Lollapalooza 2021: Is it safe to go to Chicago’s biggest music festival? The city’s top doctor weighs in

Grant Park is a flurry of activities as Lollapalooza approaches, and Oak Park’s Sydney Babbington is likely to be in attendance for the biggest summer music festival in the city.

“I’m leaning on it. I’m leaning on it, but we’ll see,” Babbington said as she strolled around Buckingham Fountain on Thursday afternoon. “Friday or Thursday, the best days.”

This year, the delta variant of COVID-19 presents a new challenge for festival lovers.

“It’s definitely something to be cautious about while you’re there, but it’s not going to stop you coming back,” Babbington said.

But the virus is the reason some fans skipped this year’s event. Elise Leopold, a DePaul University student, decided to forgo the event entirely after reading Lolla’s website.

“It’s for me. I love it,” Leopold said. “But just to get in, have to get vaccinated, which I don’t have, and then go get tested every day, the first thing that comes to me is – no, I can’t.”

Lolla’s website lists the safety protocols currently in place. You must be fully vaccinated, or test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of attending Lolla. Upon entry, you must have a printed copy of your vaccine card, vaccine record or negative COVID test. You must also have a wristband for your festival. If you haven’t been vaccinated, Lolla’s website says you must also wear a mask.

“I’ve got the vaccine, so I wouldn’t worry about it,” Babbington said. “But I think they should definitely make sure that is enforced first or try to do the best they can.”

So should you go to Lolla? Allison Arwady, Chicago’s top physician, answered that question in her Facebook Live Q&A on Thursday morning.

“My biggest concern is for people who haven’t been vaccinated and make that decision. If you’re fully vaccinated, I’d feel comfortable attending,” Dr. Arwady said.

“I really want to wear a mask. I like these in the summer, these are the things that I personally like,” Dr. Arwady said while holding a disposable mask in her hand. “But that helps to an extent, and then, you know, maybe you don’t want to go right into the middle of the mosh pit, you know.”

So maybe skip the mosh pit and still have some fun. As Babbington noted, “It’s one of the best ways to end a good summer.”

Statement from the organizers of Lollapalooza

“Lollapalooza will enforce the health measures we have put in place as directed by the City of Chicago and Chicago Departments of Public Health. We will have staff at the entrance to check vaccination and testing documents. negative when fans enter the festival. We recommend that our fans build in more time to allow for this additional input request. If fans arrive without this document, they will be refused.

Lollapalooza has been continuously working with the City of Chicago to encourage vaccinations to ensure that all fans who meet the requirements have a safe and enjoyable weekend. “

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Huynh Nguyen

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