The title is a little click-baity but it isn’t untrue.
The secret to free Lollapalooza tickets is to VOLUNTEER at the music festival.
Ok, you’ll have to pay a $10 application fee, and commit some time, but it’s a small price to pay for being a Lollapalooza insider (and not paying a hefty three day ticket price).
Still interested? Read on and I’ll show you how to get into Lollapalooza for free*.
Volunteering: Getting free Lollapalooza Tickets
Every year around May, Lollapalooza starts advertising volunteer opportunities on their website. For the best chance of getting the team and times you want (more on that soon), you should sign up for Lollapalooza’s general email newsletter to have first dibs. If you have volunteered in prior years, you will get a head start (of about a week) on new applicants (nice).
The volunteer application costs $10 to help Lollapalooza fight spam signups and to make sure potential volunteers are willing to commit. Keep in mind – you must have a Chicago address to be eligible to volunteer.
In terms of actually scoring a volunteer gig, you need to fill out a profile. You’ll be asked about:
- Past Volunteer/Work Experience
- Past Lollapalooza Experiences
The more effort you put into this, the better your chance of scoring a gig. Basically, the Lollapalooza staff just wants to know you’re jazzed about their amazing music festival and want to see if you have the skill set necessary to deal with the tasks involved in your role.
Availability is extremely important in actually getting selected. You will need to be available the full weekend (all three days, including one non-weekend day) to have the best chance. Shifts are about 4 hours and are roughly one of the following:
If you have already volunteered, you can get whatever time shifts you want. If you’re new, you’ll need to be a little more flexible. Seniority rules, but you can still see the bands you want if you’re willing to work a less than ideal shift at least once. Pick an early shift on the day you’re most interested in, and opt for the midday/night shifts on days that are less important to you.
Teams range from environmental initiatives, volunteer headquarter operations, map handouts, general festival guides, and more. I personally like working on the environmental initiative teams. They tend to have the most spots available. I have volunteered for both Green Team and Aqua Team in my three years of volunteering, but I prefer Aqua. Green Team is a little intense – you have to stand in the sun half of the time (see the above picture) and try to reason with people who are under the influence about what goes in trash, recycling and compost. It can be so much better than this, people. Aqua team is awesome – shade, a plentiful supply of water, and lots of thankful patrons.
Perks, in a nutshell:
- Free day pass for each shift worked, up to 3
- Free food coupon valued around $5
- Snacks and drinks at volunteer headquarters
- …not to mention a much less-used bathroom
- Not paying over $200 for a ticket
There are so many other non-obvious perks that I’ll let you discover on your own. You’ll meet some awesome people who are volunteering by your side and interacting with you as a festival-goer. So don’t miss this opportunity to experience a different side of Lollapalooza!
Have you volunteered at a music festival before? Which teams have you participated in? Share your free Lollapalooza (and other festivals!) experiences and more in the comments.