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10 Ways Lollapalooza Will Screw Up Your Weekend (If You Don't Have Tickets)

By Lizzie Schiffman Tufano | August 1, 2014 7:25am | Updated on August 1, 2014 8:36am
 Fest-goers wore costumes, hair crowns, white lace tops and more at Lollapalooza 2013.
The People of Lollapalooza
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THE LOOP — An estimated 300,000 people are expected to descend on Grant Park for the sold-out three-day Lollapalooza music festival, now in its 18th year.

For Chicagoans and visitors not attending the festival, this means the Loop will be a vortex of inconvenience from Friday to Sunday.

Aside from the agony of missing acts like Lorde, Outkast, Skrillex and Eminem, the big-ticket event will bring some major headaches to the neighborhood. We rounded up 10 of the biggest annoyances locals can anticipate.

1. Metra commuting: no booze, no bikes. During big events that bring extra traffic Downtown, the Metra train system temporarily prohibits riders from bringing bikes on board, and from consuming (or openly carrying) alcohol or anything in a glass bottle. Typically, bikes are allowed on the Metra outside of peak hours, and commuters are welcome to drink on board.

2. Cellphone reception will plummet near the park. Hundreds of thousands of revelers Instagramming and trying to meet up with friends via text means clogged cell towers and minimal bars for phone calls or Internet access on smartphones. The congestion radiates around Grant Park, so a backup communication plan may be in order if you expect to be near the thick of it in the Loop this weekend.

3. CTA travel times could triple. Between crowds rushing to and from the festival on rail lines and hordes of festgoers flooding the streets blocking buses and cars, non-Lolla commuters should plan for lengthier travel times. One DNAinfo Chicago staffer recalls sitting on a southbound bus on Michigan Avenue for an hour to travel a dozen blocks a few years back.

4. Surge prices will skyrocket for Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing services. Ride-sharing services are often significantly cheaper than hopping in a cab — except during competitive "peak" times when crowds are all clamoring for a seat. "Surge" or "prime time" pricing allows companies like Lyft or UberX to charge customers higher fares — sometimes raising them by more than 400 percent during busy times.

Expect late fees as well if you're trying to Divvy — Lollapalooza is heavily advertising the bike-sharing service, so docking stations could be packed or barren.

5. After-parties will flood your favorite venues. Park West, the Mid, Empty Bottle, JIMMY, Berlin and more will be out of commission this weekend, playing host to sold-out after-parties and DJ sets from headliners and undercards. And if you miss that after-party, you're out of luck, because ...

6. Bands on the lineup won't be back in Chicago for months. Lollapalooza's notorious and oft-criticized radius clause prohibits festival acts from performing within a 300-mile radius of the city for six months before and three months after the shows this weekend. If you've been dying to catch a set from the Arctic Monkeys or Kreweella and don't have a ticket to Lolla or their after-parties, you'll have to satisfy that itch with the Lolla Livestream.

7. Grant Park will take a serious beating. "Chicago's front lawn" already has been taken over by Lollapalooza setup for more than a week, and it typically takes about two months to restore the park to its former glory. The festival team picks up the tab, and residents get some bonuses along with repairs, but sections of the park that get a lot of traffic during the festival will be out of commission for weeks.

8. Lower tolerance for loitering in the Loop. In addition to closing off the streets surrounding Grant Park for the festival, security and police will be heavily monitoring the surrounding area for potential fence-hoppers and troublemakers. There's no ban on wandering the streets near Lollapalooza, but if you're too close to the fence, expect to be shooed away.

9. Street closures aplenty will make driving Downtown a nightmare. The Office of Emergency Management lists the following street closures associated with the fest:

• Balbo Avenue from Lake Shore Drive to Columbus Drive closed through Aug. 9

• Jackson Boulevard from Lake Shore Drive to Columbus Drive closed through Aug. 8

• Balbo Avenue from Columbus Drive to Michigan Avenue closed through Wednesday

• Jackson Boulevard from Columbus Drive to Michigan Avenue closed through Wednesday

• Congress Parkway from Columbus Drive to Michigan Avenue closed through Wednesday

• Columbus Drive from Monroe Street to Roosevelt Road closed through Wednesday

10. Rain could cause a catastrophe. Heavy rains left Lollapalooza 2011 a soggy mess. With possible thunderstorms predicted for Friday, this year's fest could see, at least, a return of the mud people, and at worst another massive evacuation. The good news: Meteorologists say sunny skies are ahead for Saturday and Sunday.

And if you decide to join 'em (since you can't beat 'em), beware of major markups from scalpers outside the sold-out fest: Resellers will be out in full force all weekend.

Linden Falftien, a sales representative for Center Stage Tickets, 10409 S. Western Ave. in Beverly, said buyers need to use more "old-school" methods to get better deals on their tickets.

"Look for the local broker and make a phone call instead of just going online and hitting Craigslist," Falftien said.

"Deal with somebody reputable instead of a guy standing on a corner."

Buyers can contact sites like Ticketmaster and ask to verify the serial numbers on the tickets, a police spokesman advised last year.

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