Attending more than one festival automatically makes you draw comparisons between them. Admittedly I have a lot more experience with Lollapalooza and have only been to Voodoo Experience once, but I immediately saw similarities and differences between the two. This post compares Voodoo Experience 2011 to Lollapalooza.
New Orleans’ City Park: While this park is in the city of New Orleans, it is located five miles (~30 minutes by public transit) from the French Quarter partner hotels. Aside from the fact that there aren’t any hotels near the park, if you don’t live in New Orleans, you would want to stay in the French Quarter so that you can go out each night after the show. In 2012 Voodoo Experience started to allow camping within the park’s festival grounds.
Chicago’s Grant Park: This park is walkable from several nearby hotels and offers amazing Chicago skyline views. You are also close to several bars and restaurants in The Loop and Michigan Avenue.
When I attended Voodoo Experience in 2011 it was held on ~20 acres. This smaller size made it easier to get from stage to stage. It also meant that the stages were closer together and there would be times that while you were taking in one band you could hear the performance at another stage.
In 2013 it moved to City Park’s new Festival Grounds created specifically for outdoor festivals and covers 50 acres. The daily capacity is 90,000.
Lollapalooza takes over 115 acres of Grant Park and allows for a daily capacity of 100,000. It does take longer to go between the two end stages, but with all stages being further apart you don’t run into the problem of the performance at another stage interfering with the band you are seeing. The stages that are in the same area alternate set times – when the performance on one stage is over, the other stage beings its performance.
Food & Beverage
NOLA Food Experience
Local businesses and regional classics are on sale at the food booths. This is where I tried my first deep fried Oreo. This being New Orleans, hurricanes and daiquiris are also available for purchase. There are even vendors walking around selling beer to attendees.
Local businesses and regional classics are on sale at the food booths at Lollapalooza as well. Hard alcohol is only available in the VIP areas, but there are several beer tents and even a wine tent.
I found that there were very few trashcans and zero recycling bins. The trashcans were often overflowing which caused there to be more trash on the floor next to the trashcan rather than in it.
There were plenty of trashcans around Grant Park, each with a recycling bag attached to the side. Lollapalooza also partners with Rock N’ Recycle which offers a free t-shirt to anyone who brings a full bag of cans and plastic cups. There are always several people walking around with these bags. You would also see workers going through the park emptying the trashcans and recycling bags to ensure they did not overflow.
Voodoo had fewer porta potties, which caused them to run out of toilet paper and become dirty quickly.
Lollapalooza has plenty of porta potties and you see them being serviced at least twice each day. They are rarely out of toilet paper and are in better condition.
No matter how you slice it, attending any music festival is an amazing experience. I suggest you start with one close to you and then expand from there.