Chicago's list of music festivals grows every summer, but one stands out as the behemoth on the scene. Just by sheer size and popularity, Lollapalooza continues to be the crowning jewel to our festival circuit and there's a reason it sells out in minutes. If you've been to the festival before, you're excited to keep rocking. If this is your first time at Lolla, then you can't wait to dive in to Grant Park's biggest party headfirst. Either way, you're gonna need a plan.
Lolla's festival grounds in Grant Park are expansive. The lineup is jam packed and there are tons of other non-musical sites to be seen. Aimless wandering won't be your friend if you're looking to pack the most fun into your weekend. Your best bet is to know who you want to see when and where.
If you're still trying to nail down your schedule, we've got a few suggestions. Once you have everything sorted out, make a custom schedule on Lollapalooza's website and download the app so you'll have your personal schedule with you at all times.
If you're a fan of Lollapalooza veterans Crystal Castles (4:15 p.m., Red Bull Sound Select Stage), then you'll want to give Icona Pop a chance (1:45 p.m., Lake Shore Stage). They've got a similar pop meets electronica sound and we're sure you've heard their inescapable single "I Love It" before. Early evening set times clash between longtime favorites New Order and Queens of the Stone Age, which is going to be a tough call (both playing at 6:15 p.m., on the Bud Light and Red Bull Sound Select stages, respectively), so make it ahead of time.
As for some of the younger acts on the bill, Chance the Rapper is a Chicago-born rhymespitter who's hotter than the Royal Baby right now, so you won't want to miss his Lolla debut at 6:50 p.m. on the BMI stage. There's also an impressive lineup of dance music DJs schedule at the Perry's stage. We recommend catching Dillion Francis at 4:30 p.m. and Flux Pavilion at 7 p.m. As far as Friday's headliners - Nine Inch Nails, Steve Aoki, Lana Del Ray and The Killers -- are concerned, we're cosigning Trent Reznor. NIN performances grow rarer and rarer, The Killers would be awesome *cough* in 2003 *cough* and the other two are still young and will be back in town without a doubt.
Saturday's lineup plays like a Top 40 chart playlist, so make sure you save up some dancing energy. Ellie Goulding and "Harlem Shake" originator Baauer take the stage in the afternoon (4:45 p.m., Bud Light Stage and 4:30 p.m., Perry's Stage) along with acclaimed Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar (6:45 p.m., Bud Light Stage) and folksy rock crossover act The Lumineers (7:15 p.m., Lake Shore Stage) in the evening.
If you need some good old fashioned rock and roll, might we recommend Heartless Bastards on The Grove Stage or The National on the Red Bull Sound Select stage - both play at 6 p.m. The headliner slot will really test your decision making skills. Wildly popular English bluegrass act Mumford and Sons (Red Bull Sound Select Stage), former Swedish House Mafia member Steve Angello (Perry's Stage) and recently reunited indie charmers The Postal Service (Bud Light Stage) all close out the night. It's going be a tough call, but you won't be making a bad decision either way.
Sunday is indie strong at Lolla this year. Poppy rock bands like Tegan and Sara (4 p.m., Red Bull Sound Select Stage), Two Door Cinema Club (4:30 p.m., Bud Light stage), Vampire Weekend (6:30 p.m., Bud Light stage) and Phoenix (8:30 p.m., Bud Light stage) all take the stage. You know you want to go see southern-bred rapper (and big booty fan) 2 Chainz at 7:15 p.m. on The Grove Stage and legendary ‘80s crooners The Smiths headlining the Red Bull Sound Select stage at 8 p.m. With a two hour allotted set time, we think Robert Smith is going to steal the show.
Lollapalooza's final day really shines through on the electronic and dance music-focused Perry's stage though. Major Lazer (performing at 7 p.m.) is the dancehall collective lead by celeb DJ Diplo and is one of this writer's favorite live shows. Despite a silly name, Dog Blood is a collaboration between two of EDM's biggest names. American dubstep king Skrillex and German techno master Boys Noize have teamed up for something that we find pretty darn catchy. This will be their first show in Chicago. Kill The Noise and Knife Party are also notable party starters.Grahamwich, a burger from the legendary Billy Goat Tavern or a sweet, succulent donut from Glazed and Infused.
And remember, as always, to stay hydrated, play it safe and have the best weekend of your summer!
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