Your CTA card is full and Cubs hat broken in—or White Sox, no judgment. That can only mean one thing: Lollapalooza starts this week! The iconic Chicago festival returns to Grant Park for its 17th year, and the lineup is an awesome mashup of old and new: Reunited icons The Cure and Nine Inch Nails are headlining, while newer acts like Kendrick Lamar, Disclosure and Father John Misty continue on their 2013 festival circuit.
Locals know best, so to get pro tips on what to expect at Lolla this year we caught up with Krewella's Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf. The sisters got their start at Northbrook’s Glenbrook North High School, a short drive north from the city, and just a few years after graduating, the duo's hit "Alive" reached No. 9 on the Billboard Pop Songs chart earlier this year. And they owe all of their success to deep dish pizza. (Kidding.)
Below, Krewella dish on the must-see sets, local fashion and reveal where to get the best view of Chicago's famous skyline.
Chicago's Electronic Scene
"We love that Lolla is starting to bring in a whole slew of different genres of acts. Because definitely in the past years, it's been more rock and rap and underground music-oriented—that's because Chicago is a very big rock scene. But over the years, the city has really been involved with a budding heavy bass/electronic scene. Obviously there's the house music background, but more recently, the bass music movement in Chicago is getting more and more popular. So it's great that Lolla is bringing new [electronic] acts in [like Icona Pop and Flux Pavilion]. People's tastes are changing over time—you have to adapt and change toward peoples' new tastes."
Emotional Twilight Sets
Krewella have been on the EDM festival circuit this year, hitting up Ultra Music Fest in Miami as well as Austria's Electric Love Festival and New York's Electric Zoo later this year. So, what's the best part? "It's just the atmosphere. Sometimes you're playing during sunset—we'll get booked at 6 or 7 P.M., and that's one of the most beautiful times to play. When you start your set and the sun is up, and halfway through the set the sun starts setting... It makes it a more dynamic set and more emotional."
Take Advantage of the Huge Crowds
Only at festivals are music fans surrounded by thousands of other like-minded music fans all enjoying the same show. Soak it in! Peace and love (and stuff)! "The fact that there's no limit on how many people can watch you—there are so many great stages to go to… You know in a club, there's a limit, sometimes 1,000 or 500 people. But at Lollapalooza, thousands of people can flood to your stage if you're a popular act or people are really feeling your music at the time. Festivals are usually very emotional moments for people. We love that whole festival vibe, that emotional day for people."
Which Sets Are on Their Radars?
The sisters have to head to another gig after their Lollapalooza pre-party show (the duo aren't on the official 2013 bill), but here are the Krewella-certified sets they would check out if they could stick around. "Postal Service for sure. The Cure, also. We grew up on The Cure. That was one of the first bands that became one of our favorite bands. So I would die to see them. And Imagine Dragons are one of our favorites right now." Honorable mention goes to Adventure Club, because Yasmine happens to be dating one half of the Canadian dubstep duo. (Awww.)
Bring Your Sweats
"As far as fashion is concerned, Chicagoans are not as hip as New York or L.A., but we like that. Whenever we go back to Chicago, you really don't feel like you have to impress anyone when you're there," Jahan said. "You can just be yourself—you can be casual, you can walk out of the house in sweatpants. Yasmine and I are really casual, low-maintenance and minimal so we really love that. It doesn't feel like there's the competition for image that you get on both coasts."
What to Do Before You Head to Grant Park
"Definitely find a rooftop bar! Chicago's skyline is the best in the entire world, and seeing it from the sky is just mind-blowing. Check out the W Hotel's The Wit and the Dana Hotel's Vertigo Sky Lounge. Also Epic has a rooftop that has really beautiful scenery. Definitely see the skyline from the roof."
...And What to Do After
"Mid is the club you have to go to for after parties. That's our go-to spot in Chicago! It's the coolest club in the city. It's a combination of the bottle service scene and kids who are coming from the festival who want to just keep drinking. So it's a really cool mixed crowd."