Lollapalooza 2021 Chicago: Music festival returning to Grant Park at full capacity

Festivalgoers must have COVID vaccine or negative COVID-19 test

ByCraig Wall, Evelyn Holmes, Liz Nagy, and ABC 7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Lollapalooza returning to Grant Park at full capacity
Lollapalooza is returning to Chicago's Grant Park - but you'll need more than just a ticket to get in this year.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- For weeks, city officials had been dancing around the question of whether Lollapalooza was going to happen.

Now, we know: the festival will take place July 29 to Aug. 1. The lineup will be revealed at 10 a.m. Wednesday, with tickets going on sale at noon at

In accordance with current local public health guidance, full COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results will be required to attend Lollapalooza 2021. For patrons who are not fully vaccinated, a negative COVID-19 test result must be obtained within 24 hours of attending Lollapalooza each day.

WATCH | Dave Grohl, Perry Farrell help Chicago mayor announce Lolla's return

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Dr. Allison Arwady released this video with Perry Farrell and Dave Grohl to help promote the return of Lollapalooza.

"To attend Lollapalooza you either will need to be fully vaccinated or you will need to provide a negative test for every day that you are planning to attend," said Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner. "So the easiest way by far if you want to attend Lollapalooza is to get vaccinated now."

"Knowing that you at least have to take a negative COVID test to go makes me feel a lot more comfortable," Kelsey Danner said.

RELATED: Is a vaccination requirement for Lollapalooza legal?

The festival will be at full capacity. In 2019, it drew 400,000 people to the park over four days.

"We've made tremendous progress in containing the spread of COVID-19, with all of our leading metrics stable or on the decline," Arwady said. "This is a reason to celebrate and why we're able to make this announcement today. To ensure we celebrate safely this summer I encourage everyone to continue to be safe and smart; if you're sick, stay home; wash your hands frequently; wear a mask if you're traveling or using public transit; and most importantly get vaccinated if you haven't already."

WATCH | Chicago city officials discuss Lollapalooza plans

Chicago's top doctor says the easiest way to attend Lollapalooza is by getting vaccinated.

How fans will prove they've been vaccinated is still in the works, but it could involve mobile apps, or showing your vaccination card. Details on the festival entry process will be available in early July, organizers said.

The city hopes it encourages more people to get vaccinated. So far, only 38% of Chicago residents have gotten their shots.

WATCH | Business owners celebrate Lolla's return

Downtown Chicago business owners are celebrating the return of Lollapalooza and the economic boost it brings to the city.

The tens of thousands of people flooding the city's center this summer means an influx of long-lost foot traffic for struggling shops and restaurants.

"There are no other festivals in this city this year that are as important as Lolla is to bringing visitors into our city," said Michael Jacobson, president and CEO, Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association. "There's obviously hundreds of other festivals in neighborhoods across the city, but none of them is as important to tourism as Lollapalooza is."

The return of Lolla is truly music to the ears of Mahde Ashkar, whose family has owned the Harold's Chicken on South Wabash since 1992. He said there's at least a 75% increase in his business when the festival is in town.

"Lolla has become kind of a staple for the Chicago summer," Ashkar said. "For the hospitality industry, it is one of the busiest and lucrative - it just boosts the economy for almost the week before. Everybody makes business when Lolla's here."

Others in the struggling hospitality industry are celebrating the news, too. Hotels that have occupied barely a fraction of their rooms over the last year may be able to put a dent in lost revenue.

"They will probably provide 85 to 95% occupancy during that period and that means about 75 to 80,000 rooms sold in the city," hospitality consultant Ted Mandingo said.

But right now business owners say they don't have nearly the staff to serve that kind of demand.

"We're excited that they're actually focusing on trying to bring some of the activities back to Chicago," said Martin Murch, a chef and managing member at Good Eats Group. "The concern is, we feel like we're going to get run over."