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  • Writer's pictureEmily Marshman

Ahead of Lollapalooza: Who you should catch, what you should eat, + after shows galore

Hey y'all! That time of year again: nearly time for music fans to flock to the shores of Lake Michigan and try not to succumb to sunburn and mild dehydration in Grant Park, smack in the middle of Chicago, Illinois. This is Buzzkill's second year at Lolla, and while last year was so incredible it's hard to imagine it'll be topped, we're still so, so excited for this year's festival, which boasts some truly enormous names, such as Noah Kahan, Billie Eilish, Maggie Rogers, The 1975, and Kendrick Lamar.


Who should you see at Lollapalooza?

Alright, I'm going to do my best to break this down as simply as it can be. Lollapalooza has booked 150+ artists, across nearly ten stages, over four very, very long days. Some of these artists are going to overlap, and sometimes, you're going to want to see both of them.


Thursday, our top priorities are going to be Noah Kahan, Carly Rae Jepsen, Spacey Jane, Lovejoy, and Joy Oladokun, but we're also excited to see Sofi Tukker and Matt Maltese. A bit bummed that Men I Trust's set is mostly at the same time as Noah's, and that Portugal. The Man is on the T-Mobile stage while Carly Rae Jepsen is on at Bud Light. The same thing happened last year with Måneskin and Charli XCX. Why are they trying to pit the pop girlies against the indieheads?!


On Friday, things are a bit different. It's hard to choose between which of the headliners to see - especially between The 1975, Knocked Loose, and Kendrick Lamar - but having seen The 1975 headline a festival before, I'll have to be biased and say I'd go with them. Their command of a crowd, especially one that large, is unmatched, and it's an incredible experience.


As for the bands not headlining, I've got my eye on Giant Rooks, whom I just saw open for Louis Tomlinson and were so good, Peach Pit (if you haven't read Emma's interview with them yet, I'll leave that here for you to check out), Sabrina Carpenter, Declan McKenna, and Annie DiRusso. Bummed that Foals is at the same time as Declan - both are such fundamentally festival bands, and it'll be a massive loss to miss either of them.


Saturday's a pretty great day, too - we've got Tom Odell, Sylvan Esso, and Maggie Rogers all on the Bud Light Stage back to back. Friday Pilots Club and The Linda Lindas play the Tito's Stage early in the day, with Arlie and Suki Waterhouse on the Bacardi Stage (which I assume is a rebranded/sponsor-refreshed Discord Stage?). Meduza and Pusha T will close out the Perry's Stage, and right next door, we'll have The Knocks and Yung Gravy on Coinbase, and Thee Sacred Souls, The Revivalists, and Odesza on T-Mobile.


The last day of any festival is always a bummer, but we're positive it's going to be a good one, with names like Rina Sawayama, Ella Jane, MICHELLE, Holly Humberstone, and Maisie Peters on the schedule. The Happy Fits, The Backseat Lovers, Ingrid Andress, and Mt. Joy also play this day! Lana Del Rey and Red Hot Chili Peppers are the big headliners.


I've put all of these artists into our Lollapalooza 2023 Spotify playlist - just hit shuffle and enjoy!


What should you eat?

Now, neither Emma nor I (Emily) are from Chicago, but many people we love are, or they live there, and we ate quite a bit at Lolla last year, so I'd like to think you can turn to us for recommendations.


Right out the gate, the obvious mention has to be Lou Malnati's. They do deep dish best, according to many native Chicagoans, and the two slices I had last year were delicious, even if I did have to sit down and eat it with a knife and a fork.


We also had Cheesie's last year, which was delicious, but that much hot cheese when it's already almost - or over - 90 degrees out is a bit much. We'll probably be eating our Italian beef sandwiches somewhere outside of the festival grounds, but if you, too, just finished the second season of The Bear and will have to get your fix in Grant Park, Frannie's and Novi's will both be in Chow Town!


There will be five different taco shops on the strip, three of them able to cater to special diets with gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian options. Last year I had birria from Lito's, and it was delicious. There's quite a few more tents that will have Mexican food, if you're wanting something more than just tacos.


Dark Matter Coffee will be right there, too, in case you're in need of caffeine at any point during the festival.


They really do have just about everything you could possibly crave. I'll leave the full list of restaurants that will be slinging food at Lolla here in case you want to peruse and prepare!


We're jealous if you have tickets to these after shows (except Declan McKenna. You really think we'd miss out on a chance to see Declan?)

One of the most exciting parts of this whole excursion is the after shows. Most of them are sold out, but Do312 is still hosting giveaways for almost every show this upcoming week. Last year, we tried desperately to get into Djo's Lolla after show (where he brought out ex-bandmates Post Animal to play "When I Get Home" and "Dirtpicker" as an encore) to no avail. These are exclusive events, during which something special almost always happens. They're a real celebration of live music in the literal middle of the night.


Tuesday night is a slow one, but Carly Rae Jepsen plays at Metro with Kid Sistr. On Wednesday is when the fun truly kicks off. We've got Lovejoy with Junior Mesa at Bottom Lounge, Joy Oladokun with Pony Bradshaw at Lincoln Hall, Wallows with Buffy the DJSlayer at Metro, Matt Maltese with Rat Tally at Schubas's, Men I Trust with Husbands at Thalia Hall, and Noah Kahan with Richy Mitch and the Coal Miners at The Vic.


This year, we're seeing Declan McKenna and Eli Smart at Bottom Lounge Thursday night. The show is sold out, but you can still enter to win a pair of tickets from Do312! Other Thursday shows include Knocked Loose at Cobra Lounge (a Lolla headliner playing a 300-cap venue will be wild for sure), Sabrina Carpenter at House of Blues, a DJ set from Sofi Tukker with Apollo XO and Diox at Tao, Foals with Friday Pilots Club at Thalia Hall, and Peach Pit with Annie DiRusso at The Vic.


Friday will see Spacey Jane with Arcy Drive at Bottom Lounge, Yung Gravy at House of Blues, Suki Waterhouse with Ari Abdul at Lincoln Hall, Portugal. The Man at Metro, The Happy Fits with Windser at Schuba's, and a DJ set from The Knocks at Sound-Bar. Saturday will be the last big day of after shows, with Meduza at Cermak Hall, Maisie Peters with Claire Rosinkranz at House of Blues, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie with Skizzy Mars at Metro, and MICHELLE with Girl K at Schuba's. Sunday's pretty slow, but Sylvan Esso are playing at Metro with Sarah Kingsley!


Hot tips from last year's excursion

One of the saving graces of our weekend in Chicago last year was the Liquid Death Country Club. Yup, you heard me correctly. We "sold our souls" (joined an email list) and were given a solid metal card that allowed us entry for the whole weekend, plus one free Liquid Death water. The country club had air conditioning, which was essential, considering it is hot as hell in Chicago in August.


I would also recommend familiarizing yourself with where all bathrooms and water refill stations are, extensively planning with your friends when you'll use them, and stopping at both in one trip. The water refill stations also have misting fans, so if you're feeling close to death, they'll save your skin. Also make a plan to meet at a specific, distinct location in case you get split up and your phone's dead or you can't find service.


It's easy to ignore signs that your body is losing steam, especially when you're having a good time, but I, personally, would much rather miss 10-ish minutes of an artist's set to right myself, instead of missing the whole rest of the day or even the festival because you ended up dehydrated beyond return.


On a lighter note: download the Lollapalooza app! There is very limited cell service since so many people are congested in one area, and you can build out a schedule for yourself, so you know exactly where you have to be and when.

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