporadically throughout the festival. Sure the backdrop of a desert mountain range is nice, but the stunning architecturally rich skyline of Chicago is drastically different than anything you’ll find in the southwest. Also, Grant Park is immaculately maintained and is really a stunning setting.
Camping Isn’t Even an Option. I know not everyone camps at Coachella, there’s actually some very nice resort and hotel options available in the Indio area. However, sometimes camping can be a last resort. The line to the showers is dreadfully long and you never feel completely clean all weekend. At Lollapalooza, camping isn’t even an option and compared to Coachella, I felt remarkably hygienic the entire time.
Lollapalooza is Citywide. Yes Coachella has after parties, but many are very exclusive and getting out of the festival can be a nightmare. Being in the heart of it all, Lollapalooza is not only easy to exit, but the festival continues throughout the city long after Grant Park has called it a day. Some events are free, some require RSVP, some require tickets and some are exclusive. But the list of after parties at Lollapalooza is definitely impressive and if you feel the need to continue late into the evening, there’s something for everyone.
Lollapalooza Has More History. Coachella has been around for 17 years. Lollapalooza has been around 25 years. What’s more, Lollapalooza began as a touring festival that traveled all across the United States (and was for eight of those years). Not only does it have more years under its belt, when you factor in all of the individual stops on the tour, the total number of times a Lollapalooza event has been held is exponentially more than Coachella.
Deep Dish Pizza. Need I say more?