The renowned annual music festival Lollapalooza is back for its second stint at Mumbai on the weekend of January 27 and 28, 2024. With artists such as Sting, Jonas Brothers, Halsey, The Rose and more set to take the stage, energies are soaring high in the city. And much like last year, this year is also set to see a massive turnout of music fans from all the country. Playing genres across rock, alternative, hip-hop, and electronic, Lolla offers an experience of dynamic performances, a chance to rub shoulders with fellow music lovers and feast on yummy treats. And as someone who was left feeling euphoric after the weekend fest last year, this year demands of me to be better prepared. Because let's face it, an open air concert in the middle of Bombay with big crowds and multiple stages? You WILL need to prep!
Make sure you have you essentials ready for the day of the event. This means your entry bands, IDs, beverage cards go in the main compartment of your bags. Then, keep your portable charges handy so that you can film your favourite artist all day without worrying about having enough juice left to call your friends through the day. Chances are that like last year this year too phone and data services will be down at the venue probably because of jammers. This is done to ensure that there is no misinformation spread through most used social channels on the day of the events. If you need to reach people outside of the venue or are covering the event, carry a wireless internet dongle for emergencies.
Plan your days
With almost 50 artists performing full sets in four different stages and over a span of two days, you can a get a bit overwhelmed. After all, the sets have been designed keeping logistics in mind and may not always fit your personal interests. So if you find your favourite artists playing one after the other on stages set far apart, its crucial to get your planning done. Familiarize yourself with the festival lineup, schedule, and map of the arena at the Mahalaxmi Race Course. Go a little early on day 1 to figure out the short cuts between stages that will cut through the crowd when push comes to shove, quite literally. The sets have a 30-minute rest period so you will have enough time to shuffle between stages and get some rest in. Don't forget to rest; I went too hard on day 1 last year and had no energy left for day 2!
It's ideal to travel via public transport or shuttle options because of the traffic restrictions near the venue. Coming from experience, the festival grounds are situated quite far from the parking spots and isn't exactly a friendly walking terrain. Unless you have VIP privileges and can avail a cart, chances are you'll be walking quite a distance in and out for 2 days. Which is why you should opt for public transport options that will drip you close to the entry gates and make the transit easy. Plus, you won't spend house stuck behind cars while exiting the venue!
If I could go back in time and re-do my Lolla stint last year, I'd pick out my most lightweight cotton tanks and breezy pants to bear the brunt of the sun that's out in Bombay this time of year. Yes peeps, regardless of the cold wave we're experiencing now, you can best believe that the sun will be in your eye all day on the festival ground. And it will gen uncomfortable an sweaty. So, monitor the weather forecast and prepare accordingly. Pack sunscreen, preferably spray-on, and wear light layers with an additional jacket that you can tie around your waist. The idea is to put together a fit that is comfortable, let's your skin breath and is something you don't mind getting soiled while sitting on the ground (you'll be doing that a lot!). Avoid carrying backpacks and big bags as you will end up having to lug them around all day on festival ground. n gear, or warm layers as needed. Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking and standing and carry sunglasses, hats, or bandanas for sun protection. Make sure to pack some earplugs if you're sensitive to loud noises.
The “survival” guide
Lolla can get exhausting; it's a massive venue that requires a lot of walking, dancing, jumping and going all-out mad in the open sun. So make sure to make a note of the first aid stations and carry any necessary medications based on your personal needs. Stay hydrated throughout the day; the venue has multiple hydration stations that offer clean water for free so make sure you're carrying an empty bottle to refill every time you walk all way our there. Sip on drinks with electrolytes in them to supplement your energy levels. Plan your meals during sets that you're okay to miss because the ones can get long and the food will take time to get to you. Don't overburden yourself with non-perishable snacks because food is plenty at the festival. Keep your festival bands topped up with enough balance on day 1 itself as payment options are limited at the venue.
As mentioned earlier, you may not be able to use your phone uninterruptedly on the festival grounds. So make sure to establish meeting points for your group in case you get separated. It is crucial to know your limits with alcohol as medical assistance can take a while to get to you and relying on your friends to drag your drunk bottom back out is just rude! Stay aware of your surroundings and respect personal space during crowded performances.
Lastly, follow proper festival etiquette and dispose of your trash responsibly!