The Poor Student's Way to Do Lollapalooza



Cage the Elephant's Matthew Shultz breaking the rules again, Lolla 09

Yesterday, the Lollapalooza 2011 lineup was announced. I have this thing where I'm obsessed with music festivals, and I almost peed my pants with excitement. Headliners for this year are Coldplay, Muse, Eminem, and Foo Fighters. To me, that looks pretty solid. Other performers include My Morning Jacket, Arctic Monkeys, Bright Eyes, Cage the Elephant, Lykke Li, Two Door Cinema Club, Local Natives, Sleigh Bells, and Best Coast. Personally, I'm most excited for Cage the Elephant - Matthew Shultz wore a cute little red dress (that lifted up obscenely while he crowd surfed, might I add) on stage at Coachella two weekends ago, and I'm hoping maybe he'll go all out for a ballgown at Lollapalooza.

If this list doesn't yet have you searching your piggy bank for funds to go toward a ticket, you're a lost cause.

But if, like me, you desperately want to go (no, NEED to go), and your piggy bank search produces exactly 39 cents (making the 3 day pass price only $214.61!), there is another solution.

Last year, I started volunteering at the Lollapalooza festival and, let me tell you, it was the best decision I ever made. You get into the festival for free, get a free t-shirt, five bucks in food vouchers, all in return for a four hour volunteer shift. After your shift, you are free to roam the festival. Just make sure you show up to your shift - otherwise you'll be put on the blacklist and disallowed to volunteer again. There are numerous ways in which you can volunteer, like working on greet staff, kids' activites, the recycling program, and box office.

Last year I worked as a greeter and held up a giant lollipop sign that said "Fest Info, Ask Me!". This entailed mostly directing people to the box office and telling disgruntled tourists that no, they could not access Buckingham Fountain while the festival was happening. After four hours of volunteering I was able to see The Black Keys, Matt & Kim, The Strokes, Neon Trees, and others for free.

Here are the catches: the application costs $10, and you must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of Chicago. That's it. You could get assigned to one day, or all three. You can make requests, but there are no guarantees. So cross your fingers folks, because this is one of the best ways to see some free music this summer.

The application goes up on the official Lolla website, under FAQs, in mid-May.

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