Foo Fighters Headline Lollapalooza As Chicago Summer Festival Season Opens Up

May 19, 2021
Originally published on May 19, 2021 6:12 pm

Live music is set to come back to Chicago in a big way this summer. Today, Lollapalooza announced its full line up, with Foo Fighters, Post Malone, Tyler, the Creator and Miley Cyrus headlining. And the fest will be at full capacity, too.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the festival's return on Tuesday. In a tweet, she said, "In alignment with our public health guidance, the world class festival returns to the city later this summer. However, full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test will be required to enjoy the festivities." The tweet included a video in which Lightfoot claims to like the rapper Polo G, and calls up Lolla founder Perry Farrell in a skit of sorts.

The Lollapalooza website specifies that entrants who are unvaccinated will have to provide proof of a negative test "within 24 hours of attending Lollapalooza each day." On a typical day, the festival attracts 100,000 people.

The rollout of the announcement is meant to encourage Chicagoans to get vaccinated. Chicago's public health commissioner, Dr. Allison Arwady, teased out in a press conference that there will be "more in the days to come about ways in which we may tie Lollapalooza tickets to opportunities for vaccination."

Chicago had previously floated the idea of a "Vax Pass," with vaccination providing access to concerts or other forms of entertainment, as a way of encouraging the 18-44 year old demographic to get vaccinated. No concrete plans have been announced yet.

Certainly there'll be no lack of opportunities: Lollapalooza is just one of a few summer music festivals in Chicago that have made announcements recently. Last week, the punk-adjacent festival Riot Fest announced its full line up, with Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins and Run the Jewels headlining. Pitchfork Music Festival Chicago followed suit earlier this week, with Phoebe Bridgers, St. Vincent and Erykah Badu revealed as headliners.

Riot Fest has yet to post details on whether it will require proof of vaccination or a negative test. Pitchfork is requiring everyone over the age of 12 to be fully vaccinated or provide proof of a negative PCR test within the past 24 hours for each day of the festival, similar to Lollapalooza. Among the three festivals, Pitchfork is the only one currently requiring masks throughout festival grounds, except when eating and drinking. According to its website, Pitchfork will continue to update this policy "as local guidelines become available."

The logistics of providing proof of vaccination have yet to be worked out. At yesterday's press conference, Dr. Arwady said that a vaccination card — or a copy of it, or a photo of it on your phone — would count as proof. So would a print out from your doctor. But the city is still seeking a solution that would make the process easier for everyone, whether it be an app, an online database or something else altogether.

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Chicago this summer is set to be as loud as ever.


FOO FIGHTERS: (Singing) Done, done, on to the next one...

SHAPIRO: The music festival Lollapalooza is returning for its 30th anniversary in July with Foo Fighters and Tyler, the Creator announced as just some of the headliners. And it's not the only big music festival in town. NPR's Andrew Limbong has more on Chicago's open summer.

ANDREW LIMBONG, BYLINE: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Lollapalooza's return in a skit...


LORI LIGHTFOOT: All right. I'm going to call him.

LIMBONG: ...Where she calls up Lollapalooza's founder, Perry Farrell, from Jane's Addiction.


LIGHTFOOT: Hey. It's me.

PERRY FARRELL: Hello, Mayor Lightfoot.

LIMBONG: She says the doctors have OK'd the fest this year. Farrell is reasonably pumped.


FARRELL: (Screaming) Lollapalooza.

LIGHTFOOT: He's excited.

LIMBONG: Award-winning acting aside, here are the details. It'll take place in July in Chicago's Grant Park. Other headliners include Post Malone and Miley Cyrus.


MILEY CYRUS: (Singing) I was born to run. I don't belong to anyone.

LIMBONG: It'll also be at full capacity, which in a normal year is 100,000 people per day according to a Lollapalooza spokesperson. In a press conference yesterday with Chicago's public health commissioner, Dr. Allison Arwady, it was clear that the city was presenting the festival as a carrot of sorts to encourage people to get vaccinated. Dr. Arwady explained that to get in, you either have to be fully vaccinated or show a negative COVID test before every day you attend.


ALLISON ARWADY: So the easiest way, by far, if you want to attend Lollapalooza, is to get vaccinated now. You're going to be hearing some more in the days to come about ways in which we may tie Lollapalooza tickets to opportunities for vaccination.

LIMBONG: Chicago has in the past floated the idea of using concerts and other entertainment opportunities to encourage, especially the younger crowd, to get vaccinated, though no official program has been announced yet.

But there will be other reasons to get vaccinated. Riot Fest is happening in September with Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins and Run the Jewels headlining. Also in September is Pitchfork Music Festival with Phoebe Bridgers, St. Vincent and Erykah Badu. Pitchfork, like Lollapalooza, will also require either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test every day. The logistics of how that's all going to work with thousands of people hasn't been announced yet. In that press conference, Dr. Arwady says they're still working out whether proof of vaccination will look like an app or a literal piece of paper. Those announcements will come in July.

Andrew Limbong, NPR News.


CYRUS: (Singing) ...La-da-di-da-di (ph), we like to party, dancing with Molly, doing whatever we want. This is our house. This is our rules and... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.