In the pantheon of music festivals, there’s perhaps none so sweaty and smooshed-together as Lollapalooza, which unfolds not in a vast desert or rolling field but in a crowded, cordoned-off stretch of downtown Chicago. Canceling it in the midst of a hyper-contagious pandemic is a no-brainer, but it took until today for it to become official. The Chicago Tribune reports that, due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, the annual event is off.
This comes more than a month after Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker’s five-phase plan for reopening the state made it more or less impossible for the festival to unfold as normal. It was then that the Pitchfork Music Festival, set to launch only a few weeks before Lollapalooza, announced its cancellation. One imagines the city was brainstorming ways to delay the festival in the same manner as Coachella; the problem, of course, is that Chicago’s long, brutal winters don’t make rescheduling easy.
“We wish we could bring Lollapalooza to Grant Park again this year, but we understand why things can’t move forward as planned,” said festival organizers in a statement. “The health and safety of our fans, artists, partners, staff and community is always our highest priority.”
No tickets had gone on sale for Lollapalooza, nor had a lineup been revealed. There is a plan for a weekend-long livestream from July 30 to August 2, the dates the festival was supposed to encompass, that will include “performances from around the city and beyond.” Will it be the same? No, but will any blank-faced teenagers barf on your shoes? Also no. Silver linings.
Lollapalooza will return for its 30th anniversary event next year, so long as we’ve got a vaccine by then.