For more than two decades, the Lollapalooza Music Festival has constantly been ranked as a top North American Music Festival.
The three day music fest brings together a diverse line-up that includes the top alternative rock and hip-hop acts, the latest indie and EDM, and living legends like Depeche Mode and Paul McCartney.
The festival has grown to over 200,000 attendees every day with international expansion into six different countries.
Just like Bonnaroo and Coachella, Lollapalooza is a bucket list festival, and attending a bucket list music festival means splurging and trying to make it a once in a lifetime experience.
VIP tickets that grant you access to the “Lolla Lounge” would definitely improve your Lollapalooza experience.
At more than five times the cost of a regular ticket, is a Lollapalooza VIP ticket worth it?
The answer to that question is subjective; it depends on what you enjoy most about a music festival as well as how much you could eat and drink.
Here’s a rundown of what three days in the Lollapalooza VIP Lolla Lounge is like;
LOLLAPALOOZA VIP LOUNGE DAY ONE
Food isn’t served until 11:00 AM, so I decided to get familiar with the various alcoholic beverages until that time;
The Jack Daniels Whiskey bar featured Jack and Cola, Tennessee Fire on the rocks and Lolla Lemonade; a mix of Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey and sweet tea with a splash of fresh lemon juice.
Bombay Sapphire served sophisticated drinks like the Peppered Peach Collins that includes gin, fresh lemon juice, iced tea and black pepper.
Bacardi offered a crisp mojito with fresh mint leaves and lime juice along with Cuba Libres. Maestro Dobel Tequila made ‘black diamond margaritas’ with a rim of black salt in a lounge area designed to resemble a black sand beach.
I stuck with Jack and colas and Bacardi and colas for all of day one, mostly because of the souvenir cups that they came in.
Having never tasted Chicago deep dish pizza, I headed straight for the Italian booth to have some miniature slices of Lou Malnati’s cheese pizza.
The Italian booth also served toasted cheese ravioli served on a bed of marinara sauce and garnished with Parmesan cheese, miniature meatball subs with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese on a Turano bun, and breadsticks stuffed with mozzarella cheese and ranch dip.
There were also other food offerings but I decided to stick with Italian for day one.
After snacking for almost an hour straight, I left the VIP Lolla Lounge to check out some music.
The opening acts at Lollapalooza are always amazing and COASTS was no exception.
I’d become familiar with their music over the last few years and their live performance was on key and energetic.
I was also thrilled to see Cold War Kids, Alabama Shakes and Paul McCartney. Since all three acts performed one after the other on the same stage, finding a spot up front seemed like a good option.
I knew that I would be standing stage side for around seven hours so I returned to the VIP Lolla Lounge to drink as much Jack and colas as possible and eat a few more meatball subs.
LOLLAPALOOZA VIP LOUNGE DAY TWO
I began the second day of Lollapalooza with a tequila sunrise followed by a bottle of Daily Greens vegetable and fruit juice since that combo seemed like a balanced choice for a liquid breakfast at a music festival.
I relaxed in the Lolla Lounge waiting for food to be ready, luckily the folks at Maestro Dobel tequila were more than willing to keep the margaritas flowing before lunch.
Having started the day with tequila, I decided to keep it Mexican themed by only eating food from the booth labelled “Taco”. The food on offer included grilled steak fajitas with cilantro and mole, beef barbacoa tamales dipped in green chili, and elote on a stick seasoned with Parmesan cheese and dried peppers.
I went stage side to catch Catfish and the Bottlemen who I’d seen for the first time at the Governors Ball Music Festival the year before.
I stayed inside the VIP Lolla Lounge to see Django Django. The view from the lounge is vast and gives you a view of the band and the festival crowd with the Chicago skyline in the distance.
The acoustics actually travel well but being able to sit with a drink in hand was the best part of listening to music in the Lolla Lounge.
Choosing a headline act was a much tougher call than Friday since pop crooner Sam Smith and rock legends Metallica were playing on opposite ends of Grant Park.
I skipped both headliners and decided to relax in the lounge instead of trying to get a good spot near the front of the stage.
I had some more Maestro Dobel cocktails and miniature Chicago-style hot dogs while listening to Kid Cudi’s performance in the background.
I ended the day by watching BANKS and G-Eazy on one of the festivals smaller stage.
LOLLAPALOOZA VIP LOUNGE DAY THREE
The third day of the festival is the day that I most appreciated having a Lollapalooza VIP ticket.
The combination of a scorching sun, a raging head ache, two sore feet and a two day hang over made a seat in the shaded Lolla lounge the best place to be.
I watched Twin Peaks and the Wombats from the lounge that day.
The Lolla Lemonade made with Tennessee Honey and sweet tea was just what I needed that day; sweet and tangy with a boost from the caffeine.
I also downed loads of Vita Coco coconut water. I actually had enough coconut water left over from Lollapalooza to last me an entire week!
The folks at Jack Daniels knew more about the impending storm than I did and gave me a free poncho although the sky seemed clear. When the evacuation of Grant Park did eventually happen, they cleared out the Lollapalooza VIP sections first.
I headed back to the hotel, got some rest and came back recharged for an energy packed performance from Gogol Bordello.
With my schedule now thrown off, and knowing that I just wanted to see TV on the Radio and Florence and the Machine again I decided to try some more Lollapalooza VIP food that I might have missed.
Churros slathered in Dulce de Leche and jumbo pretzels with a cheddar cheese sauce dip made a perfect snack combo of salty and sweet.
IS A LOLLAPALOOZA VIP TICKET WORTH IT?
Chicago was just a stop on a trip that started in New York City and ended in Seattle.
I have no idea when next I’ll be at Lollapalooza or even in Chicago again and I’m glad that my first Lollapalooza experience was amazing.
Everyone should splurge on a music festival at least once.
Sure, when I look back I think about another camera lens or plane ticket that I could have bought, but at the same time I still think that a Lollapalooza VIP ticket is definitely worth it.