Free shows during Lollapalooza weekend

Kate Nash

Kate Nash

Lollapalooza tickets sold out in record time this year, so you shouldn’t feel too bad about missing out on the opportunity to congregate in Grant Park with more than 100,000 other people. Even if you also forgot to snag aftershow tickets, you shouldn’t resign yourself to spending the weekend locked up in your apartment looking at your friends’ blurry Instagram photos of Mumford & Sons. Here are six free shows happening this weekend that will give you something to do while everyone downtown is buying overpriced beer:

1) Billboard Pre Party: Kate Nash + Half Moon Run + Blondefire U.K. singer-songwriter Kate Nash won't be playing at Lollapalooza this year, so if you want to sing along to "OMYGOD!" this is your chance. This party is being presented by Cotton (you know, the fabric) who will be handing out free tank tops and tote bags at the event. Attendees can also enter a "festival fashion" contest to be eligible to win a pair of three-day passes to Lollapalooza. Double Door. Aug 1 at 8pm. Free with RSVP.

2) Gap Celebrates Lollapalooza: Hey Marseilles Do you dare venture onto Muggers' Mile? If so, you can catch a set from earnest indie-rockers Hey Marseilles at a store in which members of the band have probably shopped for collared shirts and cardigans. The event will also provide your first chance to purchase Gap's official Lollapalooza t-shirt, which will be especially useful to those of you who insist upon wearing Lolla shirts to the festival itself. Gap, 555 N Michigan Ave. Aug 1 at 6pm. Free with RSVP.

3) FILTER Magazine Lolla Kick Off Party: Smith Westerns + MNDR Call us fanboys, but we're a bit more excited for a DJ set from director Edgar Wright than we are about the bands playing at this party. Here's hoping that he has managed to replace all the records in his collection that were chucked at zombies in Shaun of the Dead—nothing gets the crowd moving quite like "Batdance." Logan Square Auditorium. Aug 1 at 9pm. Free with RSVP.

4) The Thermals + Heliotropes + Aye Nako The Chicago branch of Brooklyn Vegan (which really needs to change its name to Pilsen Vegan) will be taking over Logan Square dive Ultra Lounge for two nights during Lollapalooza this year. Friday night's show features the always energetic Thermals, who proved that they're just as angry as ever on their latest record Desperate Ground. Attendees will be able to sip on free Sapporo, which is arguabley the best way to rehydrate after a day in the sun. Ultra Lounge. Aug 2 at 9pm. Free.

5) Russian Circles + An Aesthetic Anaesthetic + Carbon Tigers Night two of Brooklyn Vegan's takeover of the Ultra Lounge features more free beer and music. There's a good chance that instrumental rockers Russian Circles will debut some material from their upcoming record, set to be released this October. Ultra Lounge. Aug 3 at 9pm. Free.

6) Jenny Lewis & Jimmy Tamborello (DJ set) We're not sure what a DJ set from Jenny Lewis and Jimmy Tamborello will sound like, but we'd be totally satisified with a collection of unreleased Rilo Kiley and Postal Service tracks. Cat Power keyboardist Gregg Foreman and Kill Hannah bassist Greg Corner are also scheduled to spin. Debonair Social Club. Aug 3 at 9pm. Free with RSVP.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)