Lollapalooza Chicago 2022 kicks off Thursday with emphasis on security

4-day Lolla festival generally brings in about 100K attendees per day

ByEvelyn Holmes, Tre Ward, and Christian Piekos, Maher Kawash via WLS logo
Thursday, July 28, 2022
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Lollapalooza wraped up its opening day of the annual music festival Thursday night. The festival returns Friday starting at 10 a.m.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The gates at Grant Park are officially open for Lollapalooza 2022.

Music fans are in Chicago from around the world for the music festival.

Some die-hard Metallica fans began lining up at 2 a.m. Thursday morning.

"They mean everything to me. The whole reason I'm into the music I'm into is because of them, I have my hair because of them, I play drums because of them. They were the first band that I actually loved," said Austin Armstrong, who has all four Metallica members' names tattooed on his body. "They are why I am who I am."

Metallica headlined the opening day of the festival with a performance that began around 8:15 p.m. Friday's lineup will features acts such as Machine Gun Kelly and Dua Lipa.

Ben Wahnon traveled all the way from San Francisco and went straight to Grant Park early Thursday morning.

"My flight landed at 1, and I took a train here from the airport, so I got here right when I could at 2," he said.

Some fans were even getting some much-needed sleep in line.

"It's a communal feeling. You feel like you're part of a family," Metallica fan Matt Farraye said.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to pass through the Grant Park gates over the next four days, as Lollapalooza gets underway.

While the music pleased many people Thursday, workers at Mr. Quiles Foodtruck cooked up food in preperation for festival goers to exit.

"So excited to here at Lollapalooza," said Jocelyn Seuravrito, an employee at Mr. Quiles Foodtruck. "To have all those people come after having a really good night."

Security is top of mind for organizers and local law enforcement.

This is the first year masking and COVID vaccinations are not required to attend the festival.

Though, officials ask attendees to be cautious.

RELATED: Chicago festival security more top of mind than ever after Highland Park parade shooting

It's important to note personal items like backpacks, coolers and chairs are not allowed.

You can bring a 12"x12"x6" clear bag or small fanny pack with no more than one pocket.

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Hydration packs, such as a CamelBak, are allowed and do not need to be clear, but must be emptied of all liquids and have no more than two pockets.

The executive director of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications said to be vigilant and always stay with your group.

"You would have always seen uniformed police officers, SWAT personnel around this event. Also, there are undercover officers, obviously, you won't see," Rich Guidice said, "We have a lot of cameras, as you would imagine, on the footprint of the event itself. We have hundreds of cameras. Really, that is another one of the layers of security that we have for this event and monitoring these cameras from our forward command post actively."

RELATED: Lollapalooza 2022: Full list of road closures for 4-day music festival in Grant Park

The Office of Emergency Management and Communications has said if you see something suspicious, report it by calling 911 or notifying security on-site.

City offers drug test strips to Lolla attendees

"Watch the exits, watch the people around you, watch what the crowd there is doing. And don't ever leave by yourself in the middle of the night; try and have people with you when you leave," said Doug Cummings, author of "Escaping the O Zone," a book about situational awareness.

The Chicago Department of Public Health is also warning of increased risk of overdose from fentanyl that is commonly found in drugs such has cocaine, MDMA, as well as many others.

"Fentanyl is a strong opioid that can easily cause overdose. Test your drugs before you use, carry Narcan, and don't use alone. Call 911 if you suspect someone is overdosing," CDPH said in a tweet.

Narcan and fentanyl test strips are available to be picked up at Chicago Public Libraries in "easy to access" Narcan dispenser kits, CPDH said. You can also get them by emailing osu.cdph@cityofchicago.org.

"If I had to choose between people knowing how to do CPR or knowing how to use narcan, I'd probably chose narcan," said CPDH Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.

"Whether it's alcohol or drugs, using those things in excess is always an issue with these festivals," said Rush University Medical Center's Dr. Meeta Shah.

With larger crowds expected throughout the weekend at Grant Park, more people could experience medical emergenies due to heat, drinking or even COVID, Shah said Rush Medicals emergency department is staffed for the task.

The CTA and Metra are adding extra service and expanded capacity to accommodate the large crowds attending Lolla over the next four days.

Gates open daily at 11 a.m. and close at 10 p.m.

Lollapalooza runs July 28 through 31 in Grant Park. You can buy tickets here.

Even if you can't make it to Lollapalooza this weekend, you can still enjoy the festival live on Hulu.

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