Lollapalooza day 1 filled with crowds, music despite rain delay

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Despite the rain delay, Grant Park was filled with people and music for the first day of Lollapalooza. (WLS)

The opening of Lollapalooza, one of Chicago's most popular music festivals, was temporarily delayed Thursday due to weather.

Gates were scheduled to open at 11 a.m. Music fans started heading into the park about 40 minutes later.

But inside the gates, the delay was a distant memory. The concert goers said it's all about the music.

"It's like one big Lolla community, everyone just having fun and listening to music," Sarah Graham, a concert goer, said.

"Expect to have fun expect to be sweaty at the end of the night, expect to rock out, Shavonte Berry, a concert goer said."

The crowds have been spared from any major downpour. But that may not be the case over the next couple of days. Lollapalooza has inclement weather plans in place. They set up rain shelters in close by parking garages. They're also going to be making stage announcements, putting out alerts on social media and sending out Push notifications to people who have downloaded the Lollapalooza app to notify anybody if they need to get out of the open air space.

Hundreds of thousands of dancing, drinking, eating fans can create quite a mess. So one group is dishing out recycling bags trying to combat a trail of trash.

"Patrons of the festival can fill them up with cans and water bottles, turn them in and get a coupon for a free t-shirt," Jenna Stoehr, of the Rock and Recycle Initiative, said.

And if the rain decides to downpour on the four day party? Some concert-goers said, "So be it."

"That brings the life out of everybody when it starts to rain," Berry said.

Since it's Lolla's 25th anniversary this year, the whole event is bigger and better.

"We've added a fourth day to the festival. We are kicking off on Thursday. We've got more bands - 170 bands - performing over the weekend," said Brooke Leal, a Lollapalooza spokesperson. "We also have our Lolla time warp, where you can check photos and moments from 25 years of the festival's history."

Music fans started lining up overnight, eager to see their favorite artists perform live.

Lauren Hummel-Neumann said this is her first time attending Lolla. She and her cousin, Marley Jeske, said they got in line around 2 a.m. because they hope to be in the front row for rapper G-Easy.

Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, LCD Soundsystem, J. Cole, Lana Del Rey, Future, Ellie Goulding, Major Lazer and Disclosure will headline this year.

Click here for the Lollapalooza 2016 lineup

About 100,000 people are expected to flock to Grant Park for the 25th annual fest and organizers want everyone to stay safe.

Fencing encircles the park, security checkpoints were set up at all entrances and people behind the scenes will be watching for suspicious behavior.

Chairs, umbrellas larger than 42 in. and metal or plastic containers are a few of the items concert-goers are not allowed to bring into Grant Park.

Click here for the full list of items prohibited at Lollapalooza 2016

Security is a real concern after a recent attacks in Europe. In Germany, a bomber who was turned away from a music festival killed himself and 15 other. In Nice, France, a truck driver plowed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day, killing 84 people.
Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications, federal agents and Monterrey Security make up the team charged with keeping Lolla attendees safe.

Some concert-goers said while they worry about terrorism, they are confident in the people trusted to protect them. ABC7 Eyewitness News asked Lucas Guthrie, who's visiting from Peoria, to rate how nervous he is about a potential incident on a scale of zero to ten.

"Right now I'm at a zero. There's no one here. But when it's crowded, it'll be a ten," Guthrie said.

But security officers also said it's also up to the people attending the festival to report suspicious activity. If they see something, they need to say something.

Related Topics:
entertainmentlollapaloozalive musicfestivalgrant parkChicago - Loop
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