Chicago heats up for Lollapalooza, Billiken

Officials urge caution as temps soar
August 8, 2009 7:21:53 AM PDT
Temperatures will hit the 90s just in time for two huge summer events- Lollapalooza and the Bud Billiken Parade. Between 65,000 and 75,000 people are expected at Lollapalooza, a three-day music festival with more than 100 acts on eight stages. Headliners include Snoop Dogg, Depeche Mode, The Killers, Jane's Addiction and Kings of Leon.

"We're here to see Depeche Mode tonight. We traveled down from central Wisconsin, just under 300 miles. Got here 6:30 this morning. We're first in line, and we are so excited," said fan Kerry Sandler. "I'm very, very short. So if I'm even second in line, I can't see. So getting here early was so that I would be able to have a sight line."

Lollapalooza kicked off with clouds and rain on Friday. But heat is headed this way. Temperatures will climb into the 90s Saturday, so local officials and festival planners are encouraging attendees to take precautions.

"I got, like, six water bottles, but I'm going to get really burnt, that's for sure, so kind of ready," John Gregory said.

City warns residents to stay away from alcohol

Officials with the City of Chicago are encouraging residents to stay inside if possible. But that's not feasible-- with what is expected to be a sold-out crowd at Lollapalooza and an expected 1.5 million participants at the Bud Billiken Parade.

"Alcohol and caffeinated drinks work against people in high temperatures like this, so we definitely discourage the use of alcohol or caffeine and instead encourage people to drink plenty of water," said Dr. Cort Lohff, Chicago Dept. of Public Health.

Extreme heat will challenge many Chicagoans with other activities planned.

"We're asking Chicagoans to serve as our eyes and ears. If you know any one who appears to be in extreme duress call 911," said Mary Ellen Caron, Department of Family & Support Services.

    More tips for coping with heat
  • avoid excessive time outdoors and strenuous activities
  • Stay in air-conditioned areas as much as possible
  • Check up on neighbors and relatives
  • never leave children or pets in parked vehicles

Festival and parade organizers are taking precautions.

"Safety is important, so we encourage people, you can actually bring in two sealed bottles of water with you, up to one liter each. Stay hydrated, bring a hat, wear your sunscreen so you don't get fried. Just remember to take some breaks between seeing all the music," Hickey said.

Visit Lollapalooza's FAQ page for more on what you can and cannot bring.

"You can bring in empty, soft-sided coolers, blanket. Leave your chairs at home, your pets at home, any weapons, food, beverages. We'll be providing all that stuff here on site," Hickey said. "If you don't have your tickets yet, you should snap them up because we're expecting another sell out."

Concertgoers can also bring in a reusable water bottle. The festival will have free refilling stations. Hickey says they want people to stay cool.

"We have, on site, two CTA chill zones. Those are CTA clean-air, hybrid buses. They will be running AC. Get out of the heat, get cool air and cool down," Hickey said.

A similar setup is available at the Bud Billiken Parade.

"...We have five first aid stations along the parade route. Each of those first aid stations are manned by doctors and nurses of Provenant Hospital of Cook County. And each station has ice chests and water," said Michael Brown, Bud Billiken Parade Coordinator.

"I'm just going to wear shorts and have a lot of water. Last year, I passed out from heat exhaustion, so make sure I drink a lot more water this year," said fan Krista Foda.

"I brought a camel bag, so I'm prepared," said Zack Szachnitowski.

Man dies after falling ill at Lollapalooza

A 39-year-old man has died after falling ill at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago.

Chicago Fire Department spokesman Kevin MacGregor says the man was in cardiac arrest Friday afternoon when an ambulance transported him to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The man's name has not been released.

MacGregor says private paramedics at the festival initially responded after the man fell ill.

Lollapalooza runs through Sunday at downtown's Grant Park.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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