Monday, September 01, 2008

i brought my babies to Lollapalooza

Img_2827Just because you can bring your kids to Lollapaloozadoesn't mean you should. Yes, there is Kidzapaloozaand it is wonderful (more on that in a minute), but you don't need 75,000 grungy boys and bikini-topped babes in 90 degree heat before 8 stages of very loud music and row after row of ripe-smelling port-a-potties to expose your kids to your favorite music.

Here's what we loved (all free):
- Body painting "tattooz" and freshly silk-screened t-shirts and tote bags by artists from Small Paul.
- Playing with the real rock band instruments in the School of Rock Petting Zoo
- Designing a CD cover with the nice folks from Crazy Kids Chicago and Art & Soul
- The Paul Green School of Rock All-Stars. I didn't spy any pre-pubescent guitar protegies, but the world-touring band of teens did some great covers of rock and roll classics.

Here's what we hated:

- Getting there took 1 1/2 hours door to gate--and thanks to press credentials, I didn't have to wait in line at the gate--a line that lengthened to several blocks by early afternoon! With three hours of our outing committed to Blue Line riding and stroller pushing from Dearborn to Grant Park, I didn't feel like I had much time to enjoy the show(s).
- The sun and heat! The allowable two bottles of water don't last long and the lines for the water fountains were longer than the lines for beer. And, while there are first aid stations available, the responsible parent in me didn't want to see either of my kids have to endure a sunburn or heatstroke.

And here are some tips for the rest of you heading to Lolla with kids in tow (after all tickets are still available for Saturday and Sunday):
- Go early--like, right at 11am and leave before your kids melt down.
- Fill your kids up on healthy snacks and water before you reach the festival gates. Bury additional kiddie snacks amongst diapers, wipes and baby hats (or under the stroller) where they likely won't be discovered.
- Refuel the children (and yourselves) on the cheap. Hit the Whole Foods area for samples of their fruit strips and sorbet. In the kids area you'll find free gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, Lifeway Kefir ProBugs (a whole milk drinkable yogurt) and lemonade (for a donation). If you need something more substantial, you can get a hot dog for $3 or chicken strips for $6.
- If the call of nature hits, use the extra-large port-a-potties in the Kidzapalooza area. Not only do they offer room for two or three, they see a lot less use and abuse.
- If you've got it, bring ear protection for the kids. It is loud. Ear-shatteringly loud. So loud your kid won't pick up any new, colorful vocabulary--and you won't be able to hear him whine.