Every major rock festival now features an iPhone app to help you navigate the grounds and find out when your favorite bands are playing, but Lollapalooza, which happens this weekend in Chicago, has a couple of unique wrinkles.
The Coachella iPhone app that I used earlier this year had a friend finder and the ability to post photos, but AT&T's network had trouble sending regular SMS messages, so I didn't even bother trying to use these data-intensive features. To try to get around this problem, the Lolla organizers have teamed up with AOL Lifestream to provide 100 acres of free Wi-Fi access in Grant Park.
The Lollapalooza iPhone app itself boasts integration with Facebook, so instead of having to add friends via e-mail addresses, you can simply use your Facebook log-in and add friends that way. You can also post photos directly from the app to your Facebook wall. The festival doesn't have its own radio station like Bonnaroo, but Slacker Radio has programmed a Lolla station featuring songs by all of the performing artists, and you'll be able to listen to it through the app as well. Maps, artist info, and a customizable schedule are also included, and for those of you who don't smoke or forgot your Bic but still want to show your appreciation in the old-fashioned way, there's a virtual lighter built in.
The iPhone app is available as a free download. There's also a free Android app available for download with most of the same features, minus the radio station.
By the way, Spoon and Devo were both personal highlights of this year's Coachella, and Mavis Staples put on a great set at JazzFest a few years ago. Check them out for me.