So, this summer has been relatively uneventful for me. I’ve mostly been working, going to the gym and catching up on sleep. When the opportunity to attend Lollapalooza in Chicago came about, I really wanted to take advantage of it. 

I didn’t plan on attending Lollapalooza until the date was steadily approaching. The way the opportunity came to me is that my Photo Editor applied for a press pass to take photos there and then we found out that she was unable to take her camera with the kind of pass she had. She isn’t much of a writer, so she suggested that I go. 

Photo by Greg Noire

Chicago is far from Charlotte and I haven’t traveled alone very much. I also don’t typically attend concerts by myself like some people who feel incredibly confident doing.

Long story short, I made my way to Chicago and attended Lollapalooza. 

I did have a press pass, but for all intents and purposes, I was just an attendee there on my own. When deciding what kind of coverage I would write for Lollapalooza, I realized that the best coverage might just be describing my own experience. Since a lot of people seemed shocked that I was there alone, I thought that might be an interesting perspective to write about. So here it goes.

For those of you who have considered attending a music festival, specifically Lollapalooza, but didn’t have anyone to go with, here are my five things to know before you attend Lollapalooza alone. 

  1. People will try to make you hang out with them. When you’re dancing to The Strokes in the middle of a crowded sandpit and you make eye contact with another person dancing, odds are that they will come over and ask you if you’re there alone. When you say yes, they will offer you wine and say, “Hang out with us!” 
  2. You’ll have no one to keep up with, which sounds lonely, but can be nice.
    A lot of people attend Lollapalooza in huge groups of seven or more. I personally would not prefer that. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to go with a friend or a partner, but Lollapalooza is massive and I wouldn’t want that many people to keep up with. If you attend alone, you only have yourself to keep up with. That might sound boring, but it’s nice when you’re in a big crowd like that.
  3. You won’t have friends to distract you from analyzing the stages, sets and the artists’ performances. You notice things.
    You may not have thought about this at all. However, when you are attending a music festival, you will see a lot of different performances. For some of them, you’ll be up close in the first or second row. For others, you’ll sit on a hill in the distance where you can just see the screens. Either way, you’re by yourself. This means that you’re dancing with yourself, singing the songs by yourself or even just watching the performances by yourself. You aren’t going to be dancing with a friend, twirling each other or talking between songs. This means that if you are an avid concert-goer like me, you can really pay attention to the performances. You notice things. You notice when an artist takes a break to drink water between songs while putting a video on the screen. You notice when an artist never really has a close up of their face during their whole set while having effects on the screen 85 percent of the time, and you go, “Hmm…lip syncing maybe?” It kind of ruins the magic a little bit. 
  4. It’s easier to find a spot you like.
    This is a BIG pro to attending a concert or a music festival alone. Lollapalooza is in Grant Park, Chicago and it is huge. Fortunately, it also has a lot of hills, stairs and curbs to sit on during shows or in between them. If you have a group of seven, it’s obviously harder to find a place to sit/stand during a set you want to see or when sitting down to eat your lunch. But when it’s just you, you have free rein to go anywhere you choose without really inconveniencing a lot of people. Take advantage of this and don’t settle for a spot you don’t like. I guarantee you you’ll find somewhere you want to be.
  5. You can have a lot of fun by yourself.
    Some people really don’t want to attend concerts and music festivals alone and that’s valid, but I guarantee you you can have fun on your own. You also don’t have to argue with anyone over whose sets to watch. I got to plan all of my days on my own. I danced to Hayley Kiyoko by myself and didn’t have a care in the world. I rapped and danced to Childish Gambino with reckless abandon. I danced to bands I didn’t know just for the hell of it. I had a blast. Would I have preferred to have a friend? Maybe. But I still had the most fun of my whole summer at Lolla.
Photo by Kevin Mazur

Lollapalooza is a blast, but you have to be prepared. Bring sunscreen, money, dress for hot weather and be prepared for long days. It’s so much fun and definitely worth attending at least once in your life if you’re a music lover like me. Lollapalooza 2020 is going to be July 30, 2020-Aug. 2, 2020 once again in Grant Park, Chicago and I am going to try to make my way to Chicago to have another great experience. Maybe this time I’ll try to bring a friend and experience it differently.

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Madison is the Editor-in-Chief for the Niner Times. She is a junior double majoring in Communication and Spanish, with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. Madison is from Fayetteville, North Carolina, so naturally she loves J. Cole and has seen his house more times than she can count. When she isn’t binge watching a TV show or writing for the Niner Times, she’s working at Mellow Mushroom, drinking iced coffee or attending a concert with her friends. For any inquiries, she can be reached at editor@ninertimes.com.

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