100,000 estimated at Lollapalooza Friday

August 3, 2012 9:53:10 PM PDT
Hundreds of thousands of people will gather in Chicago's Grant Park this weekend for Lollapalooza. The three-day music event kicked off Friday morning.

Crowds lined up early Friday morning to get in as soon as the gates open to find a good spot. The first act was at 11:30 a.m.

More than 300,000 people have tickets to Lollapalooza. That's 30,000 more than last year ? and about 100,000 attendees a day. The crowd Friday was estimated to be about 100,000 people over the course of the day. The entire weekend is sold out.

"I heard Lollapalooza is one of the biggest festivals, and it is just something you have to do in your lifetime. I figured why not? I love music. It is just a good time," Casey Cockeriel said. Like Cockeriel, who drove from Oregon, more than 80-percent of the festival goers are from out of town. The visitors are expected to pump $100 million into the local economy.

"Only about 20 percent of ticket holders are coming from inside Chicago. Eighty-percent are coming from outside, 11 percent internationally. That is going to hotels, taxis, restaurants. We have 35 after shows, so the clubs locally will see that coming from outside," Lindsay Hoffman, Lollapalooza marketing manager, said.

Some locals are loving Lollapalooza, too. David Fuller will work at a Cajun food stand during the festival.

"Gonna be boiling some crawfish, po'boys, looking at all the beautiful people, listening to the beautiful music. Great time. Cannot wait," Fuller said.

Organizers say water bottle refill stations and misting stations are available to help people cool down.

Lollapalooza was not the only show in town Friday, as crowds were also visiting Soldier Field for Bear Fest 2012, where security was tight, but attendees enjoyed warm weather and looked forward to fall.

"People always say, 'It's not Bears season yet,' -- I said, 'It's always Bear season -- always!" said Joanne Smith.

"We're having a good time, that's the bottom line - 6-year-olds, 5-year-olds are having a good time, and that's why we're doing it," said Mike Boe.

Tensions rose for officials at U.S. Cellular Field during Friday's White Sox game as the Chicago Bomb and Arson Squad investigated a bomb threat that was called in. Play was not suspended, and the threat was later deemed to be non-credible, according to a White Sox spokesperson.

Meanwhile, back at Grant Park, concertgoers enjoyed themselves in a security cocoon which was breached at Monroe and Columbus, where police said some people jumped the fence to get in.

There was one stabbing outside the perimeter of Lollapalooza just before 7 p.m. on Michigan at E. Adams. Fire Department media affairs says the victim was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and was in stable condition Friday night.

Last year, rain turned the Grant Park grounds into a muddy mess. So far, the weather is cooperating -- and festival officials said they've put in higher fences to protect Chicago's lakefront property, which was torn up during the weekend last year, and keep crashers out.

"Lolla is more secure this year than ever and more protected. And Grant Park is more protected. The issue is just every year getting better and learning. It's also larger this year. That means the impact on Chicago is to about 100 million dollars that's a lot for a 3 day event," Bob O'Neill, Grant Park Conservancy, said.

The first bands took the stage at noon on Friday. More than 130 acts will perform during the three-day music festival. Check out the lineup by clicking here.

Lollapalooza, which is in its 21st year, has been at Grant Park for the last eight years. New for the 2012 Lollapalooza: live streaming on youtube.com/lollapalooza and Instagram photos from festival goers on jumbo screens within the park.

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