Running wild at Lollapalooza

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Running wild at Lollapalooza

Morgan Piontek, Staff Writer

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Lollapalooza. What a wild weekend of music, drugs, overpriced water, and outfits that consist of literally just a bra and underwear. It’s the pinnacle of music festivals in the United States only second to California’s Coachella Music Festival. Some see it as just a musical event that allows men and women alike to act absolutely ridiculous as they drown themselves in body glitter, but it can also be seen as one of the most daring and insane adventures any person could ever embark on. Both in a good way and a very not good way.

If Bear Grylls himself made a documentary of himself attending four days worth of Lollapalooza, I don’t think it would be all too surprising to see him bail out after two days. The survivor man knows a lot about how to stay alive in the wild, but without a doubt, Lolla would break him. The music festival scene is deceptively intense and terrifying in ways that many people definitely don’t understand–if I’m to judge by the number of unsupervised fourteen year olds I spotted wandering around Grant Park this past weekend. It’s a crazy free-for-all and just being there in the first place already makes you half insane. And if you know what’s up, then you’re aware that there are tricks to actually making it through the weekend. There’s one simple one to start with, and that’s to not be stupid.

For an entire weekend, there are too many people in one place to even think straight. It’s blazing hot, there is a constant cloud of weed and plum berry surprise vape juice that lies over the whole venue, and a vast majority of the people are taking their opportunity to wear those zany and barely-there outfits that sit in their closet all year. This environment is dangerous and in order to make it through, you can’t be an idiot. You and your buddies heavily intoxicating yourselves for this very public event? Dumb. Smoking the weed that the group of loud white dudes next to you in the crowd offers you? Nah, dumb. Wandering off to the bathroom without your friends? They’re definitely going to think you died if you are gone longer than four minutes. This sounds ridiculous, but it’s serious and a real problem. People have actually died at these things and it seems that this “festival culture” includes being just as dumb as possible until there’s no going back.

One girl I spoke with while waiting for The Weeknd, Liza, looked utterly wrecked most of the time we had sat in the same area. I had asked if she was alright to which she replied that she most definitely was, but that her friend had given her an edible that he had bought from a dude on the side of the road the night before and that she only wanted to lay down for a while. LIza had perked up and said she was feeling much better by the end of the night, but I wouldn’t let her out of my sight until at least five of her friends ensured me they were actually her pals and that they’d make sure she got back to the hotel safely. This stuff is scary and it all just starts with finding the fun where you are and trying not to become so “faded” that it becomes dangerous to you and the people around you. Just be smart.

Now, in defence of the clothing choices at Lollapalooza–I actually understand it. Beforehand, I constantly criticized the offbeat, and just ridiculous outfits that I’ve seen in Instagram pictures for years now. I hated seeing girls in just bras and shorts that hardly covered their rear, or those stupid kimono things that they’d just throw over a bikini and call it good. And the glitter. Why glitter? A girl named Alissandra that I spoke with said, “I like the glitter because it’s just music festival-y, you know? There’s just so many people here, and it kind of makes me feel like I’m standing out a little.” I told Alissandra that I totally got it and talked with her and her friends in the shade for a while, but did they really not notice the thousands of other girls caked in glitter? That may be the only festival trend I definitely still don’t understand. It’s just so illogical. You’re sweaty, and the glitter sticks to everything, and you’ll probably be finding it for days to come. Eh, I don’t know. But the clothes, I get. As insane as it sounds, the bit that Alissandra stated about standing out made perfect sense–just not with glitter. It’s way too freaking hot out to be wearing actual clothes and if anybody knows basic summer style, it just consists of shorts and a tank top/T-shirt. There’s not much room for individuality, so it is perfectly logical to step out of your comfort zone and throw on that weird thing you bought that’s in your closet that you would never actually wear around people that know you.

The final bit to surviving is the easiest. Hydrate. With water. Not beer, not vodka, and certainly not the lean you poured into your camelbak backpack. None of that. Just buy water and drink it. Or if two dollars is too much to spend, just steal it from the tents like I did. It’s the simplest way to survive a weekend at Lolla, or really, any weekends at all.

The Lollapalooza experience is something that every person should try at least once. Maybe not all four days, but at least a little taste. It’s intense and wild and unlike anything you’ve ever been to before, and there are tons of things to do. And it can really be ridiculous amounts of fun, so long as you’re making sure to keep yourself safe. Protect yourself from the sun, don’t take drinks or food from other people, try to be in your right mind, drink water, and have a blast. That could apply to anything you do, but the message is genuine. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be emailing NBC about making a short series about Bear Grylls surviving Coachella!