CHICAGO — In recent years, Lollapalooza organizers have made it increasingly difficult to get into the fest by swapping wristbands or hopping fences — two issues Lolla organizers faced in years past.
But gatecrashing is still happening.
A man called CPY — who asked not to have his name revealed — snuck into Lollapalooza by dressing up as a Guitar Center employee delivering speakers. A video documents the incident:
"My plan is simple: go to Lollapalooza, pretend I'm delivering speakers and have those said speakers be filled with a s--t-ton of beer," CPY says in the video. "And then enjoy the rest of the day with my friends."
Kelly Bauer talks about CPY's sneaky entrance to Lolla.
In the video, CPY enters early though the backstage area and waits around until his friends show up.
CPY, 24, of Albany Park, said he gets into Lolla every year without paying — sometimes by jumping the gate or running for it — but he was inspired this time by a man dubbed the "Ice Man" who has snuck into multiple Lollapaloozas by posing as an ice delivery guy with a pal.
"I kind of just put my own twist to it," CPY said.
He had originally thought of dressing as an emergency medical technician, but he was concerned that would be against the law, CPY said. He figured the Guitar Center disguise was the "least dangerous thing to dress up as" and figured he'd only get a slap on the wrist if caught.
"The whole thing was so nerve-wracking at first, but it was so much fun, just planning it out,” CPY said. “It really got my adrenaline rushing. And plus, like I said, I got all this free beer to bring inside."
An official did question why CPY didn't have a bracelet to get backstage, CPY said, but he promised her he'd wear it next time and she let him inside, saying she knew he was just trying to set up for the shows.
"I was like, 'Awesome.' It definitely was the frosting on the cake," CPY said.
All in all, the disguise only cost $45-$50, CPY said, and he estimates he saved hundreds of dollars by sneaking about 40 cans of Bud Light into the festival (he hid it in his speaker) instead of buying it at Lolla. He's already returned the Guitar Center hat that was part of the disguise to save money, he said.
CPY said he has enough money for Lolla tickets, but he's always looking for "interesting" ways to get into the music festival. He got in again on Friday, he said: He started passing out Guitar Center gift cards with $0 on them to security guards at the exit, working his way backwards until he was in the music festival.
"There was probably less reason for me to do it this year because I could easily afford the ticket," CPY said. At one point, he considered buying a ticket, but he thought, “I’m way too invested in this. My friends are doubting me."
He ended up watching Wavves, Towkio, Lana Del Rey and even spotted Malia Obama at the Cashmere Cat show.
CPY's inspiration, the Ice Man, has also posed as Kind bar employee, giving out a few nutrition bars with a clipboard and Kind shirt.
Even Chicago rapper Vic Mensa said he nearly died trying to sneak into Lollapalooza in 2012 by scaling a bridge only to brush up against a live transformer, fall to the ground and wind up in the hospital under police custody. This year he didn't need to sneak in — he performed at the festival.
The gatecrashers are able to save a good chunk of change with their disguises: one-day tickets to the fest cost $120.
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